Based on Barabara Formis’ Esthétique de la vie ordinaire and Marco Grob’s Industrious photographic essay, Marie-Ève Lecavalier’s work takes on the aesthetics of the simple beauty that permeates the blue collar, ordinary side of life. Lecavalier creates clothes that will bring workwear and uniforms to mind, while presenting a luxurious amount of materials, details and finishes. Hers is a stylistic universe that encompasses the essence of experience in order to make it something out of the ordinary.
Baron: How did you start practicing fashion?
Marie-Ève Lecavalier: I studied fashion at Marie Victorin majoring in furs. While studying, I did an internship at BULA, a brand specialized in winter knitwear. Afterwards, I freelanced for a while and eventually ended up working full time for some of Montreal’s fashion businesses. I realized, at this time, that I felt uneasy when I wasn’t creating. That’s when I decided to go to college. I wanted to see if I belonged and where it would take me. In the end, everything turned out to be fine and I got to do an internship with Alexander Wang, in New York. I’m currently working with designer Ying Gao.
B.: You say you always feel the need to create. Do you find it hard to create for designers who have a different style than yours?
M.-È. L.: Working with Ying is special. She has her own style on paper, while my goal is to make it tridimensional and to keep its poetic beauty intact. I help bringing her ideas to life. I don’t think I have any difficulty adapting to someone else’s aesthetics. I’ve often worked for designers with open-minded methods. At Alexander Wang’s, I was constantly asked to push my style’s limits further. Even if the brand’s image was already defined, they wanted to know every idea we could propose. I guess creating in such conditions was easy.
B.: What is Esthétique de l’ordinaire about?
M.-È. L.: My collection comes from what I remember of my time in New York: their work philosophy, the city’s architecture and construction industry. That’s when I discovered Marco Grob’s Industrious, for which he spent a year taking pictures of New York’s construction companies. Grob’s astonishing work got me reading about the ordinary’s aesthetics. All the mundane and banal little details of our everyday lives captured my interest. There is such a sensible and delicate dimension to the ordinary’s many movements and manifestations.
B.: Since you refer to the ordinary’s aesthetics, what’s your take on the normcore fashion trend?
M.-È. L.: I can’t stand it! This trend makes me so angry… My work is about what I observed while I spent a year living in New York. I was staying in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Park Slope neighborhoods, in some of the poorer areas. I was fascinated with the residents’ gentle and humane nature. I realized the people who looked the most ordinary were often, in fact, the most interesting ones. That’s what made me want to use fabrics and materials usually associated with blue-collar and ordinary lifestyles, like denim and jersey. These ideas ensue from my reading of Esthétique de la vie ordinaire. But now that the media’s talking about that normcore trend, I can see why people might think it is connected to my work somehow. It really isn’t though.
B.: Your collection has certain finesse you won’t find in normcore’s running shoes and jean shirts…
M.-È. L.: Indeed. My father and I have always been a bit normcore (especially him)! I know they say there’s a socio-cultural reason to a fashion trend, but I’d say marketing is the major reason here. I do not believe normcore to be authentic. It reflects something that once was. I’m not really against normcore. It even interests me to some extent, but it still find it annoying…
B.: How would you change fashion industry?
M.-È. L.: I’d like people to see clothes differently. I don’t want any trend, age or gender to be associated with my creations. I hate having to make products for a target market. I want to make clothes people are going to fall in love with. People shouldn’t be told what to buy. Business and moneymaking are taking too much space in the fashion industry. With mass production clothing, we tend to forget all the efforts and craftsmanship that went into the garments’ conception. This made us all forget to praise fashion creators’ work.
B.: How can we stop this negative pattern?
M.-È. L.: Communication is the key. If the media could stop inciting people to buy cheap in order to copy a local designer’s looks and style, it would be a start. The public needs to be aware of the amount of work that goes into clothing. In Europe, they think differently. If we could change our cheap-buying mentality, we could invigorate our local fashion industry and make it prosper.
Discover Marie-Ève Lecavalier’s Esthétique de l’ordinaire on April 29th, as part of the collective fashion show of UQÀM’s Fashion management - design and styling graduates, at the university’s Design Center’s gallery.