Blackchapel is a Paris based luxury fashion brand developing collections for both men and women since 2011. Long silhouettes reveal the fragility of the woman’s body and female introspection in a romantic universe full of contrasts and conflicts (just like the ones we suffer nowadays) while confronting our intimacy with the functionality of life. In the eternal search for balance between body, mind and spirit, the brand has been giving more space to the male figure in the last years. A man with a stable body; heavy, monochromatic and avant-garde, a contrast to all chaos.
I was received by Anne Clotilde Obéniche, the head designer of the project, in one of the most beautiful Parisian apartments I have ever seen. Surrounded by her family treasures I had the feeling of going back to the 19th century where grace and refinement were the equivalent of creativity and freedom. We had a bottle of French wine and some Brazilian food. Friends came over and an improvised shooting and chatting took place in a rainy Parisian night.
We have seen a lot of fur, leather and complicated patterns in your collections. A sort of Haute Couture aftertaste I would say. Which period of History serves more often as inspiration for your creations?
Yes, there is definitely a couture aspect to my work. I try to propose an ambitious fashion without looking too much to the past vogues so that I can maintain a timeless style. However, this XIX century aesthetic is always very much in mind.
Your house is beautiful and full of nice and antique objects. What do you need to have around for you to feel happy and safe?
I need to live in a refined universe surrounded by strange art objects rich with inspirational details for me to find. My flat is somehow a reflection of my imagination.
How would you describe your approach to fashion and in what way does your romantic personality help you (or does it not)?
My approach to fashion is from the point of view of art, Blackchapel is an artistic proposal translated into clothing but that doesn’t forcedly stay only on that level. I have a very melancholic personality and this feeds the brand in a way that, from a professional perspective, is very enriching but not that practical (laughs).
Regarding your last SS 2014 collection, I noticed a big change in Blackchapel’s philosophy. Cleaner, minimal, a lot more dynamic, almost unisex pieces but with a strong and undeniable manly presence.
To change is nothing but to evolve, it’s the start of a new image for the brand. Blackchapel is a dark brand and I try to show its different facets. I love to challenge and renovate, it’s a constant fight towards perfection.
How would you describe this new step in your career and what inspired you?
As mentioned above, I want to carry out all that’s deep inside of me and that I haven’t yet shown. I have cravings that take me more towards the artistic creation, making me develop Blackchapel’s universe more globally through artistic events in multiple sectors or even consider unique haute couture collections...
Could you give us a tip of what is coming next? What options are you considering for the following season?
I want to have fun and dare without setting myself a limit. I can’t say much more but it’s going to be a new Blackchapel for sure.
As a woman, do you feel that you have to work more and try harder to get the attention you deserve?
Yes, undoubtedly. Being a woman in fashion is definitely not an advantage. You have to really work harder to get attention but when success comes it is seriously deserved.
Could you quote someone you admire?
I admire McQueen’s work and I generally admire all professional achievements: people that started with nothing and conquered every step with their own hands.
Being a Paris based designer, do you imagine yourself working abroad? How does it feel to be here, in Paris?
I love Paris although I sometimes feel it doesn’t offer many opportunities for young creator to express themselves, there’s not much help and not many organisms that support new ideas. I’m ready to leave abroad if I was offered the right opportunity, that’s for sure.
What is your favorite place (cafeteria, museum, shop, etc) in Paris?
I love going to Jean Jacques Henner Museum to find inspiration and loose myself in time.To have a drink and forget about work, Jackets Bar, it's one of my favorites.
Every night, when we go to bed, we spend around 10 minutes floating in our thoughts and planning our goals for the next day. What do you normally think of when you are in bed surrounded by the peace and silence that precedes your sleep?
How to reach my goal. How to improve myself. How to succeed.