As a child I devoured books about Ancient Egypt, the treasures of antiquity, artists’ biographies, medicinal herbariums and books on minerals.
I spent my free time on horseback in the mountains, on skis off-piste, by lakes, rivers and boats.
Happy loneliness a starting-point.
There is a Russian proverb that says “you can feed the wolf a lot but he always looks at the forest”, I deeply believe that our children’s illuminations are a constant reminder. If we honor them by being in full possession of our adults’ means we are closer to our soul and by radiance we are more true to the others.
Understanding where we come from, that we are part of a whole, that by being open, humble, honest, generous, creative, supportive, benevolent but also demanding and fair, the circles open and we all respond as in a large choir.
I respond to a life impulsion, I don’t know where it will lead me, but the path is exciting, challenging too, but the encounters through the projects I set up confirm me that I am well there where I am.
Audrey Guimard, what is your background?
I have a background in art history and archaeology with a major in Egyptology and Ancient Greece. I eventually enrolled in a school of applied arts and scenography in theater and cinema, then I moved on to museography and event scenography. But very quickly, all these materials that we used in an ephemeral way and that we threw away once the event was over brought me to an ethical problem. I had to make a change as I also became a mother. As a child and teenager, I grew up in complete freedom in a small mountain village, I built huts, I had horses, I drew, I did crafts, all that remains engraved in me. I have always divided my time between agency projects and my personal practice in the studio. After this radical awareness, I realised that this was the place where I was really happy and that I had to develop my own projects in accordance with my ecological and artistic sensibility and my life choices!
How do you recognize yourself in Valentine Gauthier’s collections?
Her universe is elegant and strong, her colors vibrant, her materials refined.
In my work I apprehend volumes, I am sensitive to the cut of a garment, to its architecture.
When you move, the garment dances, occupies the space, Valentine’s creations are also distinguished by their movement, like mobile sculptures that capture the light.
What is your relationship with fashion today? has it changed?
Even though I always admire beautiful creations, my financial situation does not allow me to afford dream pieces! My savings go mainly into the purchase of equipment and materials for my projects. If I have to choose between an alligator saw and a pair of shoes, the choice is made. Even if I am careful with my budget, I don’t consume fast-fashion just like I don’t set foot in the big box stores. It’s a lifestyle choice that I apply at all levels.
Do you also believe that nothing will ever be the same again?
Yes, definitely and this phenomenon is accelerated by the health crisis we are experiencing. I think there is a new awareness of the living and a collective awakening. We all realise, more or less intensely, that we are coming to the end of a system that belongs to the past. I have the feeling that spirituality is developing and that we are moving towards more solidarity. I was very close to my grandmother, who was from a modest background. In her time we sewed our own clothes, we arranged them to make them last. We banished waste, we cooked the leftovers… we must return to this common sense and to a frugal joy.
In the famous world after, what element of the world before could you not do without?
I’ll keep the essentials, each to their own gauge of course: in clothing for me it would be a 501 that I wear all the time. I’ve been wearing them for 15 years. I patch them up, I patch them up everywhere.
Do you systematically look at the made in of a garment or an accessory? Are you sensitive to upcycling approaches?
Yes, always! Materials are very important to me and of course where they come from.
I am not a fashionista and I live with little. I buy pieces that last, quality pieces that I keep for a long time! I live with the essentials, and what I do for my wardrobe I do for everything. I make sure my lifestyle is consistent, for example I go on vacation by train and mainly in France. When I go abroad it’s mostly for professional projects or artistic residencies.
Do you like to wear colors? What colors do you like to wear?
I love colors. In my work I am immersed in materials from nature with light and ochre colors, amber but I also use chlorophyll green and blues, these colors inspire and soothe me. Valentine’s colors energize me, they are vibrant, the deep greens, the reds, the powerful pinks, it is invigorating and very feminine.
I actually fell in love with the pink jumpsuit I’m wearing in the photo. It has this flamboyant side that breathes strength! The color is bold, it transforms the day. This is also the role of a garment to give power and magic!