Coming from the famous Belgian school of La Cambre, Belgian talent Cédric Charlier launches his eponymous brand at Parlour X for the first time. Making waves at Céline, Michael Kors and Lanvin with Alber Elbaz, to the artistic direction of Cacharel, Cédric Charlier established his own namesake label in 2012 to offer the new urban silhouette. Having developed a sophisticated style where the accuracy of the cut is a priority as is the importance of the fundamental color, we welcome the designer in an original interview for X-FILES.
Tell us about your background and your formal training at La Cambre.
It was great fun, intense and a quick experience. La Cambre has an excellent international reputation and pushes your limits very far. After three years, I got the opportunity to work with Michael Kors at Céline, at that time.
Where is the location of your design studio?
In Paris, in the Marais area exactly in rue de Sevigné in an old beautiful printing house.
Do you move between Belgium and Paris?
I constantly share my time between Paris and Bruxelles. The first one to work, the second one to breathe.
Describe the Cédric Charlier woman in three words.
Contemporary, feminine-masculine, slightly sophisticated. (Sorry I did it in four words!).
Do you have more of an intuitive or analytical approach to design?
After some years of experience, I personally think both sides. I do need a visual shock to get inspired and let my thoughts working on and through it. When I properly start to create the collection, I am more conscious of [people] on the streets, of the real life in a more pragmatic and analytical way.
In the creative process, what plays the most important role; fabrication, colour or cut?
Certainly, colour and cut are mostly my own design language, I am very sensitive to both. Fabrication is a logical consequence then.
Describe knitwear techniques as featured within the Parlour X debut buy for Fall 2018.
I had the idea of lingerie feeling, something caressing the body. I then worked on how make this idea meet my world, so the colour blocking was the immediate response. There are different techniques on the knitwear that Parlour X chose; a mix of ‘point losange’ (diamond stich) and ‘pointelle’ typical of the lingerie. On the breast there is a fully-fashioned technique that allows to shape perfectly reducing or adding stiches accordingly with the moving of the needles. I used a flat tubular linking technique, finally, to underlines in a darker color some lines of the body.
What is the process of selecting or developing seasonal prints?
All the prints are exclusives and made in my studio. Each season it depends form the starting point of the inspiration, from an artist’s work to a simple image found somewhere. The process may embrace different techniques, different materials, and step by step we try to find the print that corresponds more to what I would like to express.
Has there been a favourite moment in your career to date?
Oh, I would say the time of innocence! [Smiles]. I had very special moments with Alber (Elbaz) at Lanvin and definitely launching my own label has been an amazing moment.
Through an interview with Vogue.com, you’ve shared that you ‘live in the present’. What is your personal philosophy?
I do practice meditation as a philosophy in my life. Today society pushes us to dream about the future and live to create your own future, which is good, but we lose then sometimes to live and enjoy our present.
What was the most valuable and fundamental lesson you’ve taken away from your former, respected roles?
I learned that the clients, the women with their personality are way more important rather than the clothes. Unfortunately, sometimes as a designer you can only see the creation, and the women inside become a mannequin.
You have an unconventional approach to showing on the fashion calendar. Why?
I felt it was important to show in New York and then Milan at a certain point, I needed to do it. Frankly it’s something quite difficult to explain. I just wanted to live this desire and now I feel happy to be back to Paris again.
What is next for the brand?
I would love to get back to my Menswear line.
Click to peruse the Cedric Charlier collection, exclusive to Parlour X.