For almost twenty years, Jérôme Dreyfuss has been putting the finishing touches to the outfits of women across Paris, with his extremely distinctive handbags and shoes. This season, the Nancy-born designer continues his quest to make women look and feel their best, while preserving the world around them. Find out more in our interview.
MONNIER Frères: You started creating handbags for your friends and your wife. Was it this same motivation that saw you launch your footwear range a few years later?
Jérôme Dreyfuss: No. I started designing handbags as a favour to my female friends because they could never find any bags they liked on the market. All the bags had huge logos, and were very heavy. So I simply tried to respond to a need. Footwear came as an addition to the bag. It was really driven by a desire to finish off my outfits. I started with the garment, then I created handbags, but I was missing the shoes.
M.F.: You have often called your brand feminist. Why is that?
J.D.: Because I try to design my pieces with respect for women. I have never tried to dress up my fantasy. For me, creative work in fashion is about meeting needs. I struggle to get my head around things like three-legged trousers with feathers... It's actually much trickier to design a piece that meets a woman's expectations on the very day, in the very year she needs it. So she can adopt the piece in a very natural way, as if she had always had it. The idea of functionality is really essential for me. I don't like to put restrictions on women. I like to support them, certainly not to restrict them.
M.F.: You are also very committed to the environment. How does this translate into your work?
J.D.: Ecology is a bit like respect for women. There's respect for women and there's respect for nature. It is very important because I don't think fashion has always respected women. Nobody ever admits it, but this image of the skinny woman, the woman as an object, is created by women, at the head of magazines. It raises a lot of questions and, personally, it bothers me a lot. I prefer to see a girl who is happy in her skin, who is curvaceous... I was a scout when I was a child and the first commandment is: "You will respect nature".