Exclusive Interview: Valentine Gauthier (+ tips on how to be a Parisienne ;)

As a style Ambassador for VILA, I get to see quite some cool stuff before the big audience does and I love sharing that privilege with you guys. This interview was held a little while back, and is all about the collection Valentine designed for VILA's 20th anniversary. You can read it exclusively on my blog, how awesome is that?! Here you go:

Valentine Gauthier is a Paris-based designer. She is French (red-lipped and high-heeled), 34 years old, and lives with her four-year-old son in Le Marais, where she also has her design studio and her concept boutique. 

Was it difficult to work together with a Europe-wide brand like VILA?
No, it was not hard at all. There are many similarities. We both design for feminine young women who actively take part in life, who want to have fun and who want to express themselves through fashion. We both design contemporary fashion, so the match has actually been perfect. 

"I always ask myself: why does this appeal to me? 

I look for the reason"

You are known for high-end materials, whereas VILA provides as much quality as possible within a high-street price range. How did you meet in the middle?
Actually, we did not need to compromise. The materials are the same as those within my own brand’s collection. There will be pieces in a lovely 100% silk material as well as a woollen coat. VILA gave me freedom to decide; they have a great buying department and a good network of suppliers, so customers will actually get higher quality at a lower price. 

What gave you inspiration for the design?
I work all the time. My mind works all the time, and I have ideas all the time. It is an ongoing process. I find inspiration all around me, but mainly within art and architecture. When I see an image or a photograph, some architecture or art, I process it, and it becomes something new. I always ask myself: why does this appeal to me? I look for the reason. I try to find the answer to give me a new form I can use in my designs. So I can’t give you a specific reference for this collection – it is more like a feeling of autumn in the city. 

How do you decide on colours?
I really love working with colours and prints. I want them to stand out and add that extra something to my collections. Prints need to match skin tones, so for this collection I worked with a dark organic print on one hand, and a sparkling flowery one on the other. You can find references to animal print and flowers, but mainly I’d like them to be beautiful, to stand out and to be unique. The colours came naturally. I had a meeting with Ida from VILA where, based on our gut feeling, we decided on what really did inspire us, and also on what felt right both for the customers I know and for VILA’s fans. I wanted the prints and colours to be a bit toned down, subdued, subtle, and to give that autumnal feeling of calm. 

What was difficult about the collection?
It was hard to limit ourselves to 10 pieces. That is not a lot once the ideas start flowing, so it was a challenge. I wanted the collection to be complete, like a wardrobe in itself. Like, for instance, if you buy every single piece of the collection, you will not need anything else this autumn. Working with masculine fabrics and contrasting them with a feminine shape, whilst breaking it all up with prints, makes femininity meet casual in a very elegant way, I think. 

"I think I do know what Parisienne young women want: 

we want to be able to go out at night in the same outfit we went to work in"

Speaking of femininity – how come Paris feels so present in your design?
I think I do know what Parisienne young women want: we want to be able to go out at night in the same outfit we went to work in. We want red lips and high heels in the evening, and I think what you learn about fashion in Paris is that clothes should always be of service to you. They shouldn’t complicate your life, but make it easy and more fun. What you should also know is that the Parisienne is a cultured woman. She knows what is going on in galleries, in literature and in music. We work a lot, and we do not stop working when we have children, so we demand a lot from the fashion we adore. 


  1. great interview, thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks for your comment, Joy! :) x

  2. Very interesting to read! Especially how to get so FRENCHY! ;-)


  3. Loved the whole article, well done!


  4. Thanks, truly appreciate your comment! :) x