Elegant Parisian Grunge

Parisian menswear designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, who trained in Belgium and Italy and has a penchant for everything Japan, talks us through his influences, his unique blend of grungy-yet-elegant activewear, his female clients and fashion in Paris in 2019.

2019-04-04 | byKatie McKnoulty

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Campaign @louisgabrielnouchi SS19, photo by @mia.dabrowski
Campaign @louisgabrielnouchi SS19, photo by @mia.dabrowski

When I call to interview Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, he quickly apologises for not being able to meet me in person—he is busy working on his upcoming collection for Paris Fashion Week this June, his third on the show calendar to date. Nouchi launched his brand in 2017 and was quickly invited to show the next year in Paris thanks to an impressive start in fashion—he trained at the École des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels, worked under Raf Simons in Belgium and for an important house in Italy, was nominated at the Hyères Festival, and has collaborated on lines with Galeries Lafayette and La Redoute.

“The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, a book by the Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima, inspired Louis-Gabriel’s first collection for Spring Summer 2019: The Golden Temple. All his collections, in fact, are inspired by books and the designer names Japan in general as a strong influence, telling me “I wanted to do fashion because of Yohji Yamamoto.” The book is “a true story about a monk who burns his own temple because he’s so obsessed by its beauty.” Nouchi explored this idea in the collection: “I really wanted to have this kind of aggressive treatment and destroy the fabrics (…).
Having this kind of really over-dyed process on denim, it adds value to the pieces which is also a process of making clothes that I’m used to doing. This kind of new grunge, this is a way of wearing things (…) in a super-chic and elegant way.”

Collaboration @louisgabrielnouchi & damart, photo by @elimiegmz
Collaboration @louisgabrielnouchi & damart, photo by @elimiegmz

“Activewear is really interesting because every piece of clothing has a function: every pocket, everything is for a certain function, to put your iPhone in, to put your keys in when you’re running, everything is really practical. That’s why I want to do this kind of a soft mix between tailoring and sportswear, but I really try to do it in a super elegant way.”

When I enquire as to his unique aesthetic blending activewear with tailoring, he explains that Parisians “like to be chic without looking too much like we tried”. He adds, “Activewear is really interesting because every piece of clothing has a function: every pocket, everything is for a certain function, to put your iPhone in, to put your keys in when you’re running, everything is really practical. That’s why I want to do this kind of a soft mix between tailoring and sportswear, but I really try to do it in a super elegant way.”

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“It’s something that I’m not thinking about when I’m doing the collection or clothes in general but we have lots of female clients which I really like. But everything is about guys—I present it on guys, but everything is super deconstructed, very soft.”

It’s a look that’s loved by men and women alike: half of the menswear brand’s clientele are women. Nouchi explains, “It’s something that I’m not thinking about when I’m doing the collection or clothes in general but we have lots of female clients which I really like. But everything is about guys—I present it on guys, but everything is super deconstructed, very soft.”

I ask Louis-Gabriel where he sees fashion fitting into a modern world in self-destruction mode. He tells me, “We are going through a lot, especially in Paris: we have strikes (…), everyone is really worried about the future, we don’t know where we are going. (…) But there’s a lot of good energy now in Paris, you have a lot of emerging brands, we can start to have this kind of crew in Paris of new designers, even if it’s a tough period. If I can do something where you have this kind of fresh moment at least, there’s already so much darkness, we have to have a bit of hope, to be positive finally about all of this.”

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