The Studio Visit: Boramy Viguier
Meet the definition-defying Boramy Viguier, who after four years learning the ropes at Lanvin, established his own eponymous label in 2017. Creating hyper-modern utility wear with allusions to the ancient and arcane, the designer and his multi-layered work captivated the Browns team when we popped by his Paris based studio.
On his designs…
I couldn’t say what my brand is most known for - I have absolutely no idea and I like it that way. I grew up fascinated by theatre, blockbuster science fiction movies, Japanese animations and big budget video games. My mum is very fond of French comic books and introduced me to Metal Hurlant magazine and the likes of Philippe Druillet and Moebius. Their work has this dark and enigmatic lyricism, it’s something I hope to capture in my designs. When I am working, I select fabrics that I am naturally drawn to without really worrying if they have anything in common or if their juxtaposition makes sense. High-quality nylon with organza, technical Prince of Wales check mixed with workwear cotton and garments made using incongruous materials, such army vests constructed out of floral-print silk. That blending of references gives the piece a sense of surrealism and mysticism, which is what I love. Designers often get told that to find inspiration they have to research stuff that they like, that brings them comfort. I find the opposite to be true though, I look to more ambiguous things: bad memories and real phobias. I like the language of the occult too, not when its used to manipulate or moralise, but from a stylistic perspective when things remain unexplained and seem unreal.
On setting up his own label…
I worked as part of a studio for four years and in setting up my own brand I was responsible for every part of the design process. It’s therapeutic in that I can do whatever I want now and though there is less creative frustration, there is way more anxiety as a whole! I worked with Adulte Adulte on creating my logo, which took a year to get right. I didn’t want the minimal Arial or Helvetica type of font logo, but something almost baroque in a way with a cultish or mystic vibe. I referenced an old cover of Frank Herbert’s Dune, a film poster for Solaris, medieval calligraphy, corporate design from the UAE and megachurch branding.
On his early career…
After leaving school, I got one of my earliest jobs at Galerie Perrotin. Emmanuel, the company’s founder, was the first entrepreneur I had ever met and looking back I realised how much I got from witnessing his work ethic. I saw his capacity for making an idea tangible quickly and learnt how to get project off the ground, which included a Murakami exhibition at the palace of Versailles. I wanted to move into the fashion industry and got a place to study Central Saint Martins, but didn’t stay there long. It had nothing to do with the college, it’s just as soon as I set foot into the building I wanted to get out as quickly as possible and to work. I left university and got a job at Lanvin, which became my school instead and a very good one.
The inspirations in my collections are never too obvious because for me, the research itself is not that valuable, it’s how you manipulate and transform it, where you take it that is valuable. The unique way in which the references are translated into something else is what’s important. After all, everybody can do good research! It is easy to say that you are inspired by geniuses like Fassbinder, Kubrick, Genesis P-Orridge and Philip Glass or cool themes like techno or 90’s raves. It is a far more complicated and strenuous enterprise to find and present your own vision of things and it makes for more interesting results because of it. When you think of Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquière’s work, you obviously see some of the references but the outcome remains quite indescribable. You can’t really categorise it using words and put it under a heading, all of which makes it timeless.
What’s the story behind the appliqué panel on some of this season’s pieces?
The image on the embroidered badges is of a burning house. For me, it’s a strong symbol inducing so many opposing feelings; it could be seen as satanic destruction or emancipation from materialism and the domestic. I like that it’s open to interpretation; if I present my work to ten different people and I get ten different responses to it then I’m happy.
What lessons did Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver (Creative Director of Menswear) teach you?
He taught me the job, from working on toiles to the minutiae of factory efficiency. The biggest idea he left me with though was that even if a design is hard, or the look is very strong, it still has to keep a certain sensuality and a certain kind of romanticism. I am proud to have worked for him.
Your favourite place on Earth?
My office and my kitchen.
What would you like to do that you currently can’t?
Go to a Michelin star restaurant.
If you could ask anyone a question (living or dead), who would it be and what would you ask?
I would ask any dead person, “how are you right now?”
What's the first thing you think when you wake up?
I remember all the problems I have to solve that day.
Creepiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
High school. I didn’t feel like I started living until it was over!
Favourite YouTube video?
Search for ‘12 HOURS Rainstorm & Thunder | Nature White Noise | Rain on Old Wooden Home Ambiance’. It’s what it says on the tin, 12 hours of absolute cosiness.
What are you currently reading?
A book about Napoleon.
Where do you go to relax?
I like environments where you are not quite sure of what your feeling should be, worrisome or excited. The sensation of visiting a cathedral and listening to Gregorian chanting or reading Sleepy Hollow is the same.
Do you have any phobias?
I have so many, I wouldn’t know where to start.
Favourite thing to eat?
Melted cheese and cornichons.
What can’t you live without?
Melted cheese and cornichons.
What's your lucky number?
I don’t have one, I am surprisingly not superstitious despite what my interests would lead you to believe.
What’s your favourite piece of science fiction?
Hard to say, but some of my favourites are L’incal, Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Scanner Darkly.
What would your last meal be?
Melted cheese and cornichons with red wine and profiteroles for dessert.
Describe yourself in three words…
I don’t think I can do it.
How would your friends describe you in three words?
Now that is something I really don’t want to know!
Who do you most admire?
I really like Godfrey Reggio, but then I admire anybody that helps others understand better our shared environment, the human condition and our complex natures.
What would you most like to change about the world?
The best advice you've ever been given?
Do what you can.
Interview by Ross Aston