Page 45

Claire Pignot’s romantic delicacies are clearly renaissance-inspired concoctions. Whether she attributes these designs to the celebrated art revival of the 14th century or not, her design independence and graceful craft are subtle indications that indie designers will forever prevail with their personal touch and timeless efforts. With only three collections under her belt (each one undoubtedly better than the last), Pignot’s girly frocks and elegant separates read like summertime prose or an excerpt from a Jane Austen novel—short and sweet. Androgyny grunge minions need not apply. From the tender age of six, as many fashion darling stories go, Pignot was already a style prodigy. Using the remnants of her grandmother’s magazines, she would make hundreds upon hundreds of traced silhouette drawings, leaving her parents to decipher that maybe this was more than a simple hobby. However, she admits that, though the piles of magazines and books started collecting dust and her transformation to somewhat of a fashion geek slowly took place, she had no sense of craft at all and felt most fulfilled as an illustrator. Of course the jump to design eventually had to be made out of curiosity, and graceful silhouettes with such utter wearability can only be derived from the capital of chic—Paris, France. After acquiring knowledge in the Applied Arts in high school, Claire Pignot studied under the masters at the École Duperré in Paris whilst interning for Gaspard Yurkievich, also an up-and-coming young designer. She soon took flight into all Paris had to offer by partaking in dream jobs, including the coveted spot of backstage dresser at the Chanel shows—a gig every young woman drooling over the season finale of The Hills could only wish for. From The Hills to The Devil Wears Prada, Pignot followed the footsteps of all aspiring interns and hopped

on a plane to New York, where she interned for a year under the brilliant Peter Som. “[This is] what I consider my official first start, because that's when I realized I had no idea what this whole business was about,” Pignot declared. And rightfully so. Only under the mentorship and direction of an emerging powerhouse can one truly learn to emerge from their own creative shell. Peter Som just happened to be that catalyst; an incomparably great starting point. “When I first started interning, I realized that school didn't teach me much about the reality of [the] fashion business, and then when I started to work by myself I realized that internships didn't teach me much about actually making things, that practical, technical part,” explained Pignot. “A lot of designers tend to neglect the very essence of design—patternmaking, cutting, sewing—and instead opt to delegate it, as it is, well, very technical and sometimes boring. I couldn't afford doing this, so I pretty much taught myself everything by just trying, failing and trying again until I got what I want. I actually learned to like it a lot, because it makes me feel productive.” Is there a significant difference in those who delegate and those who create? Do fashionistas prefer a product made by the designer’s very hands to that of a slaved seamstress? One can only wonder if the true appreciation of independent fashion lay in the quirks and incongruous traits that the clothing exemplifies when produced one after the other by the designer hard at work. Pignot recalls the first piece she ever made—some resemblance of “bride knickers” made of white silk ruffles and embroidered beads, a prelude to her signature ethereal and decorous features. “I never sold the first item I made because obviously it wasn't sellable at all,” she exclaims. This would soon change when she was invited to showcase her debut collection in on of Barcelona’s main trade buying events called Changing Room, where she, of course, went on to happily sell her first piece. It was a baby doll tunic with silver anchors on the straps, which was the epitome of girls who lunch, or girls who do tea parties in frou frou skirts, pink stockings and Mary Janes,

DUJOUR MAGAZINE  

visit us online at www.dujourmag.com