There is Léa Peckre, the Parisian feminine clothes brand that grows, and Léa the person. If fashion is about time, seasons and cycles all launched by moment-shows that work as initiatory rituals, yet always restarted, Léa comes with another vision of this time in fashion. Dealing with rigor but also with mystery, she seems to slide on a continuous wavering timeline where everything can mix up; a young creator's lifetime.
How did you decide to launch your brand?
I was a stylist before. My last job as a stylist was at Isabel Marant, I stayed there for two or tree collections, but I soon got impatient. My goal was not to build my own brand really; but I wanted to be free – even though you are not that free when you launch a new brand. I wanted to be able to focus on many different things and not to be doing the same job every day. Doing the styling for a brand is a great profession but I guess I wanted more. Creating my own brand made me feel more rightful to undertake freelance jobs and collaborations, a way of getting involved in a variety of adventures.
When did this big adventure start?
In my mind it seems like it was years ago, but actually, it's only been a year and a half since I started creating the brand. When I won Hyères festival's great Price in 2011 I was still working as a stylist; I left my job six months after that. The first price I won was the 'Young Creators Competition', organized by Paris' town hall, when I was a student. It allowed me to stay in contact with the people from Paris' town hall who are working on creation and design development. It was very important because I'm now working in a sort of residency at the Ateliers de Paris, a place that helps young brands to grow.
How do you consider your future evolution?
Well, I hope to evolve! This is hard to answer because I see it in many different ways. An option would be focusing on Léa Peckre, which would require high resources in order to build a huge structure and to develop accessories etc… but this is just a possibility. Many things are being put together right now so I can't predict what will arise in a few years. One never knows!
What are you working on right now, apart from your own collections?
There is a huge impact of lingerie fabrics and concepts in my own work: I'm attracted to transparencies, technical makings… Lingerie crafts are very different from clothes crafts; and I think that it could be interesting for me to go deeper into this for my development. Right now I'm collaborating with Lejaby, an important French lingerie brand, with 130 years of experience and excellence. The idea today is to upgrade the brand; so I'm making a capsule collection for them. It will be a clothes collection, but all built on lingerie savoir-faire and its high quality standards.
What other things built up your identity?
I had a very cool education, with a funny artistic family working in cinema. This is not so far from fashion in a way. Then, my studying years in Belgium were very important to me. But I think the most important was classical dancing. I hated school, and as a child and a young girl I put all my energy into dance. I even went to a dancing school to have less regular classes.
So, it's funny you are now working on body…!
Yes, it is. It might all be linked… With classical dancing comes the idea of grace, of a certain demand for perfection, even in the details. And those are things I like to put in my work. Dancing is also very hard, just as fashion can be. Both are uneasy.
So, there is some kind of rigor in your work. Does that come from your dancing years then?
Yes. Rigor is not a negative term to me. More than that, this is an inevitable term for those who know me: I'm a perfectionist. I have to admit I am too rigorous at times. And this comes from having danced: stretching limits, persevering without any final achievement… You can always do better, both in dance and fashion.
Would you say you are working on stature?
Probably. Body deportment is something I like very much and I certainly transcribe it again in my clothes. Sometimes it may be too much sophistication for our way of life. Anyway, it is a value I admire, and that's why I'm keeping it. It is hard to say more. Putting words on my own work is very complicated, because all this is very spontaneous. I don't really work with consciously implanted themes.
How do you start a new collection then?
Seasons are the main worry for creators. It goes on forever, you never have the time to actually take time! And now with the pre collections it is even more work. It is such a sustained pace that there is no longer a limit between two "separated" works. It is hard for me to do it the academic way, with a whole construction for every new can all be mixed up and it is sometimes risky because inspiration can come very late! I basically start searching for fabrics and special matters first, before sitting at my desk to draw. My ideas can be very vague for a long time and I must say I don't even realize when they come to life exactly. I don't know how to explain it really... There are times when inspiration comes from one or two seasons before: an idea I had abandoned can magically reappear. There is no rule. It's just a matter of time; the right time for things to happen.
Would you consider working as an artistic director for another brand?
I didn't start my brand with the goal of building my own empire. I did it as a challenge, and I love it: it is beautiful to create something with your own vocabulary, a sort of reflect of oneself. But this is not my priority; my ego is not that big. Having a brand with your name can be really tough... Launching my brand was also a way for me to prove and improve my capacity of “making” things. That's what's happening right now, and I want to keep on doing new projects, keep on learning and discovering.
After that there are no limits. I'm not only a clothes designer, I could be a designer in many other ways. Being artistic director for another brand? Why not? It would depend on the business model and the identity of the house. But if there is a beautiful project going on, like reconstructing an ancient brand with great archives, I would definitely say yes. Once again: right time for right things. Fashion is going so fast these days… who knows?