Arthur Arbesser and Emilie Fouilloux

by Tamu McPherson

Meet Arthur Arbesser & Emilie Fouilloux

For this week’s Pretty Birds profile we introduce two new and dear friends, fashion designer Arthur Arbesser and ballet dancer and accessories designer Emilie Fouilloux. We met Arthur last September at Vogue’s Who’s on Next presentation during fashion week. It was instant love as the handsome and charming designer wowed us with his brilliant SS14 collection. We’ve been trying to profile him ever since and found the perfect opportunity when we met gorgeous Emilie at a Roger Vivier lunch two months ago. We knew that she would look amazing in Arthur’s clothes (she wears looks from his FW14 collection throughout the shoot) and had a feeling that the pair would hit it off right away. Our guess turned out to be accurate as they connected instantly – have a look at the pictures in the gallery, you’d think that they’ve known each other for years and not for only two hours. But they totally got to know each other during the shoot. They were asking one another a ton of questions, making the cutest jokes,  and at a certain point we realized that we should just record their conversation as it unfolded and turn it into the below interview. We learned so much about them from just listening to them talk and we think you will to. So please enjoy getting to know the designer and the dancer. Xx, Tamu

Emilie Fouilloux asks Arthur Arbesser:

EF – AA: What was your inspiration for your Fall Winter 2014 collection?
AA: By now I sort of established for myself a base of constant inspiration coming from architecture & design… The clean lines of Milan’s 20/30s architecture and the strong graphics of Memphis design for example. But this time I wanted to inject some of the energy of my London-student-days… So I took lots of inspiration from my obsession with the band Joy Division and London’s street culture.

EF – AA: How did you feel just before your Altaroma runway show this past January?
AA: Excited and fortunate. I don’t know… Maybe a tiny bit similar like before you get on stage? You put your heart out on a plate… Your work will be judged… And when you afterwards realize people appreciated what you did its pure magic.

EF – AA: How do you select your fabrics and materials?
AA: My shapes are super clean and pretty straight forward so I really want to focus on great, unexpected and unusual materials. I love selecting fabric… By touching them the head starts dreaming and designing already… Which is one of the nicest moments of the design process.

EF – AA: How many seasons have you been designing your collection?
AA This Fall winter 14 collection is my third season… It’s all in the beginning still but luckily I feel a great energy around my project… So I’m looking positive into the future 🙂

EF – AA: I heard that you worked for Giorgio Armani, how long did you work there? What was it like?
AA: I started to work at Armani straight out of London’s St.Martins College… So it was a completely different world, but I started to love it and stayed for over 7 years. It was the best school! I learned so much and the opportunity to work with a true maestro… A living legend… Was amazing!

EF – AA: Why did you leave leave and what did you do after?
AA: After I turned 30 I knew I had to do something… It was like a now or never moment. It was a very hard decision to leave all this security and great “family” behind, but I knew I had to try to finally realize the dream I had locked up in my head for years. A few months later I presented my first collection and with my second collection I won Vogue Italia & Altaroma’s Who is on Next competition… And all took off from there in a very nice way.

EF – AA: When did you realize that you wanted to become a fashion designer?
AA: I actually wanted to become an opera singer when I was a child… I was a real opera nerd (I guess I’m still :-)) so being from Vienna made that easy. I was constantly buying cheap standing tickets at the opera, but soon I realized I actually can’t sing:-) … So I understood it’s the drama, the costumes and the goosebumps that drive me… The logical next step was to become a fashion designer hahaha… So since I’m 12 years old, my future was set in stone !

EF – AA: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
AA: Simply too many amazing ones are out there to just mention one… Right know I just have enormous respect for any designer that stays true to his own personal vision but also manages a business successfully.

EF – AA: Who is your favorite architect?
AA: A mix of Adolf Loos, Piero Portaluppi, Oscar Niemeyer , Giò Ponti and Ettore Sottsass… And some more actually.

EF – AA: Who is your favorite choreographer?
AA: Maybe Maurice Bejart or Pina Bausch? But I’m not an expert of ballet… Just an admirer.

