Rochas hasn’t had a designer in the creative director seat for a year. Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s final collection for the French house was presented last February. The vacancy went mostly unnoticed amidst the pandemic, but today there’s news from Paris that the up-and-comer Charles de Vilmorin has taken the position.
De Vilmorin is a recent graduate of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne whose star is rising fast. The 24-year-old’s appointment is partly down to his provenance—his great-aunt Louise de Vilmorin was an heiress and a femme des lettres friendly with Hélène Rochas, the wife of couturier Marcel Rochas—and partly down to the joie de vivre of his colorful aesthetic. De Vilmorin’s debut collection of quilted jackets conjured Niki de Saint Phalle’s famous Nana sculptures, and last month, he presented his first haute couture collection at the invitation of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in the same exuberant vein. It probably hasn’t hurt that he looks a lot like the youthful Yves Saint Laurent, but as the brand video shows below, his beauty also comes from within. He’ll continue to develop his own label as he assumes his Rochas duties.
Though he’s gained attention for the irrepressibility of his designs—including in an Apple TV spot; Tierra Whack wore one of his patchwork puffers in a holiday commercial—de Vilmorin is still mostly unknown outside of Paris. So, we asked him to share some of his impressions about Rochas and his plans for the label in his own words here.
What does the label Rochas signify to you and what appealed to you about taking the job?
Rochas represents for me a real charm, it is a brand that surrounded me during my childhood; whether it be clothes or perfumes, this logo has always been familiar to me. Rochas is for me a symbol of purity and elegance, of freshness. I am extremely honored to take on the artistic direction of this brand that I love and inspires me a lot. The story of Rochas, beyond the clothes, starts from a love story, I love the lightness that emanates from this brand and the strong legacy in color and creativity. Rochas DNA’s and my own will be able to combine to continue writing this beautiful Rochas story.
You are just launching your own label. How do you plan to balance the two?
I have indeed recently launched my own brand. I don't intend to leave it aside, on the contrary I want to make it grow and evolve as much as possible. For the moment, I plan to show collections during the Haute Couture weeks within my brand, to have a more experimental approach. I would like to introduce various capsules and projects on a regular basis. With Rochas, my approach will have to be totally different. I’ll be facing a varied set of challenges, which I find extremely exciting.
What do you see as the differences between your label and the Rochas label?
I intend to propose two different universes while keeping my DNA and reinventing it. Within Rochas I intend to reinterpret the brand codes that are for me the volumes and prints, codes that obviously speak to me a lot. My objective is to bring the brand a real fashion proposition and to dare to shake up the walls of this beautiful house to make it shine even more. The Rochas team is obviously much larger and the way of working is very different, and it’s exciting to work in these conditions. Within my brand, I intend to work on a human scale, to continue to develop my ideas in a more raw and playful way.