3 questions for... Gauthier Borsarello
Gauthier Borsarello was raised to respect beauty, which undoubtedly influenced his future choices. In this family of six children, the offspring followed the example of their father, a musician, and that’s how Gauthier became a double bass player. But life in an orchestra, didn’t suit him. He decided to change his career and get training in the auction profession. Here again the paternal influence is evident; his father collected 18th century French furniture and passed on in-depth knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject to his son. But here again he felt that this wasn’t exactly his path. Gauthier deep inside he knew that he should focus on fashion or, more exactly, vintage military attire. He had inherited this passion from his grandfather, one of the leading camouflage specialists. Hired as a vintage specialist for the Ralph Lauren’s brand at Saint-Germain des Prés boutique, he droped
everything to focus on sales, took regular trips to hunt down the best pieces for the brand, and built an impressive network. But, for this hyperactive enthusiast, it was again time to move on to something else. So he opened a space in Paris to present his vintage collection to professionals and designers and to inspire them. This original project quickly gained a following in the industry and his career took off. Franck Durand of Holiday contacted him about developing a collection and labels hired him as a consultant. Next he opened a showroom on rue Parent de Rosan, underneath the Holiday boutique. We spoke with a man for whom clothing has real meaning.
In an interview you said that clothing carries a message, that it must be worn with awareness.
Is today’s fashion inseparable from a kind of ethics as well as a kind of philosophy?
I think right now there are two kind of fashion. There’s a frantic fashion that frightens me tremendously. And then there’s another one that I defend. It’s more long lasting; it consists of consuming little and well. It’s this one, in fact, that often attracts the industry’s top professionals. It particularly involves choosing good vintage pieces and mixing them with other items – with well made basics like you can find at Uniglo and, of course, with artisanal designs. There’s too much clothing on the Earth, too many products manufactured in poor conditions that don’t take into account our planet’s resources and limits. We have to change our attitudes. Choosing vintage, pieces that have been worn but are quality since they’ve lasted, is also saying stop to this over-consumption and showing it. I’d like to succeed in making vintage available to everyone, letting the greatest number of people wear this message and prove that you can have style without buying so much so often. People also need to understand that a wardrobe should last. But I’m not someone who looks backwards. I’m also very interested in initiatives focused on manufacturing clothing correctly and offering services to maintain it, not throw it away. This is what Patagonia does. The brand chooses the best factories in the world for its production and then offers repair services so there’s no need to buy new products. That’s a real example.
You started L’Etiquette magazine. Why? What is the message you wanted to convey?
I have a friend who calls me the Jean-Pierre Coffe of fashion because I can’t stand poor quality clothes. I think that if a product is good, you can do what you want with it, there are no style rules. But this message can only be understood if you’re interested in fashion and especially in clothing and its culture: how was it made, its story, its role, etc. That’s what I want to communicate with L’Etiquette. It’s important to explain to a wide audience that getting dressed is not trivial. With this magazine we’re a far cry from a trends-based approach. Marc Beaugé, who directs it with me, is obviously on the same wavelength. In the beginning, the project was totally punk; we didn’t have the money to start it. The So Press media group agreed to work with us and took on the financial risk. Feedback after the first issue was very positive and we have several exciting contacts for the second issue. With this magazine I hope I can spark a revolution in men’s fashion – a little like what happened in the world of gastronomy – and ignite awareness about clothing’s impact on society and the environment.
You’re an Artistic Director and Store Manager as well as the Editor-in-Chief and Style Director for Holiday. Is combining several jobs a trend in the fashion industry? How much can one person do?
In fashion we often give too much importance to people without real skills. And yet, in this sector savoir-faire is central. It’s acquired by going to factories, by exploring and seeking … there’s nothing gimmicky about it. To last you have to experiment and educate yourself. That’s why you must never stop learning. Multiple jobs are useful for just that: getting experience. So you can become an Artistic Director worthy of the name, meaning a 50-year-old professional with years of experience who has amassed knowledge and can handle interior design as well as fashion. In fact, I don’t define myself as an Artistic Director, but rather a Menswear Creative Director because I still have a lot to learn.