Sunday morning, it was pouring hard when we reached our appointment with Marc Le Bihan – in Tortona district. Even though we made our selection the day before, we wanted to dig deeper into his profound couture universe. In a transitional era, where everything looks unstable and meaningless, his persistent artisanal contribution makes the difference.
Marc Le Bihan is a fashion designer, artist, and craftsman who creates clothes like a second skin. Indeed, his work goes beyond any classification. His conceptual creativity – manifested through impeccable tailoring, is the expression of a cultured and timeless approach to fashion that refuses trends and their transience.
Completely disconnected from commercial fashion constraints, his couture is a rare example of consistency.
Marc Le Bihan: the interview
• What does it mean to be consistent? Keeping up with your vision when the rest of the world goes in a different direction?
Marc Le Bihan: “The other direction is not my world. I do not understand it. To me, it’s a problem of society. I don’t understand the way of being, the lifestyle. That world is not me, and I can’t even think about it.
Usually, I don’t watch TV. Yesterday I watched Italian TV, and I wondered, how is it possible? Women pretend to be free, showing exaggerated lips and boobs. But in that, I only see the reflection of a man’s vision. That is not freedom. It’s the fake image of a woman.”
• The state of fashion now. How do you see it?
Marc Le Bihan: “The problem with fashion is that people only see the lights, the famous people. There is no sensibility to go further. Branded products are not luxury, not anymore. Luxury is rare, and it’s not for all.
To me, it’s not about fashion but more about doing clothes my way. The two roads can cross each other but not as direction to follow.”
• What do you think about social media communication?
Marc Le Bihan: “Famous people promote everything. They get paid to sell, it’s all about money. And not only for fashion. Maybe they promote a food they didn’t even taste. We live in the culture of image, not real life. People don’t live the moment, take pictures. And everything is ego-centered. People have lost the meaning of quality and quality of life.
That is why I follow my path. And so, our communication is not to do any communication. Everything is too confused, there’s too much of it. We don’t have time for social media, we are busy making clothes. However, it’s not about posting a thousand things. Sometimes we post. Enough.”
Fashion, culture & sustainability
• It’s a matter of culture and education?
Marc Le Bihan: “Always. The first problem is education, for everything. The idea of accessing, through culture and education, to something higher – is dead. And I am concerned about young kids. Now they are totally immersed in this image game.”
• What do you think about sustainability?
Marc Le Bihan: “Well, I did it 20 years ago! We were recycling and upcycling uniforms and parachutes. Now, I don’t want to be a part of that circle because everybody is doing it. It’s marketing. To me, it’s more about how we consume and live. Of course, I use sustainable materials, but I don’t advertise. To claim it means being part of the system.
My idea is to keep a garment for ten years in the wardrobe, then take it out and still want to wear it because it’s timeless.
Mine is a work in progress. If a shirt is good, it’s good forever.”
A final note about couture
“Couture is sustainable by definition. In fact, there is no overproduction, no minimum orders, and no sales. We produce only on orders, and everything is handmade. Moreover, we don’t find our balance in over profit. If everybody gets well paid, we all can live. Indeed, my staff has been working with me for 25 years. Always the same people, same suppliers. We understand each other. We work like this. Many pieces are made in casa, a la maison, in our atelier.”
He smiled saying those words. Stubbornly showing a path that is a return to the essential, pure artisanal creativity.