Why am I still here after 20 years?
This year is my 20th anniversary, since I first picked up a pair of scissors and cut out a square of fabric. I remember it so clearly. Can you believe how time slips away from us. I was supposed to be a butcher in my father’s shop in Lourdes, which would now be mine since he passed away.
So, I am not what I ought to be. Not what my father wanted me to be. I wanted to work in fashion, so I left Lourdes and went to Paris, but you have heard all of this before, it is a part of the story that has become who I am. I was a model, a stylist and a video director, yet it was only when I travelled to London did it occur to me that in fact I wanted to be a designer and to make clothes for women. At this point, I was nearly 36 years old, I was not young even when I started and not trained in fashion design. I was perfectly calm and perfectly insane at the same time. I learned that it is easier for one to take risks and to chase dreams with a mind-set that we have nothing to lose. It takes a lot of courage to share your dreams with others. But I had a chance, seized it, got some lucky breaks, and unlucky break ups. I pretended I knew what I was doing until I really did know what I was doing. I looked at women and trusted their instinct over a man’s reason.
At 36 years old, all I wanted was to be a designer who made clothes that made women feel sexy, elegant and dare I say it, sophisticated. My determination to do this likely comes from something that happened to me in my younger years, or something I witnessed as a child, but now I honestly can’t recall what it might have been, nevertheless I am not the person I used to be.
At the beginning, leading up to my first show in London I gave the impression that the water was calm and I was in command but that was not always true. I was drowning. I worked hard and then, women started buying my clothes and it is not that I was surprised, but I suppose I was a little surprised and also flattered. Both surprised, and flattered, and also thankful. And the truth is that even though I gave something to these women in my designs, I did not always know what they received. And even to this day they surprise me still.
Now my show is back in London where it all began. I call this place my home. More often than not, we all come home sooner or later. I have realised that home is not a place at all, it’s the people you share it with.
When people ask me why I am still here after 20 years, the question is usually the answer. In truth, I am here because I love what I’m doing, because of all the strong women in my life and the women who have made this journey with me, some from the very beginning, (and we have aged together) and others who have discovered my designs along the way. Women around the world have contributed so much into making my journey, that in the end they have made me.