Repetto: State of Grace
Ahead of Repetto’s launch of its “haute couture” shoe line, called “Detroit,” Numéro met with Jean-Marc Gaucher, president and director of the famous house.
Repetto is as well known for its designs for young Opéra de Paris ballerinas as for having kitted out iconic celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg. Now the brand is preparing an audacious collection of “haute couture” shoes, which it is calling “Detroit.” At once elegant and sensual, the line will be designed by Eugène Riconneaus. On the occasion of the launch, Numéro met with Jean-Marc Gaucher, Repetto’s president and general director.
Numéro : Is the world of dance still central to your creations?
Jean-Marc Gaucher: Repetto has always been linked to dance. Our latest designs retain that framework, while developing it and allowing it to evolve. We continue to reference that vocabulary even as we expand our collections, drawing on concepts central to dance, like grace, liberty and movement. Fundamentally, we have not deviated from our initial concept: bringing a dancer’s elegance to the everyday woman.
How does your new “haute couture” collection, “Detroit,” figure in your desire for development and innovation?
Repetto has been transgressive from the start, and remains associated in popular imagination with stars like Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg. Last year, I realized that we needed to revisit this history, to renew ourselves and be surprising again. Eugène Riconneaus, who styled the “Detroit” collection, has completely succeeded in this aim.
In another break with tradition, your new collection of bags abandons certain iconic details, like the ribbon.
The ribbon has featured in our designs for four years, and we felt it was time to try something else. But we are not breaking with our most essential codes. When I spent time on tour with a group of dancers, I realized that they used their bags as pillows on the bus that brought us from one city to another. That gave me the idea to use supple leather.
What led you to pursue artistic collaborations since arriving at Repetto?
I have always enjoyed building links between brands. And I promised myself for years that the day I bought Repetto, our first collaboration would be with Issey Miyake. Of all the designers, Miyake is--for me at least--the most closely associated with movement. It then appeared logical to us to pursue further collaborations with Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawabuko of Comme des Garçons. We remain very open, and take advantage of every opportunity for collaboration that makes sense to us, whether it be with the official manufacturer of the Toile de Jouy, or Olympia Le-Tan.
This winter you are also launching the first ballet shoe for men…
Repetto’s project lead and stylist brought me a copy of an interview with Stromae, in which the singer mentioned that he’d love to wear a men’s ballet shoe. We immediately worked up a model that pleased Stromae so much that he came to pick it up in person. Ultimately, the design came from our desire to keep our ear to the ground.
Interview by Léa Zetlaoui