Icosae’s AW17 collection was recently unveiled during Paris Fashion Week. As usual, the designers put together an amazing show titled Blood is Thicker than Water. Dr. Martens caught up with Valentin and Florentin Glemarec, the founders of Icosae, to talk about their latest collection.
Can you please introduce yourselves and tell us a bit more about how you came to collaborate together, as brothers?
We are Valentin and Florentin, respectively 22 and 21 year old. We live in Paris and design for our brand, ICOSAE. We design together by discussing each other’s point of view. Sometimes we design pieces by ourselves and show it to the each other and then we perfect it together. As brothers, we know each other very well, unsurprisingly considering the fact that we basically spend 24 hours a day together working on the brand. The creative process is simple, sometimes with conflict but it is easy to argue with your brother and then find a unanimous solution!
Classic tailoring is a key element in your creative process. On the other hand, you tend to explore subcultures as key inspirations. Can you tell us a bit more about your reasoning behind this?
Classic tailoring is really about our heritage; our great grandfather was a tailor and we always found inspirations for how to tailor and trim from his archives. For instance, the back stitching detail that we have on all of our pieces is a tribute to him, it was his signature cut.
Subculture inspirations are more related to what we experience in our daily lives, which is translated into our clothing. We like to make clothes that people today will want to wear and that are actually wearable, whether you are a businessman or a skater. We are also trying to expand on the subcultures idea; we don’t want to make it too underground or street so we like to mix it with classic art and painting. We studied at l’Ecole du Louvre so we like the paradox between classic painting and street culture.
What has been your best memory and the accomplishment you are the most proud of since you launched the Icosae brand in 2014?
I think our best memory was our trip to New York last year. We were asked to work on a job at the SS16 Givenchy show and it was very cool to be a part of it. We also met some people on the street that recognized us for ICOSAE so it’s always pretty cool to know that people in New York know the brand!
Our best accomplishment was definitely being selected by the Fédération Française de Couture as an official member of the PFW calendar. It was a huge honor for us and we were really proud that our work was recognized by the industry.
What have been your key influences for your latest Autumn/Winter 2017 collection and the biggest challenges you faced bringing it to life?
We had different layers of inspirations and mixed them together to bring the collection to life. From military uniforms for the tailoring to royal symbols for embroidery details. We were also inspired by artists like William Storms’ “Bullet Rug” that we saw at MACBA in Barcelona. It inspired all the details of brand rivets on the clothing, including the bullets on the garments.
The challenges we faced this season were all related to craftsmanship. We wanted the clothes to be perfect, not only in the tailoring but also in the construction underneath. For instance, we worked very closely with a former tailor from Chanel to make the tailored coats and the construction inside is indeed very complex. All of our ateliers told us that our clothes were the most difficult they ever had to make!
Music is also a key element of your inspirations and shows. How important is music in your life, and overall work? Can you also give us some rationale behind the soundtrack you chose for this show in Paris?
If you come to our studio, you will always hear music. We put music to work, it can be motivating or calm our minds when we are stressed out. We listen to a lot of different music; it can be the Smiths, the Cure or Beethoven like you’ll hear in our runway teaser. The last couple of months we listened to a lot of cold wave like Joy Division or Bahaus and the music of the show is what Florentin listens to at the office. We remixed it a little and that was it!
If you could design a piece of clothing for someone, dead or alive, what would you make and for whom would it be?
It would definitely be David Bowie. A look from the last show was actually inspired by him.
You chose to style your latest AW17 collection with Dr. Martens boots from our Originals collection. Can you tell us why?
Firstly because all of our team wear this style! We have been thinking for a while about the shoe that would define the Icosae man and always had this model in mind because it’s strong and easy to wear yet very chic.
What does Dr. Martens represent for you?
It’s a way of life! The style is really cool and underground but also a timeless look. When you put the Dr. Martens shoes on, you feel confident and ready to take over the world.
What does a regular day at the office look like for you?
Every day is different and that is what is really exciting for us. One day we might go abroad to shoot visuals for our next advertising campaign, and the next we’ll be heading out to spend time with our ateliers to perfect the collection. But overall, it’s a lot of emails, teamwork and coffee!
What are the next steps for you?
We are already thinking about the next collection and are planning to go to Japan for inspirations and maybe some shoots. We will also travel to visit our different boutiques. The next big step is to establish the brand as not only a designer brand but also a real maison, expand our distribution network and maybe in a few years open our first flagship store.
And finally, what advice would you give young designers trying to break into the fashion industry?
Be prepared to work very hard! We would say that the most important thing is to build a strong team that you can trust 100%. Choose your ateliers with care, craftsmanship is important. And above all, be aware of market needs.