Ambassador Ziegler inaugurates retrospective of Indo-French brand Lecoanet Hemant
H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, inaugurates an exhibition on the remarkable journey of the Indo-French fashion label Lecoanet Hemant, in the presence of its founders, Didier Lecoanet and Hemant Sagar.
New Delhi, 18 March 2017
The inauguration of this retrospective, entitled ‘Paris, New Delhi: From Haute Couture to the Technologies of Elegance’, took place on Saturday, 18th March 2017, at Bikaner House.
Between 70 to 80 creations were on display, some from collections made in Paris (1984-2000), while others from those designed at the Lecoanet Hemant Gurgaon Atelier (2000-2017). The curated collections reflect the transition the label made in 2000 from haute couture to prêt-à-porter, demonstrating how research that goes into developing handmade designs can also be reimagined for crafting exceptional commercial products.
“There is a sense of fashion nostalgia, a celebration of artisanal excellence, an ode to our labour of love that we hope to evoke. We see a promise of a pragmatic future that beholds Indian fashion,” said Hemant Sagar and Didier Lecoanet.
Along with the exhibition, which is on from 19th to 22nd March 2017 (11.00 am to 6.30 pm), a special selection from GENES, the Lecoanet Hemant ready-to-wear label, is also available at the Vayu Store at Bikaner House.
In keeping with the spirit of the restored Bikaner House, which is redolent of a bygone era but holds its own in contemporary times, renowned French musician Ariane Gray Hubert presented Piano Rag/A Time on this occasion.
Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler commented, “I am delighted to inaugurate this Lecoanet Hemant retrospective, which reflects the best of Indo-French design sensibilities, be it couture or prêt-à-porter. Even though their work is deeply rooted in France, the designers aim to emphasise that research and design can be instrumental in placing India on the world fashion map.”
Lecoanet Hemant, drawn from the surnames of Frenchman Didier Lecoanet and Indo-German Hemant Sagar, has been a part of the haute couture establishment in Paris for over three decades. They started their career – just like Yves Saint Laurent, Courrèges, Issey Miyake, Jean-Louis Scherer and many other prominent fashion personalities – on the benches of the “Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne”, the fashion school founded by the Paris Haute Couture Syndicate.
Established as an haute couture house in 1984, Lecoanet-Hemant initially worked from Paris with a flagship store in the heart of the aristocratic Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, (considered the mecca of luxury fashion and haute couture in Paris) and featured on the couture schedule. Being members of the Parisian Haute Couture Syndicate from 1984-2000, Lecoanet Hemant created 33 collections with the ultimate aim of transitioning from artisanal to semi-industrial. The year 2000 marked a transition for the brand as they moved from France to India, and from couture to prêt.
Their Gurgaon atelier houses the design studio and three embroidery, one metallic, and two leather workshops – which produce ready-to-wear pieces that employ couture techniques across the board. The designers aim to emphasise that research and design can be instrumental in placing India on the world fashion map.
The haute couture pieces on display, unfold a story of how in the eighties, collections started becoming a demonstration of art and creative expression, while less and less people actually wore them. At that nascent stage, the brand could not convert their design function from haute couture to artisanal-industrial in the economic context of Paris in the nineties. It was then that the Indo-French designer duo decided to move to India. The idea of this relocation was to set up a semi-industrial manufacturing house that would reimagine age-old craftsmanship for contemporary processes, and this is the story that unravels through all the creations on display at the exhibition.
The designers still prefer the artisanal approach to creating their collections. “Today, India has an even greater promise than at that time, it is a the perfect creative hub for haute couture and also to produce collections that may be ready-to-wear but which employ couture techniques with the aid of sophisticated technical advancements in production. We want to showcase and celebrate the capabilities of India at the exhibition by juxtaposing our Haute Couture pieces together with echoing creations from our India atelier," added Lecoanet and Sagar.
Since 1984, Lecoanet Hemant’s style has been influenced by their extensive travel and by crafts all over the world. They have worked with the porcelain painters of the Royal Prussian Porcelain Manufacture in Berlin, as well as with the Gobelin weavers in Aubusson, France. They partially design and manufacture collections for many prestigious brands, including Gérard Darel, Kenzo, Inès de La Fressange and Pierre Balmain.