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Li Edelkoort on the opening of her art gallery in Paris

By Sharon Camara


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Lidewij Edelkoort presented her new art gallery to the industry on Thursday 18 January at 30 Boulevard de Saint Jacques in Paris. The inaugurating exhibition in the new gallery, named "The Gift To Be Simple”, highlighted five young designers developing in the area between the vintage and the modern. Although the concept is new, the address itself has become unavoidable for several years - it is in fact the venue which houses the fashion agency that Lidewij Edelkoort founded in 1975.

Over the years, Edelkoort has established herself as a fashion and trend forecaster. She is one of the most influential people in fashion, according to Time Magazine. In honour of the inauguration of her design and art gallery, FashionUnited asked her a number of questions concerning the state of fashion and current trends.

How did the idea for this art gallery come about?

I already had a painting studio in the 1980s situated very close to the premises of Colette, which did not yet exist. Rue Saint Honoré was undeveloped at the time. I set up this painting gallery in my apartment over several years. It was very popular and very successful; a lot of people came to it. The previews were real parties. After I was forced to move, I dedicated my life to many other things. For a long time I told myself that this place (30 Boulevard de Saint Jacques,) would be fantastic for design and, since there are lots of design exhibitions elsewhere, why not do that here also and why not do something entertaining in Paris and bring something back into the cultural life of Paris.

How do you choose the exhibitors?

By impulse, my knowledge, the trends. Clearly my eye is honed by trends, and I always come across things in the search for new ideas. There will be a little of everything, textiles, design, fashion, there are even toys and vintage things. But it will still be different, there are no rules. We are not going to push you in just one direction; we will be open in our choices. Clearly I will prmote young talent as that is part of my work. When my eye discovers a young talent, it always works and is therefore a good springboard for their careers. There will not be only exhibitions; we want to have meetings and discussions, and this place will allow us to progress together.

You live and work in Paris. What does the city mean to you?

I have lived in Paris since I was 25 years old, and have therefore spent the greater part of my life here. I feel Parisian, not of old lineage, but still Parisian. Paris is my town. I love the beauty of the city, I love the fact that there is a lot of art; I love the size of Paris; you can be anonymous here. I come from a small country, the Netherlands, where it is easy to know everyone. Here, things are more discreet. I particularly like the fact that France does not take rapid strides into novelty; there is a sense of traditions here which rescues us from the folly of modernity.

What is your opinion about current fashion?

It’s a long argument. It is still about clothing; there has still not been any change and I don’t think there will be any for the time being. I think that we are in the status quo; people are looking for something. There are lots of signs that indicate that a new way will be found. Here in Paris, there are loads of new initiatives that are very promising. But more time is needed before that can become an actual reality. That is why we are organising the “Anti-Fashion” meetings in Marseille over three days at the beginning of June. People can come free of charge; we will listen to the views of these people who are working to change things.

As an influential woman, what are your thoughts about the rise of feminism and the hashtags #metoo, #balancetonporc that are currently making the news?

I predicted all that two or three years ago. When I saw thousands of women in the street, I was once again surprised by the force of trends and the intuition that allowed me to predict it. It is a necessary movement. It is the start of a reassessment. I think that women’s very way of seeing things needs to be examined; they need to be freed from the inside, from their paternalistic links, of all the models that no longer function in today’s society. I think that there are other ways to live together as a society, and we really need to move the debate along.

You dedicate the trends, you are an influencer, but what inspires you?

It can come from everything and anything. There is no specific area of research or key moments. It could be a word, a feeling, a person… But it is true that inspiration very often comes to me through words. One word has an effect on me and I feel a suggestion for the way forward, so I begin to carry out research in that area. I am guided by intuition, and I simply follow it. I think that in a way I was chosen for this profession.

This article was previously published on fashionunited.fr

Photo : Edelkoort.com, FashionUnited

Lidewij Edelkoort