Add a new name to the Rolodex of young designers one needs to know. Guillaume Henry. In a few short years, the Frenchman has transformed the couture house of Carven — founded in 1945 by Carmen de Tommaso — into a buzzy ready-to-wear label with fans in Alexa Chung, Emma Watson, Blake Lively and, oh, practically every cool girl about town.
His secret? Henry knows how to strike the right balance between the elegant and effortless, and serves it up with a youthful Parisian flair. You know the one. With that elusive French je ne sais quoi. Fresh-faced. Confident. Supremely chic. “The Parisian girl can be everybody and nobody,” he explains. “She is spontaneous, joyful and beautiful.” It’s a vibe that’s hard to bottle, but Henry’s designs — like fall’s modern revamp of Medieval chic — has it in spades.
To hear the designer tell it, his 21st-century take on the storied house isn’t that far off from de Tommaso’s vision. “The Carven girl remains the same,” he says. “Far from being a fashionista, she looks at fashion as a funny game through which she can express her fantasies and dreams.” He even reveals that, when it comes to influences, he has “a soft spot for the post-war decades when people started to express themselves again. It was an unbelievable mix of excitement and innocence.”
Here, a few more revelations from the Givenchy alum, courtesy of Mr. Marcel Proust himself.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
To always be surrounded by people I love…
Your idea of misery?
If not yourself, who would you be?
What’s your greatest extravagance?
Your favorite motto?