Changing Rooms

Cedric Charlier: at home in the grand house of Cacharel

Text by Caroline Issa

Photography by Andrew Woffinden

Styling by Chloe Kerman

When Cedric Charlier showed his first collection for Cacharel in 2009, the consensus at Paris fashion week was that a breath of fresh air had passed through the once loyally Liberty-print, flower-power brand. Since then, his collections have been gaining commercial and critical momentum, and spring/summer 2011 was an explosion of acid-bright colours and paint-splattered prints that struck a chord with editors and retailers alike.

“I tend to work with a word that inspires each collection – spring 2011 was based around ‘euphoria’ – but I was also inspired by [the painter and bassist of Sonic Youth] Kim Gordon,who I find so strong and poetic, and I wanted to mirror some of the poetry I found in her, Charlier says. “At the root of it, Cacharel is a story about colours and prints – I’m not trying to work with the old rulebook or follow a manual. For me, curiosity is my guide. I’m inspired by art, theatre, music, exhibitions – inspiration can come from anything and everything – and I may not even realise I’ve been influenced. It’s the conscious and the unconscious.

After six years as Alber Elbaz’s first assistant, and a season at Givenchy, Charlier started to discuss taking over Cacharel’s creative reins with its founder Jean Bousquets. “He gave me carte blanche, which made it exciting, and an opportunity to create new codes for the house, Charlier explains. “I wanted to develop clothes with a nonchalant allure and a positive vision that would push the house forward. For me, the brand should represent a positive spirit, something poetic, romantic, with a dose of humour.

“I don’t believe that I’m designing for a specific Cacharel woman per se, but instead I think of Cacharel moments. It’s never been a dictating fashion brand–instead, we should be more like a woman’s best friend, not pretentious but with an ease to it, so that we dress a woman for those amazing moments in her life. I’m hoping to create something at Cacharel that is positive, and that we create the right product at the right time – not too early, not too late, not too conceptual, but perfect for its time. Wearing our clothes should make women feel happy, feel good about their bodies and enhance their power.” §

Tank _vol 7issue 175

Tank _vol 7issue 176

Tank _vol 7issue 177

All clothes and shoes by Cacharel

Hair: Claire Rothstein at See Management using Shu Uemura / Make-up: Annabel Callum at using Yves Saint Laurent / Styling assistant: Lara Carter / Model: Renee at Union