One thing I love most about my job is discovering new fashion talents. On a recent trip to Paris, I was introduced to Belgian designer Cedric Charlier. What interests me most about Cedric was not only his unique aesthetic, but his approach to fashion. Unlike many young designers who are intent on creating a “luxury” brand, he has focused on building a contemporary line which is well-priced, but that still offers intelligent design and beautifully crafted clothes.
Since he launched his own eponymous label three seasons ago, Charlier has won plenty of press and praise from editors. And he has all the credentials – he studied at Brussel’s prestigious L’Ecole National Superieure des Arts Visual (otherwise known as La Cambre) where he specialised in men’s wear. In 1998 he won the Moet Hennessy Fashion Award and went on to work as an accessories designer at Celine, followed by Lanvin. He came into the fashion spotlight in 2009 when he became creative director of Cacharel with his playful yet fashion forward collections.
After his contract ended he decided to branch out on his own with support of manufacturing giant Aeffe (which is run by Alberta Ferretti’s husband Massimo) hence why his line is all about beautifully made clothes.
Looks from Cedric’s autumn/winter 2013 collection
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to come back to the body. I wanted sophistication and something chic but for today. Because of that I wanted to create something that was affordable. I am obsessed with cut, it’s my signature. There is a subversive sophistication to my work but I still play with colours and contrast,” says Cedric.
As a result his designs are polished and precise but not overly feminine. Each season he pushes the silhouette further, punctuating it with industrial hardware or unique prints that add colour and surprise. This season his angular silhouettes come with rounded shoulders and asymmetrical details such as draping. Separates feature exposed seams and panelling so that they look as though they are worn inside out. Dresses come with copper zips down the spine or colourful embroideries. The colours are rich and include monastic blue, forest green and black contrasted day glo colours like yellow and fuschia. He also plays with fabrics, experimenting with bonding and lamination. The look is elegant and sophisticated with a subtle futuristic edge.
Coming up, he has plans to develop more accessories (he has done collaborations with Cutler & Gross eyewear and has a small handbag line), while possibly venturing back into men’s wear. He is definitely one to watch and start investing in!