Wednesday, 28 July 2010

15 minutes with Pierre Garroudi

A few weeks ago I was very fortunate to be able to interview the very talented designer, Pierre Garroudi, in his London Studios and gallery (Crucifix Lane, South London, which is open to the public every day, FYI) and view his past collections, and, most exciting of all, get a very early glimpse of his collection for SS 2011 to be shown at London Fashion Week in September. Garroudi is from Iran and has studied and worked at fashion houses and design institutes in Paris and New York, and has had his own label since 1993.

Your gallery space is a mix of fashion and art, how important is having art around you to your design process?

Yes and No, because when you design something, say I manipulate the fabric, that could be applied to anything, from lampshade to the surface of a building, it could be anything. It’s good to go back and forth. Could be fashion, could be art, I think they’re all related to each other, unless you’re talking about commercial fashion. When it comes to couture fashion, pushing the boundaries forward, it makes more sense to look at it as a whole, as fashion influences other things, and other things influence fashion.
Fabrication is always very apparent in your work; what comes first, fabric or silhouette?
This is how I work; to differentiate myself from the crowd, the rest of the fashion industry, and in order for me to open my way of seeing fashion, I do two things. I choose only one colour per season and manipulate all my fabric. You can’t buy my fabric, it doesn’t exist. It’s very time consuming, and you have to be extremely patient to do that.

You base your collections on one colour every season, why is this? What is your favourite colour?

The most common colour is black, because for women black is important, it’s slimming, it’s not loud, it doesn’t reflect, it absorbs. It’s simple and doesn’t get dirty, so there are a lot of positives for black.

Hair, make-up and styling are always very dramatic at a Pierre Garroudi show, do you develop the styling yourself or is it a partnership?

I’m involved in all the pieces, for example, I am using 7-8 hairdressers for my next show, so all the hair is done already, and it’s nothing to do with real hair. Hair as another creative area to express the look, so one of the hairdressers is already working on a ‘London Eye’ piece with lights. It may take a month or two, but I look constantly to quality. And when the model walks, every part of the look has to be maximised and used, it has to be perfect and strong.   

What most inspires you?

Everything, because I am like a sponge so try to absorb everything. I never met a human who is not superior to me, it means, inside everybody is a diamond, my job is to find that diamond, and polish it, so I can enjoy it and use it. For example, when I talk to people, interns, I talk to them and ask what they’re good at, what do you do naturally and what do you love to do. I try to learn from everybody.

Do you have a muse?

Not really, I don’t do the old fashion way. The old fashioned way you could have someone from art, somebody who’s an actress or a performer. Most people in the arts or design to like to wear couture, they like to wear or buy art, like a painting, to put on your body. But I don’t follow what other people do, I try to incorporate as much as I can in my design, I try to make things that are wearable, expensive, but wearable. More like a piece of art.

What kind of women wears your clothes?

Naturally the type of women who wear these types of clothes have to be self secure and strong, and have confidence, because you can’t go out there and wear something creative and be shy at the same time, or try and hide. So naturally has to be the women whose strong enough to express themselves, they use it as a tool to express themselves.

How many years have you been showing at London Fashion Week?

About 4 years now. Last year I showed at the Gallery, and the upcoming fashion show [LFW September 2010] I will be showing at Just St James. Fashion week is important like everything else, you take a small period of time to ask them to come and show what they are thinking for the next 6 months, what they think of the future.

What do you think is the future of fashion?

The worlds changing, have you ever heard of Moore’s Law? He was a co-founder of Intel, and Moore’s Law, he believes that every 2 years, the number of chips will double, so the concept of evolution is that we constantly speed up and change. As you can see from fashion, some stores, like H&M, they bring new items every week, and there’s a demand. One night you may see a Cheryl Cole concert, or whoever, and you say ‘Wow – I want that’ and the manufacturer has to react right away. In the future, we will see even more; that people are no longer willing to wait a month for a magazine, to see Vogue. Vogue has to publish on the website. The new generation want things much faster, right away, they don’t want to wait, they’re just looking for something they want, they get it, they move on. We don’t have time; do you have time to read all the blogs, do you have time to read all the fashion magazines? It’s incredible. Everyday there are new blogs and fashion magazine. This is going to reflect on fashion shows, on the fashion industry. What are they going to do? Are they going to wait?

Me, I’m opening the door with my pieces and I’m hoping someone will come to my door and ask me to be creative director for our couture next season. That’s what I’d love to do. Similar to Karl Lagerfeld, but much more, I’m a new generation. So I want to do as many lines as possible, that’s what I’d like to achieve.
The more creative the better; you have Givenchy, Dior, Chanel, Balmain, lots of couture houses; I’d love to do that [work on their couture lines].

Garroudi's work has clearly evolved from season to season, with his last 2 collections being incredibly polished and beautifully made. It is clear that he takes attention to detail as seriously as he intends his designs to be living, breathing pieces of art. Having seen Garroudi and his team working in the gallery and his stunning, emotive and tactile designs from the up-coming collection and his design archive, he is definitely one to watch. Apart from his clear talent at fabric embellishment and creating head-to-toe statement, couture looks, he also one of the calmest, nicest and organised designers I've met (his SS 2011 collection is almost ready for the September shows!). I'm very excited for his SS 2011 collection - bring on the turquoise!



  1. wow, fabulous pieces, fabulous interview! thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks Susan! His stuff is so beautiful (and beautifully made and finished). My favourite pieces are the plaited rope dresses - gorgeous! Hope you're well Cx

  3. wow brilliant piece, love his work - very inspirational! Look forward to your future posts :)


  4. Thanks Grace - he was very lovely, and the time and effort that goes into every piece amazed me! Cx

  5. I loved the interview... very inspiring and creative. I wish him the best!

  6. Thank you - glad you enjoyed it. Cx

  7. Fantastic interview, I am so intrigued by this designer after having come across his work at a couture show I photographed this February during Oxford Fashion Week. His designs were adored - such an amazing, unique vision and i hope he has great success. Thanks for sharing! Zoe

  8. Glad you liked it, Zoe. His clothes were breathtakingly beautiful close up - such attention to detail. Cx


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