In Conversation With Elsa Esturgie
After your time studying fine arts at l’École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, how did you make the transition into debuting your first clothing collection? Did your studies come to inform your design process?
I created my first collection very soon after the end of my studies, 22 years ago. My work was more experimental at that time, and the styles in that first collection represented that. I think I always turn around the same obsessions and I realize often after creating a new style that I have done similar research years ago, even during my studies.
One of the myriad reasons we continuously love your work is the timelessness of each silhouette and clear consideration given to the materials and construction. You work with responsibly made and often recycled fabrics—which is so critical for fashion’s and our environment’s future. Can you expand more upon what else is important to you in terms of design?
The timeless aspect is out of my will, it is with surprise that I often see that clothes from my current collections can marry very well with pieces designed ten or fifteen years ago. I am all the more happy to then see the enduring nature of each garment. I try more and more to work with organic and recycled materials, and it is not always easy to find interesting textiles that have these qualities—but things are changing a lot now. The spinners and weavers I work with do a lot of research in this direction, and it's exciting and inspiring to work alongside them. The focus of my creations is always the textile, and it is the necessary research around the material that the shapes and creates the resulting garment.
When you are in the process of designing for upcoming seasons, how does your inspiration take shape? Can you walk us through your thought processes and what inspires you?
For me, the creation of a new collection is always done in the following of the previous one—it is a continuity. My collections are all one and the same research informs and brings together each collection. styles evolve, shapes change, textures are transformed, and as with life, the emotions of each piece are lived.
What is one of your favorite things about working out of Paris?
I was born in the countryside but I always felt better in the city—even if my studio and my house are both privileged places in small yards, outside the tumult of the city. I do like to work from these quiet places, surrounded by nature, which are at the same time at the heart of living a cultural, well-defined life.
Do you have a favorite piece from the upcoming Spring 19 collection? If so, how do you see yourself wearing it throughout the day?
There are many pieces that I like this season, with details in chiffon, or the series with knots, but I do not design clothes for myself. Wearing clothes does not interest me much, I much prefer to design and manufacture them.