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SoChic Stories

5 Questions with… couture designer Nicolas Laville

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Singapore-based French couture designer Nicolas Laville tells So Chic about his sources of inspiration, how he created his first ready-to-wear collection and the latest challenges he has set for himself…

Many of your creations are custom-made. Why did you decide to #gobespoke and what do you enjoy about this approach to designing?

After working in the fashion industry for over ten years, I came to realise that mass production or even small production aren’t my thing. Each individual is different in terms of body shape and personality. This is where the challenge is when you have to fit those two points to perfection. Going bespoke is a full service; I need to understand the personality before being able to design and create what we’ll be working on for few weeks, whether it’s an evening/cocktail outfit or a wedding gown.

How has working in different countries shaped your style and creative process?

Living in Asia for the past seven years definitely impacted my design vision. I have always been attracted to the Asian culture from a young age, but back in France my only inspirations were from books and, later on, from the web without really understanding the culture behind. Living in China for four years opened up my mind design-wise. Now that I am able to understand the differences between the different countries and their costume histories, I am able to incorporate meaningful details into my designs that also very important for the wearer.

In the world of French fashion, who are some of the designers that inspire you?

Since the beginning, I always have been influenced by three majors designers.

Christian Dior (left), for his accentuation of the feminine silhouette and his perfection to fit the woman body with comfort.

Yves Saint Laurent (centre), for being able to mix items from the men’s closet and the women’s one.

Jean-Paul Gaultier (right), for being the bad boy of fashion, for the shock value, the unexpected factor, and how proud he is of his French roots, which always shows in his designs.

You created your first ready-to-wear collection for the French Chamber’s 2017 “Imaginarium” gala dinner. How did you approach this collection and where did you draw inspiration from?

It has been a real challenge for me to create this first ready-to-wear collection as I am more used to creating unique pieces. Designing a full collection and making sure that all the different looks are linked together in a way is itself quite a task to accomplish. For this particular “Imaginarium” collection, I drew my inspiration from the movie Hugo by Martin Scorsese where the story happened in the Montparnasse railway station in the early 30s. Looking at all the gears, the different characters and mixing things up with some Asian details here and there is how I came up with this collection.

What projects are currently in the works for Nicolas Laville? What do you hope to do in the next year or two?

At the moment I am working on the orders following the launch of the ready-to-wear collection as well as the ball gowns for two of the major gala events in Singapore (the Prestige and Tatler balls). My next project would be to create a full bridal collection within the next year, and maybe within the next two years, coming up with a men’s collection as I am getting more and more requests for that.

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