If there’s one thing we know about Olivier Theyskens, it’s that an interview with him is never going to go exactly the way you imagined it. So when we found out that costume designer Milena Canonero had interviewed him for Interview, we rushed over to check it out. In their wide-ranging conversation, the two discussed everything from why Theyskens got into design in the first place (hint: it has to do with his mom — speaking of which, did you remember Mother’s Day is Sunday?), and what designers really want. Our favorite parts of the interview, below:
On getting into fashion:
My mother loved fashion and always had a great aesthetic. But she also considered the cost of it, with the kids, that it wasn’t something to allow herself. It also probably nourished my passion and my will to make fashion, because I’ve always felt that, because of having a big family to take care of, she sacrificed a bit of her femininity. She loved to get dressed and always loved these Parisian perfumes. But there was always a limit, you could tell. I could feel it.
On why New York really is the style capital of the world:
I love to be in New York. And I think anybody who’s a designer, who says they’re doing an urban collection, thinks about the streets of New York. I cannot do an urban collection thinking of Bangkok. [Canonero laughs] Or Mexico. To me, it’s totally instant, totally connected with what attracts me these days. But this resurgence of a modern, cool way of being dressed is something that stimulates me and is totally right for me. Even now I don’t like to show something that is some futuristic utopia.
On what desigers really want — influence:
The aim of being a good designer is to have an influence. If you design furniture or lifestyle, you should influence the way people evolve globally. It’s good to have an influence. I feel like people on the street today probably dress better than they did in the ’50s.
Maybe that’s debatable, but you can read the rest of the interview here.
Olivier Theyskens [Interview]