Steven Chevallier is no stranger to the bizarre and unhinged. Graduating last year from acclaimed London based fashion institution Central Saint Martins, Chevallier’s focus is on wearable bio plastics that dance between description as sculpture versus recognition as ornate armours for unconventional runways.
Selected for entry to CSM by designer Thom Browne, Chevallier has been able to hone in on his own style of design and painting into something instantly recognisable as his own, taking daily influences and experiences and turning them into the futuristic and grotesque. It's a playful and political inversion of an industry that thrives on seriousness and disposability of looks and styles, Chevallier is a critic of fashion’s ecological and social impact, while providing a positive and exciting alternative to the dominant culture.

Beyond his wearable designs that look like creamy sweets, whilst appearing dark and slimy enough to give a sheen of the grotesque, Chevallier also paints bizarre and erotic scenes. Influenced by a rich inner world and hoping to distill the queer experience, Chevallier a self professed lover of “ridiculousness,” takes to the canvas with an array of bright colours and smooshes faces and body parts together, the characters wearing garms as equally bright as his own creations. All of this hints at an exciting future for Chevallier, beyond the typical constraints of fashion and towards a brighter, stranger, future.
Steven Chevallier 8.jpg
Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Where are you working at the minute and what’s at the forefront of your mind artistically?
I’m currently working part time as a freelance fashion designer and the other time I’m working on some art projects in paint and erotic illustration, from this project, I’m developing a fashion collection.
Growing up in rural France, what were early artistic influences for you? How has your upbringing and the time you have spent living in Paris and London impacted your work?
As a kid I was very early inspired by art, my dad was a painter when he was younger, and I believe the first painting I saw in my life was his. It’s how my taste for colours and strong palate have developed. As a teenager, I lived in a small town, but I really educated myself from fashion magazines and the internet. I remember for their 90th birthday Vogue Paris directed by Carine Roitfeld did this special edition with a second book full of posters from the best photographers who had shot editorials for Vogue, such as Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, Mario Sorenti, Terry Richardson, David Sims and all these posters are still on the wall of my teenage room.
Your paintings are playful and outlandish, and often the first port of call in your design process, what inspires your work?
My work is simply inspired by my everyday life, people that I meet, places where I’m going , history and artists that I look for.
Steven Chevallier 9.jpg
There is also a lot of sensuality in your work, do you feel there is an essential level of eroticism in your art?
Yes it does ! I do love art as much as I love boys , so why not try to connect both together. It’s why I worked on this series of erotic drawings called garden of grindr. My relationship with erotism is related to when I was a teenager and lived in a small town, I used dating apps very young as it was my only way to connect with boys from where I was.
Today a lot of people use sex dating apps such as grindr and tinder. I found it interesting to use this platform in a different way, through an art interaction instead of sex interaction. I believe everything can be considered as art so why not some dick pics. There are obviously some photos which are more creative than others, and I wanted to pay tribute to the best dick pic that I had the chance to see . Obviously I say that to an ironic way, I don’t take my selfies too seriously, and I love ridiculousness. After the first illustration that I did, I sent it to this guy and we went for some drinks, spoke about our lives, just learnt how to know each other without any sexual intention and it was an amazing experience to connect in that way!
Your sculptures, which are integral to your fashion design work, are similarly outlandish and futuristic, touching on elements of gore. What emotions do you feel these pieces work to translate?
I’m a very curious person and I have a strong interest in playing with textures and materials. It’s why I studied knitwear at school and had fun discovering interesting techniques and textures during that period. When I did my sculptures for my BA collection at Central Saint Martins, I firstly wanted to challenge myself, and try to create something different and new, as we know in fashion design so many things have been done before and I really wanted to push the boundaries, be the most creative possible, and create a relationship between my art and the body. Through the sculpture, we can say that there are more conceptual aspects. Obviously the final silhouettes reflect a futuristic and powerful vision. I do like the idea that the body fights with the bio plastic. The sculptures are made from recycled plastic and we can imagine that the plastic mutated on the human body, and created this colourful plastic monster.
You have mentioned the impact of Covid on your practice, in terms of guiding your switch towards more renewable materials. What did this decision process look like, and what steps do you think the fashion industry should take towards sustainability?
I believe that the most sustainable thing about my collection is that I didn’t really make a lot of clothes. I chose to explore different materials that are not really wearable. I believe that we already have so so much clothes, and I didn’t really want make new ones. And I think the industry should think a bit differently, I don’t understand why we do so many shows, so many fashion weeks, with so many clothes that look very similar and are kind of the same. I guess it’s the over-consumption of our society and it’s clear that the fashion industry is one of the worst in terms of ecological and societal damage.
Steven Chevallier 12.jpg
You were selected to join Central Saint Martins by designer Thom Browne, was there a certain element of pressure associated with attending CSM, especially after being picked by such a preeminent designer?
Yes there were definitely elements of pressure, particularly during my final year and doing my collection. I found the year very long (Covid didn’t help), it was challenging to work on the same project of a collection for a full year. Because your ideas can change a lot (particularly mine), and you can also feel a bit bored of you own work, to focus on the same thing for a full year.
Day to day, what pieces do you wear that make you feel most yourself?
I’m obsessed with knitwear jumpers, I do collect them and I love this 80s one from Claude Montana. I wear it with jogging bottoms, and colourful trainers. Colours make me feel comfortable.
Similarly, what contemporary designers or artists do you look to for inspiration?
I’m very attracted to everything that has strong colours, I’m a huge fan of paint, I really like the work of Otis Quaicoe and Robert Combas. Every time I feel anxious or sad, I open a huge book of his work , his universes and strong colourful paint have a strong therapeutic effect on me.
As an artist with a constantly evolving practice, are there more mediums you are interested in exploring?
There are a lot of creative practices and mediums that I want to explore, at the moment I’m working on a new project related to my illustration, fashion design and sustainability. I want to create new clothes with material which already exists. It’s also important for me to develop a project that can have a good impact on society and the planet.
Steven Chevallier 4.jpg
Steven Chevallier 2 2.jpg
Steven Chevallier 5.jpg
Steven Chevallier 3 2.jpg
Steven Chevallier 7.jpg
Steven Chevallier 10 2.jpg