A backstage interview at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W22 with French designer Valérie Moënne and her brand, Marie Antoilette, exploring her dream-like collection and her passion for drawing for tights.
Marie Antoilette is a French brand which designs fantastical-inspired patterns for tights and other accessories through the use of watercolors and inks. Moënne gains inspiration from observing women around the city, as well as from her daughters, friends and strangers. In this season’s collection, she takes inspiration from Marie Antoinette herself, imagining colorful tights and other garments for the whimsical soul.
What inspired your brand?
We started ten years ago. Before then, I was drawing for records, making some theater decor, and then I found tights and I decided to create my own and add my own drawings. My daughter, son, and my husband found this interesting, and they came to work with me. We started designing and in, I will say three hundred shops, we sold our products.
What drew you to designing tights?
Usually, it’s men who imagine tights for women, and they imagine sexy tights – that doesn’t please me. Through tights, I think you can tell a story. It’s another way to wear colours in the fashion world. It’s a small community that loves these kinds of drawings and to be dressed like this, but it brings a poetic story, I think. It’s unusual. It’s important that we made all these.
My parents used to work in a factory, but not in fashion, working for security, for firemen. I drew for theater, but when I went to the workshop, I would always say I’d love to make something different.
What inspired this specific collection?
To celebrate our ten year anniversary, I decided to draw around Marie Antoinette. Our brand name is “Marie Antoilette” – it’s a play on words. In French, ‘Toilette’ means to be “perfectly dressed”, or to have a pretty dress. So, the tights have some flowers from the famous portrait [Marie Antoinette with a Rose by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun], and there is part of the monumental castle, and ribbons in my drawings as well. We always think about tattoos, so I organize my drawings with old fashioned London English tattoos. When you’re drawing for tights, you have to imagine; “If I wear this, I draw smaller for smaller size, and bigger for bigger size,” because the tights will stretch when on the body.
What’s your creative process like?
[Moënne presents her travel journal of sketched nature scenes and Vancouver forests]
I travel and I draw a lot so when I go back home, the future collection will be about Vancouver! This is how I imagine my collections. I look around, and after I draw. I take inspiration from nature, and we love stories, we love movies, and are very inspired by them.
What’s the vision of the future of your brand?
We started with tights and now we have some reversible-print cardigans, and we’re imagining some reversible accessories too. We were thinking about using drawings from interior decorating, blankets, and so on.
Thank you Valérie Moënne for the lovely tour of your dream-like prints. Seeing your collection and hearing about all your inspirations was absolutely stunning! We look forward to the dreamy designs that you will continue to make.
Marie Antoilette’s designs are available on https://www.marieantoilette.net, as well as on instagram at @marieantoiletteofficiel. For more runway photos, check out @vanfashionweek on instagram.