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HAUTE COUTURE OUTFIT’S SECRETS

Daenerys the Dragon Queen

haute couture secrets
Chapter 7

Haute Couture outfit’s secrets : the Haute Couture dress of Daenerys, the queen of dragons from First Creatures

When I saw Lera Shatilova come into my design studio for casting, we all had a shock. Jean-Paul exclaimed, “That’s Daenerys, the queen of dragons from Game of Thrones!”

Like a luminescent apparition, Lera dazzled the room with her presence. Very calm, smiling, discreet, Lera imposed respect. She was hurrying through the fittings, her distant, transparent gaze and ethereal blondness immediately reminding me why I had named this collection First Creatures.

We had her first look, but not the second, which was to be unforgettable, highlighting her plastic doll beauty, as if out of a fairy tale. Her second look had to reveal both her dark side and her icy luminosity,

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Julien Fournié’s illustration of Daenerys’ Haute Couture dress from the First Creatures collection

The workshops were putting together an incandescent Haute Couture dress, in jacquard of bleached gold Lurex, pink and azure-blue reflections in “laser game,” the fabric made by Sfate and Combier.
I had been spinning around this model for a while, without really giving it life. I was stirring…

With the arrival of Lera, a creative Big Bang operated: “We will add an azure-blue petticoat to give volume and we will build a winged back with rostrums,” I said to Jacqueline. The workshops looked at me dumbfounded. What?

While for this collection I wanted to remove everything superfluous, I was going to bring an architectural dimension to this Haute Couture dress. I asked for metal ribs and a whole set of stitching to hold this mystery back that would levitate and move organically around the dress. And to give even more magic to this garment, everything would be suspended on tulle illusion. The metamorphosis of a young woman into an interstellar creature.

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Julien Fournié and Lera Shatilova during the preparation of the fashion show (Photo Brioda Savi)

Lera’s cold skin tone, warmed by this undulating and reflective material, will give a luminescent wow effect on the catwalk.

Nicolas and Jack only worked to highlight Lera’s beauty.

A reference to the hair jumped out at me: she will have Veronica Lake’s hairstyle, asymmetrical and curly, like in the movies of the ’40s. Nicolas, for his part, only had to make any expression disappear. He summarized: “We emptied everything: no more eyebrows, not more contours, nothing, just light and barely any shadows on the eyes to highlight her ice blue iris.”

Lera and I didn’t need to talk much to understand each other. Instinctively, she assimilated every gesture I showed her. Lera already had in her the primal elegance, always alert, but with a lot of distance, and the intensity required to present this Haute Couture dress on the catwalk.

It is for moments like this that I do this job.

Daenerys haute couture dress
Lera Shatilova and Julien Fournié backstage before the fashion show of the Haute Couture collection First Creatures (Photo Brioda Savi).

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Photos : Delphine Royer

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JULIEN FOURNIÉ PHOTOGRAPHED BY THOMAS BRAUT

Julien Fournié

Although sketching has been a passion since his early years, fashion design was chosen by Julien Fournié only after a first academic orientation in the field of medical studies.

Selected as one of the talents chosen to study at the ESAA Duperré, he quickly preferred the technical rigor of the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Creativity? He has learnt it at the side of the biggest names in Haute Couture, experiencing multiple internships inside prestigious Paris-based fashion houses, including Christian Dior, where he has met Jean Mouclier, who taught him how to sketch jewelry, but also Givenchy (when Alexander McQueen was Creative Director), Nina Ricci and Céline, among other names.

In 2000, at his graduation runway show, he received the Moët et Chandon Award for best accessory at Paris Fashion Awards.

While he had just come into internship at Céline, Jean Paul Gaultier hired him as an assistant in his Haute Couture studio. In charge of researching materials and embroidery, he also collaborated in designing some Madonna stage costumes for her “World Tour”. Identified as a budding talent by another great name of fashion, Claude Montana, he then collaborated with this master of cut and garment architecture.

In 2003, while he was working as a designer at Montana Creations, Julien Fournié was appointed by Torrente Haute Couture as Creative Director for ready-to-wear lines. A few days before his first show for the house based at the Rond-Point des Champs Elysées, he was named Creative Director for the entire brand, including Haute Couture.

Julien Fournié then wanted to discover the world and countries which were then only emerging in the fashion industry. In 2006, he was hired by the LG Fashion Group, in South Korea, to be the Creative Director of several brands. In Seoul, he met a different fashion ecosystem, directed to the future.

Back in Paris, Ramosport, the mythical home of the “travel coat” made him its new Creative Director. He then returned to accessories as a designer at Charles Jourdan. After the closing of these houses, which were led by financiers with little specific knowledge of the fashion markets, Julien Fournié took his destiny in hand.

