Alain Demore–The French and The Restless
May 1968, Paris.
The rise of “adolescence”, attitude of the youth, the birth of electronic and rock n’ roll, the cigarettes that never burns out, the rebellions that can never be put down.
Alain Demore, a boy from Bordeaux, after many coincidental encountering that did not seem so coincidental at the end, became a pair of sharp eyes of the designers during the “glorious thirties” in Paris with his attitude and his faith in music and fashion. From Thierry Mugler, Kagerfeld, to those geniuses such as Martin Margiela and Jean Paul Gaultier, who recently ended an era by stopping his prêt-à-porter line. Alain is a stylist of an era, and a curious old child. In his fitted suits, there are always some fun roller coaster-like details. Age didn’t wash away the shine in his clear green eyes. His smirking eyebrows would make you question his real age; listening to him talking about the fashion stories would take you back in time. A short meeting is definitely not enough for him to tell us about all his quirky little ideas and his real-life experience swimming in the industry for more than 30 years.
What was the time like during your youth?
-It was a period in France called “Les Trentes Glorieuse” (The Glorious Thirty, or the Invisible Revolution, refers to the 30 years from 1945 to 1975 following the end of Second World War in France). At the beginning of the 1960s, it was the first time that the world took into account of a new period in life, which is the “adolescence”. Before, we grow up directly from infancy to adulthood. This “adolescence” lies between 15 to 25 years old and this generation of teens developed its own culture, its own music and its own movements.
In France, the sort of music that dominated was called “yéyé” (or Rock N’ Roll in England and the U.S). This new concept of life, which is no longer cut into two, generated an immense influence and an extraordinary energy globally.
That was the time of music, of lifestyle, of fashion, of rebels and misfits, of the spirit of the youth, of those who have a different opinion.
What does music mean to you regarding fashion?
– Fashion and music to me are like water and oxygen. In my opinion, music is a source of inspiration and correlate with the way we dress. We cannot understand one without the other.
How do you see the electronic music today that developed from that period?
-It evolved as the technology develops. I find today’s trend is becoming more and more minimalistic and Berlin style has dominated the world and I absolutely adore it.
How did you enter the industry and become a stylist?
-It’s a bit of a crazy story. When Thierry Mugler opened his boutique in the south of France, I went with a friend who wanted to buy a dress. When we were in the boutique, they liked me very much and suggested that I should become the director of the store. So I entered just like that. Once when I was in Paris for buying, Jean Paul Gaultier asked me to work for him there instead. I never even studied fashion, and life seemed to have led me to it.
What are some of your most magical moment that you would remember for a lifetime?
-There are way too many but if I were to pinpoint one, it would probably be the 20th anniversary show of Theirry Mugler in 1995. The show recaptured all the trends and styles in the lifespan of Theirry Mugler, featuring all the 90’s supermodels or legends, such as Claudia Schiffer, Tippi Hedren, Julie Newmar, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Rossy de Palma and even James Brown at the end. Tim Blanks did a fantastic job and it is still one of the most incredible moments in the history of fashion. It was indeed an end of a period and a beginning of another for me.
What are some of the things you have done that you are most proud of?
-That is also very hard to answer. I have met almost everybody in fashion from then to now and everybody has left permanent ink in my heart. But I think it would be all the different universes in fashion that I have contributed that makes me the proudest about myself.
How do you feel about the change in the industry over the years?
-Fashion today is really a business. Of course it has always been a business, but there was truly an exclusive side to it, which does not exist any longer today. Exclusivity now is in correlation with money, which means something expensive would be something exclusive. Before, a piece of clothing is exclusive because it has a way of thinking that is very unique and specific. Today, money has become the single most important thing, and luxury naturally serves the need for a proof of status. Designers now do not succeed simply because he/she has an extraordinary talent, it is also more about his image, social connections, exposure etc. This concept of “democratization of luxury” since the 60’s has driven the industry to shareholder values and cost reducing to maximize interest. And people cannot live without their luxury products.
