Bernard Depoorter stages a thrilling show in Paris!22/06/2017

Bernard Depoorter presented his 2017-2018 Autumn / Winter collection at the Belgian Ambassador’s Residence in Paris on Tuesday 20 June. Under a blazing sun, over 300 guests made their way up the red carpet. We were there to report back!

An exceptional show, among exceptional surroundings

We are received by His Excellency Monsieur Vincent Mertens De Wilmars, the Belgian Ambassador to Paris and his wife, Her Excellency Madame Marie-Joëlle Mertens De Wilmars. We enter the square courtyard of the residence where dozens of people are applying the finishing touches before the guests arrive. 

Pass through the great doors, and climb a few steps which lead us to a series of connecting rooms. It is in these rooms that the guests will take their places at 3.30 pm to watch Bernard Depoorter’s 2017-2018 Autumn / Winter show.

We meet Bernard, originally from Wavre, in the gardens at the back of the residence. He is an easygoing, open, and profoundly likeable young man. In his voice, there is no trace of stress, just a few hours before the event.

He tells us: “For this collection, I worked night and day, from October to April. With this show, I wanted to demonstrate my craft. The idea was to introduce Parisians to a Belgian “art de vivre” [way of life].  It is an intimate show, like those which used to take place in the 50s and 60s. The models smile. They have a close relationship with the audience".

In this way, he clearly sets out his aims. Bernard Depoorter wants to develop his practice in Paris, and throughout Europe. “Today’s show is a little like presenting my CV. I’m testing the waters, seeing how it goes down. I’d love, some day, to work for a major clothing designer, to put my creative energies at the service of a prestigious brand".

In his "Côté Cour" and "Côté Jardin” collections, Bernard Depoorter presents the archetypal Parisian woman, inspired by the chilling beauty of Hitchcock’s female leads such as Grace Kelly, Kim Novak or Tippi Hedren. These powerful women, with their timeless poise and undeniable charisma are an endless source of inspiration for the designer, who finds in them a sense of freedom.

A little before 3 pm, a final rehearsal starts, for the ten models, make-up artists and dressers. You can feel the tension building in the huge staircase where the models are waiting to go on.

It’s 3.30 pm. The 300 prestigious guests, from the world of finance, but also actors or singers, flock to the red carpet. We notice the arrival of Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne de Bourbon-Siciles, a faithful supporter of Bernard for several years, as well as Madame Line Renaud who has sponsored the show and is a close friend of Bernard’s. The cameras flash and close in around these two to get an interview.

It is now 4 pm, and over the course of 20 minutes, the models, each as elegant and beautifully dressed as the last, parade through the rooms of the residence to an electro-hitchcockian soundtrack. “The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Paradine Case, Psycho, Première scène, Stage Fright, North by Northwest, Cendre de lune, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Birds, etc..." are some of the names of the 30 outfits presented as part of the show.

The audience is bowled over by Bernard’s meticulous work. After the show, he greets his guests and thanks the different people who helped make this event such a success with a warm embrace!

Christine Zeller

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