Julien Fournié decided to found, in 2009, his eponymous house around the spirit of Parisian Couture, its unparalleled craftsmanship and constant need for innovation.

Julien Fournié Haute Couture House

Founded in 2009 by the couturier Julien Fournié, the Julien Fournié house is centered around what the designer calls his “laboratory”: Haute Couture. The history of the house is reflected in the collections unveiled in Paris, in January and July each year, during Haute Couture Week. Thus “First Pieces” marked in June 2009 the beginnings of the Julien Fournié style codes: back windows, “Art Deco” lace, noble fabrics (silk drape, muslin and organza) combined with more innovative materials. Thanks to this first collection, the young couturier has been awarded the Grand Prize of Creativity by the City of Paris in January 2010.

For the fourth collection after its debut, in January 2011, Julien Fournié has become a “guest member” in the official calendar of Haute Couture runway shows. This marked a first step in aknowledging Julien Fournié as a promising new brand in the circle of grand couturiers. With this new title, Julien Fournié has put on the runway for the first time in the history of Haute Couture, a collection only worn by black models.

In the same year, Julien Fournié, together with Dassault Systèmes, created FashionLab, a technology incubator at the crossroads of fashion and 3D design, convinced that 3D could propel fashion to new heights. Since then, both partners have been exploring and developing several incubation projects concerning clothing, footwear, but also materials sourcing and fashion retailing. Developed with FashionLab 3D digital solutions , the Julien Fournié shoe collections (as seen on every runway show of the house since July 2014) are presented to Haute Couture customers for special orders.

Throughout the seasons, the Parisian Couture House has agregated key supporters and partners.

Since the very first fashion show, Jean Paul Cauvin -who was then a respected fashion writer, and editor- has been curating the production and casting processes as well as producing the house’s runway show soundtracks. Continuing to pursue these missions season after season, he has also been fulfilling continuously, since 2013, the duties of Chief Operating Officer of the Julien Fournié company.

Madame Jacqueline, the House’s Head Seamstress, and Nicolas Degennes, a major makeup artist, have also faithfully brought their expertise to Julien Fournié since the very beginning.

Since 2014, the wonderful team of London hair salon Neville, led by Elena Lavagni, has continuously cured the hairdressing of all the House’s fashion shows and photo shoots.

Among other partners, YKK fastening solutions, has faithfully partnered with the Julien Fournié brand for each and every collection. The late legendary buyer Maria Luisa Poumaillou has been advising the brand. More recently, the Maison Julien Vermeulen, a brilliant Paris-based feather embroiderer, has tied a fruitful collaboration with the Haute Couture House as Guigou and Sfat et Combier.

In January 2017, the Julien Fournié House was officially classified as “Haute Couture”. The Haute Couture label, protected by the French Ministry of Industry, is given to a few houses (only sixteen prestigious names on this list today) which are combining the best of creativity in design and the utmost quality in garment making.

Since its beginnings, Julien Fournié has also had the honor of being invited to show the House’s collections abroad, at prestigious events, in order to make the couturier’s style known to luxury clients woldwide, in their own country.

On three occasions, Julien Fournié has shown in Singapore, but also in Stockholm, in November 2012, where he has presented his “First Retrospective” in the famous hall of honor of the Swedish capital’s City Hall.

In October 2015, his “First Initiation” collection opened the second edition of Vietnam International Fashion Week, in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon).

In October 2018, Julien Fournié Haute Couture participated in the “French Touch” gala organized at the Welki Theater in Warsaw and broadcasted on the country’s first national private television channel (TVN), to promote French arts and luxury in Poland.

While respecting the tradition of Haute Couture, Julien Fournié has also forged new partnerships with high-tech giants such as Apple and Tencent.

Julien Fournié was thus able to digitize the creation, design and personalization of his Haute Couture pieces. He is one of the rare designers of Haute Couture to master the new digital tools.

Long considered as a survivor of a bygone era, the Haute Couture market has experienced a new boom in recent years. Julien Fournié has been able to establish direct and unique means of communication with his clients thanks to new technologies. It is no longer a question of sending Haute Couture clients a sketch to be validated, as was done in the past.

Julien Fournié has introduced a new process in which clients are not just spectators of the creative process. They have become actors in the unique experience of creating a Haute Couture garment wherever they are.

Bags and accessories from Julien Fournié.

Since December 2020, Julien Fournié has been developing a line of luxury bags and accessories. At first, the idea was to offer handbags seen in Julien Fournié Haute Couture shows and reserved, until then, for Haute Couture clients.

Since then, Julien Fournié has created new models ranging from evening clutches to tote bags and handbags.

These high-end bags are made in the purest respect of artisanal traditions.

For the moment, these luxury bags are exclusively available on the online boutique of the House.

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