EF – AA: What is your favorite ballet?
AA: Bejart’s Bolero.

EF – AA: Who is your favorite ballet dancer?
AA: Maya Plisetskaya and obviously Michail Baryshnikov.

EF – AA: Who is your favorite composer?
AA: I guess its Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.

EF – AA: What is your favorite opera?
AA: Elektra, Lohengrin and Salome.

EF – AA: Who is your favorite opera singer?
AA: Gundula Janowitz… A Soprano, now retired, who was discovered by the conductor Herbert von Karajan in the 60s. Her voice is so clear with a silvery quality… Unique and magical (sorry very nerdy). I was lucky to still hear her in the 80s and get to know her… She is an amazing woman too! I’m just always so impressed if someone with a natural gift is able to train it to perfection… Like Emilie and her dancing… I find it extremely inspirational and I have endless respect for all this discipline!!!

Arthur Arbesser Asks Emilie Fouilloux:

AA- EF: Do you still dance?
EF: Not like I used to, but every morning I start my day with an hour of exercise. Girotonic, yoga or ballet class.

AA – EF: How did you feel right before going on stage?
EF: Before going on stage I felt very happy, it was finally the exciting moment to wear the beautiful costumes and make up and perform after months of rehearsal. Going on stage makes you forget about all the difficult moments you had in the studio.

AA – EF: You started dancing at 8-years-old, is it something that your parents wanted you to do?
EF: Actually, I knew I wanted to be a ballerina from a very young age, and my parents supported me and my dream. I wanted my passion to be my life.

AA – EF: What was it like, starting out?
EF: It was not what I was expecting. When I entered the Paris School of Opera Ballet, it was not a joke anymore. We slept at the school, we had very structured days, and we had to work so much on modeling our body and mastering the technique. It was strange having ballet class all day until 7pm or even more, at just 9 years old. After every year we had an exam and only the best stayed. I have to say it was very hard and nobody was there for you when you were having doubts. They were 7 long years.

AA – EF: I heard that you travelled a lot as a dancer, which companies have you danced with?
EF: I traveled around the world from a very young age, I remember going to Tokyo for the first time when I was 9 to perform with the school. It was so incredible. I had the privilege to work as a professional ballerina with the Paris Opera Ballet, the Miami City Ballet and the Teatro alla Scala, three different companies, with different programs, and different places to perform .

AA – EF: Why did you decide to retire?
EF: After 20 years of dancing I wanted to start something new, I was curious to start a new life. But I have to say I miss it so much.

AA – EF: You’re also a DJ, how did you decide to get into that?
EF: I always liked to share music with my friends and family. I had friends working as DJs and I started to study with them. I really liked it and started to get some really cool jobs. And that’s how I got started.

AA – EF: What projects are you working on now?
EF: I just started my other dream, I created a line of accessories, mirrors. I m so proud of it. The brand is called Madem Paris and it’s coming out very soon .

AA – EF: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
EF: Yves Saint Laurent when it was Yves Saint Laurent, but now this new brand called Redemption Choppers – I feel very elegant when I wear their dresses.

AA – EF: Who is your favorite architect?
EF: Giò Ponti, and from the renaissance Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo Da Vinci.

AA – EF: Who is your favorite choreographer?
EF: George Balanchine, he was a modernist choreographer, I always felt very beautiful dancing his ballets, and of course Jerome Robbins, Pina Bausch and Jiří Kylián.

AA – EF: What is your favorite ballet?
EF: Bella Figura by Jiří Kylián.

AA – EF: Who is your favorite ballet dancer?
EF: Sylvie Guillem she s the most exciting dancer in the world .

AA – EF: Who is your favorite composer?
EF: Igor Stravinsky , it was always so interesting for me to dance on his music , and i just loved the rhythm of his melody .

AA – EF: What is your favorite opera?
EF: Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini forever and ever.

AA – EF: Who is your favorite opera singer?
EF: I don’t think I have one, I’m just always so amazed of how a beautiful and powerful voice can come out of human being. I have a lot of admiration for opera singers.

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