Marc le Bihan
French designer Marc le Bihan’s work is rooted in conceptual design to produce beautiful, timeless fashion, not transitory trends. A rule breaker from the beginning, le Bihan showcases his men’s and women’s collection together, fundamentally the same, the separation between genders is only one of cut. Producing skirts for men and women, le Bihan’s work is not however androgynous, instead it is innately feminine and masculine, reaffirming sexuality rather than blending or blurring it. Designs are realized in a spectrum of near whites and saturated tones of black, realized through traditional dye methods including dip dying and shibori dye techniques. The graphic colors and tonalities within the collection represent le Bihan’s polar inspirations of “alpha and omega, swaddling cloth and shroud”.
Le Bihan’s background is in textiles, once working at the prestigious tapestry factory, Manufacture des Gobelins in Paris, whose ancient history dates back to Louise XIV. It was while working as a weaver that le Bihan developing his taste for hand made craftsmanship, so evident in his collection today. Entirely manufactured in Paris, much of it at artist’s studios, le Bihan honors tradition and artisanship through his work. Controlling the quality of production by working locally, it is also his way of connecting to the makers, knowing what conditions they work in, and knowing how much they are paid. Not interested in commerciality, le Bihan only works with the most exquisite materials. The longevity of his design approach engenders a base of staple designs that are updated gradually over seasons, rather than entirely reinvented, and as a natural outgrowth of his artisanal approach. Le Bihan focuses on the gradual composition of a wardrobe, rather than seasonal trends, making for a very organic expression of his creative talent.
“I find interest in creating from clothes already heavy with the past” le Bihan explains of his material choice of working with materials of vintage provenance. He collects and meticulously deconstructs historical garments, such as an 18th century suit, a frock coat from 1910 and snippets of vintage lace and embroidery, interjecting scraps of their past into the future, through his collection. “What pleases me is the act of using old pieces”. Taking these stories from the past to make new stories, bringing them into the current and the future with his new designs. Despite his vintage inspiration and materials, le Bihan’s work is not rooted in a visual retrospective of a particular time period, but instead pays homage to forgotten stories and pasts not rooted in time or space, but ethereal by nature and timeless.
Le Bihan’s designs are ethereal, delicate and sensual. Complex draping combine through his elegant vision to produce a spare collection with contrasted materials such as leather and chiffon, latex and tulle. His asymmetrical styling is at once quirky and sophisticated. There is a ghostly rebelliousness to his work that simultaneously honors history, material and craft.