“Before, we design to show the power of ideas in transformation into clothing, and today, we design to show the power of wealth. That is the difference.”
You are currently working in China. Why?
-One of my Chinese friends called me one day when some Chinese brands is in need of a French point of view to give their design a Parisien twist. But it was not to make an entire collection Parisien style; it was aimed to push the Chinese way of design and dressing more international, while completely respecting its own culture. So it is not for clients that want to surpass Dior or Balenciaga, but for those who want to aim at the local market and evolve its tradition.
Do you see yourself as a Parisien still?
-When you stay in Paris the whole time, your ideas become too restricted and too Parisien in terms of aesthetics. But when you are abroad, you can look through the cultural prism and see things differently. Inspiration is then evolved.
How do you always keep up with the young mentality that you have at your age?
-One word, “curiosity”. For me curiosity is the same as youth. Everyday, I either become more curious, or simply older.
暴动的青春，巴黎1968的五月，电子的跃进，摩登时尚的脱壳，点不完的香烟，烧不尽的叛逆，那是一个少年的时代。Alain Demore, 一个波尔多的法国男孩，抱着自己的态度和对时装音乐的信仰，在因缘巧合之下，成为了巴黎那光荣的三十年中设计师的另一双眼。从Thierry Mugler, Karl Lagerfeld到那个年代的鬼才Martin Margiela和刚刚结束高级成衣时代的Jean Paul Gaultier。他是一个时代的造型师，更是一个好奇的老顽童。在他考究的三件套里，永远会透露出一些游乐场过山车一般的小细节，圆滚滚的厚重眼镜，半遮掩着那双岁月痕迹也掩盖不住透彻双眼。嬉笑的眉角，不断让你质疑他的年龄。听他时尚圈的见闻和经历，不断让你感叹时代的变迁。一次短暂的会面，仅仅够他诉说无数奇遇和心酸的其一其二。
－我的青年时期，法国正在经历一段时期叫“Les Trentes Glorieuse” （光荣三十年，又名隐形的革命。指在二战之后法国经济突飞猛进的三十年）。那是一个年少轻狂的时代，也导致了“少年”（Adolescence)这个概念的诞生。在此之前，我们从幼年就直接迈入成年时期。但这群15到25岁的少年们有了自己的文化，音乐，甚至自己的运动。而这一切，逐渐占领了我们当今全球的主流文化。
－说起来很疯狂。当Thierry Mugler刚在法国南部开了一间精品店的时候，我配一个朋友去挑裙子。在店里的时候，我们聊的很投机，于是他们就问我要不要当新店的店长。这个听起来很不真实的故事就这么的让我进入了这个圈子。有一次当我在巴黎帮店铺采购的时候，Jean Paul Gaultier提议我去巴黎帮他干活。于是我慢慢地就渗入了这个圈子，再也没出来过。我从来没有上过一天关于时尚的课，但命运不断地把我引导到里面。
－梦幻的时刻实在太多。但一定要找一个的话，应该是Thierry Mugler 1995年的20周年秀。那一场秀总结了全世界在这个品牌生涯中时尚造性的变迁。几乎所有90年代的超模和传奇都在场，包括Claudia Schiffer, Tippi Hedren, Julie Newmar, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss和Rossy de Palma。甚至James Brown都在最后出场了。时任设计师Tim Blanks简直无与伦比，让这一场秀成为了时尚历史中最璀璨的一幕之一。那是一个时代的终结，也是另一个的开端。
－我有一个中国朋友打电话跟我说，在中国，如今有许多品牌需要资深巴黎 人的美学见解来给品牌带来一点法式风尚的点缀。但是这不是说要让我做一个完完全全巴黎人的设计，而是在尊重中式社会和文化的基础上加以升华。这些品牌并没有想要超越Dior或Balenciaga, 他们针对的是本土的市场，并且想让他们的传统随着时代进步。