Guillaume Henry is having a big year, having gone from the Creative Director at niche French label Carven to major maison, Nina Ricci. Having single-handedly revived the Carven name and reviving interest with an offbeat, extremely desirable new aesthetic that featured eclectic, youthful designs, Henry was a natural predecessor to the helm of Nina Ricci. In this exclusive interview, Savoir Flair sits down with Henry to discuss his transition to head of a storied fashion house, his plans for the future, and the things that influence his work the most.
How did you start creating new designs for a fashion house with a lot of history and heritage?
I first approached this work from a very personal stand-point, asking myself what Nina Ricci evoked for me intimately rather than rework the house’s heritage as an archive. The history of Nina Ricci is above all a distinctive woman: feminine, spontaneous, seductive – these words were my starting point.
What is your frame of mind when you’re designing?
The collections I draw are my way of telling a story. I usually find inspiration in a woman’s face and silhouette, and I design garments around this portrait.
What is the most important part of your creative process?
Every single part of the process is important. I make no distinction between research and fittings – all these steps serve the final presentation.
How do you plan to make Nina Ricci appeal to a younger clientele? Are you going to have the same strategy as with Carven and make it contemporary?
I want to be honest without trying too hard to seduce. As a designer in his thirties, I naturally share my tastes and envies with my entourage. Nina Ricci is definitely a luxury brand, but I like the idea that it is in line with modernity.
I want to be honest without trying too hard to seduce.
If Madame Nina Ricci were alive today, what would she think of the women of today and of the brand, most especially?
Madame Ricci was a modern woman and I believe that if she were still alive she would be inclined to satisfy today’s clients. I modestly hope that she would approve of the work we are doing.
You like to watch people and keep photos of them on your phone. What was your favorite that you’ve ever taken?
My favorite pictures are the most personal and intimate, not from my iPhone. The pictures I take on the street are tribes of attitudes and silhouettes that have caught my eye and inspire me.
Have you ever been to Dubai?
I have never been to Dubai but I would really love to discover this city.