With one of the longest careers in the industry, Irène Silvagni is considered as one the master-keys that open every door in fashion.
As creative director of Vogue Paris in the late 80's, she initiated collaborations with Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel and Ellen von Unwerth.
One of the 2012 Hyères festival fashion jury members, picked by president Yohji Yamamoto, for whom she does creative direction, we asked for her view on ethics, talent and achievement,
What are the ethics a young designer should have?
The most important is the "freedom". One needs to follow what ever what he/she believes in.
Stick to your style.
In your career you have introduced to the industry and the world a lot of new talent. Do you still find yourself as excited by the new crop of talent today? And do you find there is a lot of progression in terms of work that is coming out today?
I remember the time when we were a few editors fighting to have Azzedine Alaia recognized, wearing his clothes at the shows, fighting to have editors and buyers get to rue de Bellechasse; and those were moments of intense happiness.
I also remember when the Japanese designers arrived in Paris, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. It was a shock, a new kind beauty, a page was turned but in a way it seemed like a battle against a certain form of journalism which did not understand and accept this evolution.
A revolution that opened all the Belgian movement, which is to this day still at the top.
What do you think is the most challenging thing for young designers to conquer to achieve success today?
The main problem is of course to resist the pressure of economics and the space given to big advertisers in magazines, also to be able to produce and deliver. The success of Carven, Rochas, Giambattista Valli, all of the independent designers has given a new energy to fashion... The placement of Raf Simons at Dior, the return of Slimane at YSL will bring new challenges in term of aesthetics...
How do you relate fashion with elegance?
I do think that elegance is related to the woman or the man wearing clothes.
Though, some clothing are not supposed to be "elegant", they have style, magic, they are strong or soft, black or white all and its contrary. A piece of cloth wrapped around the body is elegant. I could go on and on talking on elegance. Sometimes I cross some girls in the street and I feel amazed by their creativity in putting clothes together. It's amazing, inspiring and elegant!!
There are more magazines then ever, yet the paper publishing is in crisis. How do you see fashion magazine publishing today? What excites you or you are missing to see?
I miss the space given to young designers and new talents, I miss being surprised, I miss the adrenaline.
These days, while turning the pages I often know what I am going to see, I read the same news on every magazine, see always the same people. As a professional and a reader I am disappointed most of the time, although there are still some magazines that I find exciting!
What is the last thing that you experienced, saw or heard that stimulated you?
The last Azzedine Alaia fashion show...
Olivier Saillard exhibitions and performances.