A Michel Reybier Hospitality edition

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Loïc Prigent

Larger than life


From Libération to Canal+, to social media, he (un)dresses fashion and tailors it to suit screens. Such is the credo of journalist, documentalist and fi lmmaker Loïc Prigent. Even as a child, he recounts that “the family patriarchs, farmers by trade, were stylish fi gures”. From the fi elds of his native Brittany to the catwalks of the greatest fashion shows, Loïc Prigent has spun his web by cultivating a natural image that has won over the fashion circus and treats us here to a no-fi lter interview.

Fashion, in the broadest sense of the word, has become France’s leading industry, ahead of aeronautics and the automobile industry. Despite its weight in the economy and the jobs it generates, why do some people continue to hammer home their attitude of anti-fashion snobbery in an attempt to discredit the sector?
Fashion suffers from being fashion! All its qualities are its fl aws! Fashion is fashion only if it is elitist, classist and exclusivist – all of which makes gaining appreciation a tall order! It’s hard to pity it when it struts its stuff so boldly anyway!

Doesn’t this hyper-codifi ed microcosm, this extreme connection to another reality scare you?
It totally terrifies me – yet that’s part of the astonishment I feel and the interest I take in it. To be honest, the “extreme connection to another reality” that you mention is the only thing in which I’m actually interested. The ability to invent, to reinvent, to improve and refi ne, the creativity, the spark of renewal: these are things that fascinate me.

You have been sharing the funniest, spiciest and most irreverent gems from the fashion world for several years now. All of them have been gleaned on the fl y behind the scenes at fashion shows, in the corridors of fashion houses, in big communication agencies. What are the most iconic ones?
To cite just a few, they include comments that could be translated as: “Visiting the Flore Café gives her the impression of doing some reading.” “You think I’m off the mark but you’re not the one defi ning where the mark is.” “It’s not beige, it’s steam.” “It’s not blue, it’s peacock”, or as said directly in English “She’s the president of beautiful people”.

One such quote is featured on one of your books: J’adore la mode mais c’est tout ce que je déteste.(I love fashion but it’s everything I hate). Does this title highlight a paradoxical feeling you have about fashion?
I am not the author of this sentence, but its paradoxical side struck me and appealed to me. I totally understand this expression of the distance required to actually love something properly!

Instagram is your new playground. This app-turned-medium exercises undeniable visual power in the creative and luxury world to the point where it has even relegated the printed press to second place. What is your analysis of this phenomenon and of this lingering ambivalence that troubles the sector: infl uencers versus fashion journalists?
Instagram has changed even the attitude of those in the front row, who would previously never have been seen dead whipping out a camera or worse still a phone during a fashion show. Front-row attitudes had never shifted since the invention of the front row, so this new trend is remarkable. Social media is a visual addiction and its emergence has changed the way clothes and contemporary art are sold, as well as affecting tourist spots, museums, etc.

There is a currently a vogue for fashion TV shows. You were the trailblazer: would you say image has been transformed into a type of cultural emphasis?
Fashion shows are being circulated on social media, often without explanation and featuring excessive special effects as well as amazing locations. Fashion is widely seen yet not really analyzed and one often gets the impression of attending a very beautiful soccer match of which one knows neither the rules nor the players… Hence the value of documentaries or shows or videos that unpack all this, explain the rules and identify the players!

“Nature” is the theme of this issue. What place does it have in fashion? Would you say that sustainable fashion is a utopia or are we progressively moving towards greater awareness regarding the impact of environmental issues?
Fashion is the most polluting industry; it has realized this and is starting to implement the necessary changes. We who consume it can also change our attitudes, doubtless by buying less, but also by washing clothes differently, without doing a whole laundry cycle for just one shirt and by using washing products that are less damaging to Nature.

Let’s adopt a prospective approach and travel into the future. What does Loïc Prigent expect fashions and its codes will look like in 2050?
It will correspond exactly to the revival of 2021, so don’t throw anything away! And everything will be pink.

Based on an interview by
Photo © T. de Preester

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