His apartment matches his image. He has a deep love of warm colours and vintage items with a somewhat contemporary charm. There are antique pieces of furniture from the Saint-Ouen flea market that glow in their history and look the part in this Parisian haven where time appears to stand still. Here we are at the place of Alexandre Blanc, a young prodigy of French fashion who likes to entertain us at tea time with casualness and simplicity, wearing blue socks. A bar of chocolate placed on the low table covered with his geometric designs, fruits of an artistic brilliance dating from the first lockdown. We can quickly see that art means everything to him. Ranging from his sketches dotted throughout his apartment to the furniture that he enjoys decorating. Sometimes, his passion also extends to his walls if he is taken by a sudden fancy, as this quick fresco he did in his hallway shows! Because Alexandre is an aesthete, a learned man who grew up in a circle of enlightened personalities — like his sister — and surrounded by artwork he was receptive to. Films, in abundance, and painting, naturally. It was in the fine arts shop in the Tarn city of his childhood where the creator spend most of his time “finding the latest paints or felt pens”. He was consumed by a passion that led him to the Duperré School of Fine Arts, then to the Institut Français de la Mode, two schools in Paris where he learned the basics of his trade that he now applies to clothe his feminine silhouettes. These are from a French wardrobe that plays with classic codes, at the same time giving it a modern twist. His unique designs have become his signature. Animal forms, geometric shapes, bright and shimmering: he was inspired to create these ornaments that enliven the art of gouache by illustrious figures — including Henri Matisse, Dries Van Noten and Yves Saint Laurent — like the people nearest to him or whom he encountered unexpectedly. A unique collection of synergies forming his world that The Socialite Family invites you to discover in this article.
Alexandre, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Alexandre Blanc, and I’m 39 years old. I’m from south-west France but have lived and worked in Paris for the past twenty years.
Tell us about your upbringing. What sort of environment did you grow up in and which consequently developed your taste?
I studied at Duperré School and also at the IFM (the French Fashion Institute). Two Parisian fashion schools where I was able to learn the basics of my profession. But I grew up in the countryside, in a small village in Tarn where I watched lots of films from a very early age. I still love the film world and still have a passion for painting. I was never into video games but always enjoyed wandering around fine art galleries in search of new paintings or to check out the latest artistic trends.
What about your desire to dress women?
I far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in women’s fashion. I wanted to become a fashion designer as soon as I realised it was an actual job! My older sister – who’s nine years older than me – was always well-dressed. I watched her a lot as a child. I also reproduced fashion styles I saw in magazines, trying to replicate the patterns or textures of the fabrics in as much detail as possible. I loved Jean-Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, and later I became a fan of Yves Saint Laurent and Azzedine Alaïa.
Who are your creations for?
I think about a lot of different women when I design my collections. My friends, different situations, the places I’ve visited, as well as the men who left a strong impression on me. These people with their specific tastes have often influenced my career. I can remember certain words or a colourful pairing that was unique to them.
Designers, artists: whose work has influenced you, your work?
Lots of people, I think. From Henri Matisse to Dries Van Noten, Jean Cocteau and Yves Saint Laurent whom I mentioned earlier, not forgetting films by François Truffaut and interiors by Madeleine Castaing.
How would you define your signature style as a fashion designer?
All my prints are designed using gouache. Each season, I’m inspired by artists, painters or places and I then create a pictorial representation as the patterns are printed onto the fabrics. This first step means my fabrics are personal, and I then add a classic or more sexy cut that is very French with a touch of haute couture. I love using a unique print combined with a more familiar cut.
Tell us about how you found this apartment.
It was a fluke and happened very quickly. Before moving here, I lived on rue Chaptal in the 9th arrondissement. I needed to find a new apartment quickly, and I visited this one just when I was on the point of signing the lease on another. I loved the high ceiling; I immediately felt at home.
You seem inspired by colour and the profusion of patterns. How does your aesthetic taste show in your different living spaces?
I love colour but, paradoxically, I don’t like it when a shade dominates my home. I try to mix them to create harmony. I also, on a whim during lockdown created a fresco on the entrance wall that I only kept for a month because it was too overbearing for my taste. I was feeling a bit frustrated, so I repainted the coffee table and am still loving it – for now (laughs).
I bargain-hunted a lot of pieces, and I believe you should keep a certain order when organising your interior. In general, I don't keep items that I bought on a whim.
Did you have a plan for the layout of your interior?
Firstly, I bought this fountain chandelier in Saint-Ouen. It then made me think it would be cool to add colour to the walls and feature painted furniture. I bargain-hunted a lot of pieces, and I believe you should keep a certain order when organising your interior. In general, I don’t keep items that I bought on a whim.
What pieces do you cherish the most in your apartment?
I love my art deco tea set that I bought for 20 euros at a flea market. Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s what we’re using right now.
What does your artistic side tell us about your personality?
I’m half Italian and think it shows in the colours found in my home. I have a nostalgic side. My passion for flea markets is proof enough. But, above all, I like to show that I’m different. Maybe sometimes to the detriment of good taste – that’s for you to tell me.
Where will we find you in the coming months?
Probably bargain hunting in Saint-Ouen. Otherwise, at home, I hope. For a special fitting of my new collection.
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Photography : Constance Gennari – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily