The Fashion Folk S01 ep15 : Andree Putman, Putman Fashion, [Paris]
Interview with Andree Putman
Real talent is a mix. It has very much to do with who they are inside. Do they have a very strong nature. Can they take a terrible risk, can they take a terrible failure. Can they accept that the major lady on earth who may be the one who writes in Herald Tribune decides your collection is very poor, and what happens in your house because you did not make it that time. Can you live without a lot of money? Can you wait for things to come to you? Can you be patient? Not selling your name partly or completely. It is as important as talent.
I was a rebellious child and everything started like this. I was born in that
arrondisement called the 6, which is St German de Pre.
The first people I saw when I was deciding to have a coffee in the morning were
Giacometti, Picasso, Jean Paul Sarte, Simone de Bouverie - these people are
there every single day.
KD – And you are there having coffee there?
KD – What were these people really like as people?
They were different. People of that scale of talent are not acting normally. They
are strange faces often; they have a peculiar way of addressing other people.
Some are spoilt because they are already so famous that they have to protect
themselves, they have to act so that everyone is not going to try and have coffee
It is simple but that is the way people react when they are absolutely in the
assault of a crowd - they suffer, they physically suffer its too much, it too much
You always hear long, long after these people become famous how many of them
destroyed enormous parts of their work - by conviction it was not good enough to
It is the opposite of that stupid, self-satisfaction that is killing so many people.
Some have talent but they are quickly satisfied with their idea about themselves.
Someone said nice things about me to a very, very interesting person of the time
who was working for a company where the things you could buy in their shops
were the cheapest in the country.
We had to find exciting gifts for almost no money. So I was the most dangerous
woman who installs snobbism in "Prisunic".
And what happened of course, because in sociology everything is so strange and
fragile, was that the bourgeois would rush into Prisunic because what they found
there was so funny, and so charming and so cheap it became a snobbism and
that is how it ended.
KD – When did your relationship start with the luxury people? Like the Lagerfeld's
and like these sorts of people.
Lagerfeld I met in 1968 at a show and he talked to me, which is not very common
at an exhibition, because it was at the Art Decoratif, and he asked me 'Do you
always dress like this?"
I was a bit surprised and I invited him for dinner. I liked him enormously.
[So I went from] The magazine [where I was the messenger or courier] the
Messenger, to the Stylist [Prisunic], to fashion.
I was very involved for 2 years in a company called Creator and Industrial. This
man asked me to be like the art director of a new venture where we would
federate [bring together] designers and industrialists, very powerful ones: because
our theory was that if you can design a dress you could probably design eyewear
At the time it was really very bizarre, very bizarre and now sometimes I see
people who met me in the 70's and who say, "We thought all that was completely
crazy and it was going to end very sadly" - and it did.
We were giving these people much, too much money; we did not have enough
power to make them known so quickly. So their names were Castelbajac, Theirry
Mugler, Issey Miyake… All these people.
KD – What were the 80's like for you because this was a crazy time?
Materials I used were so new and strange for most people that people were
interested to know more about what I was doing. I was intriguing people. Then my
friend, the one I did Creator and Industrial invited me to do the St Laurent stores
in America and I started to know a lot of interesting people in N.Y
My name was given to this young man who had been the owner of Studio 54 and;
the first thing they did when they went out of jail was to call me and to ask me to
do a hotel for them.
They said to me, "The scene is not going to be night clubs any more, the scene is
going to happen in hotels".
Morgans was absolutely the first, like my office in Paris was absolutely the first to
look precious and poor, detailed and empty, breaking all the rules, not being the
prisoner of any of these commercial ideas about concept, luxury etc.
And instead of having a charming room, I decided to use Mapplethorpe
photographs for the wall and I would have all shades of beige, grey's and off
I was dreaming, I was in a state of excitement, I believe I was going to do
something very, very new and sometimes you dream and nothing of what you
dream happens and in my case everything happened starting with Morgan's.
This idea of fashion victim is very American. You know why? Exactly the eternal
same reason it is because they follow a recipe.
This is never a good way to have "Style", because there is no recipe and this is
exactly why it is so precious.
You said something, which is the key of the conversation. Either you are at ease
and you can have style just by your self, or you are terrified by the "fault de
KD – Which is?
It’s the mistake that makes you look awful and stupid.
KD – Do you consider yourself an artist or a designer? Honestly.
Neither! I think I am an adventurer. I am someone who wants to change things.
Who arrives with some freedom and some imagination about images I want to
KD – How do you know that people have the spirit that is enough to do more, to
You know it is a mix. It has very much to do with who they are inside. Do they
have a very strong nature? Can they take a terrible risk; can they take a terrible
failure? Can they accept that the major lady on earth who may be the one who
writes in Herald Tribune decides your collection is very poor? And what happens
in your house because you did not make it that time. How can you take all these
shocks, how can you live without a lot of money, how can you wait for things to
come to you. Not be too impatient not selling your name partly or not completely.
It is as important as talent.
I like to make surprises. I like to introduce in my work things you never see at first
glance when you come in. It is so quiet; it is so empty, sometimes.
It is so peaceful and subtle, I hope that you don't see.
A writer said that to me. She said to me, "I am in your room since a few days. I
don't know anything about your work.
I am a writer, I am finishing my book and it took me four days to discover that
every pillow design, in the sense of pattern, was different. It took me a week to
understand the pattern on the rug because it is almost unseen, and you discover
things little by little".
And you know its ideal to hear that for me. Because it has a lot to do with that
very careful work where I like not to create any shock or any unbelievable grand
decision that makes the room fragile and probably that makes the room easy to
date very quickly.
KD – Would you do a hamburger restaurant?
Of course! I have no limits. You know, I did as you noticed, I did the Concorde but
now I am working for Bazaar de Hotel de Ville, which is a department store that
sells bits and pieces for do it yourself, and things like this that are intensely
practical and not expensive.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Andree Putman, Putman Fashion, Paris