Christian L’Enfant Roi is without a doubt our favorite new designer of conceptual menswear to come out in 2010. One of Montreal’s most influential dressers, his eclectic debut collection is all about men playing dress up: a very retro concept executed tastefully with contemporary shapes. We sat down with this young visionary who has a sharp tongue and a whole lot to say about fashion.
5 favorite styles from your look book and why?
The organza look (1/21) has to be the most sophisticated style I have. so that’s a definite winner.
I love the boat-print cotton onesy (9/21) ! I wasn’t sure how it would translate in real life. But once the model put it on, I knew I created a smashing look!
The YSL inspired grey tweed power suit with felt epaulets (8/21) does what it has to do, and very effectively. I think any young man would look like a million dollars… and I’d want to ask him out on a date. So check!
The recycled patchwork knits (4,13/21) are a must. I think since the show I have had more orders on these pieces then expected. Everyone loves a comfy crop knit!
As for a “passe-partout” item, the beaded vest (10/21). I made those beads myself. Filling each one with mix fabric… It took me forever and I think the end result is fascinating and could be worn over any drab attire to bring it up a few notches.
You live in Montreal. Where do you seek inspiration?
I could answer: Mile-End hipster bars and after-parties, or the beauty of the Old Port. But what inspires me more is the lifestyle here. Rent is cheap and there is an energy here that is hard to pine-point. Montrealers are a strange breed. They are so savvy about making “kits” that draw your attention. And without the resources, loaded wallets and designer stores that most other metropolis have access to. The kids here are “too cool for school” and arrogance always inspires me. We get bored fast, so trends die hard, and that keeps me on my toes. Not to mention the weather. I love winter! -35C no problem. Just layer your cashmere and skins kids! Oh it’s easy to be fashion forward in mild climate. But trust me; You haven’t been fashionable until you hit the mark in the freezing cold!
Do you have a muse?
Despite the fact I make menswear, my muse is my best friend and collaborator Alexandra. She has such a different approach to fashion. A kind of Marc Jacobs anti-styling “ugly” look I wish I could pull off. She can be elegant and grungy at the same time. She is always sophisticated and isn’t afraid of color like most fashionistas ( or the Blacks as I like to call them). I sometimes find her ideas a little quirky and I am not shy to tell her, but she definitely gets me thinking outside the ridged menswear box.
Christian L’Enfant Roi is a great name. Define contemporary royalty as it relates to fashion.
The name is just plain arrogant, it evokes imagery in so many different ways.
The fact is I am an “enfant roi.” And the boys wearing my clothes most likely are too. Everyone in our generation, whether they verbalize it or not, believe they should and will be treated as royalty. They will get what they want when they want it. Fashion plays a major part, in the sense that it’s just one other thing we will get our hands on, manipulate and boss around.
Lots of head pieces. Do you think they are making a comeback?
Head pieces MUST make a comeback. I wonder where all the hatters have gone? There was a time where hats were part of the essential wardrobe, allowing you to chameleonise your looks. Today turbans or head-wraps have become religious symbols and hats but a relic of our grandfathers style or some tacky fedora kids on Crescent Street. Thinking it gives them a gangster look. A more forward-thinking approach should naturally bring us to the derby, turban or even a fez.
Where do you want to take your career? What is the next step for you?
I want to end up in a place in my career where everything is possible. Any concept i come up with, anybody i want to work with, everything is at my disposition. I believe in working as a team. I would like to bring my present collaborates (TRUSSTclub, Aries&Leander…) with me in this journey and meet new ones along the way. The next step is F/W2012. Fashion eats its young. We all know that, so we have no choice but to dine down with the best of them.
If you could have one man wearing your clothes (dead or alive), who would it be?
I have to admit, Jacque de Bascher would be the first name to come to mind. Minus all the ugly press he got after the YSL love affair.
How do you live FAST?
I’m an “enfant roi,” my attention span is next to none. what was the question again?
Fashion talk: what’s your style? favorite designer or trend?
I don’t have a style really; I have an aesthetic vision, a point of view. I am not one of these “I’m so marginal, you can’t put your finger on it” either. So… hmh… somewhere in between I imagine. I was once told I was a chameleon, and one of Montreal’s most influential dresser… does that count? My favorite designer is Yves Saint Laurent by far! Stephano is doing a wonderful job keeping up with a legend, and I hope he calls me up one day. I can also say Poiret, or Alexander McQueen… but in the end the only designer I would want to have a drink with, and want to pick his brain for more then one season is Yves.
Art talk: what inspires you? Favorite artist or piece of art.
A definite constant is most things Art Deco or Art Nouveau… but I can tell you right now I have a total boner for Attila Richard Lukacs Polaroids. And a friend of mine got me into Hernan Bas… but all this will change next season.
Sex talk: what gets you off? Literally or figuratively.
I like real boys, not too too trendy or skinny or high-maintenance. As for look, he just has to have a style. I don’t care which one it is… but i don’t like half-ass things. You either do it, or you don’t. And that’s why unlike most gay men I am not attracted to straight men.
Travel talk: favorite destination(s) or stories you want to share
I dream of Russia, Bulgary, anything Scandinavian… We just got back from Chicago… it was Halloween and people there thought we were in costume. I got sick of telling them these were my real clothes, so just went with it.
photo for lookbook: Mathieu Fortin
model for lookbook: Philippe Durocher-McBreary
photos for campaign: Mackenzie Duncan
art direction for all: TRUSST