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The Joy of Six: Matthieu Thouvenot

Inspired by Baroque costume, the Fine Art student takes on Fashion as one of Walter Van Beirendonck's new proteges.

As we were talking to designer and head of the Fashion Department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Walter van Beirendonck, for our feature in the September issue of Dazed & Confused, we also asked him about him to highlight six of his promising current or recent students. 23-year-old Matthieu Thouvenot originally studied a fine art course at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, Strasbourg, before entering the academy in Antwerp. His fine art work looked closely at the body, questioning the traces ones actions left behind. It was a natural progression for the young French designer to translate his previous work into fashion design. Inspired by Baroque costume and the apocalypse, Thouvenot wants to create more than simply a collection of clothes with his work. He is looking to create a complete atmosphere that allows the wearer to examine their own past memories, in relation to the pieces he produces.

Dazed Digital: What have you taken from Walter's teaching?

Matthieu Thouvenot: I think I have understood that everything is possible in fashion. It is just a matter of personal involvement.

DD: What has Walter been like on a personal level?
Matthieu Thouvenot: Walter was always very observant and thoughtful of my work. That attention is precious.

DD: Where do you take your inspiration from?
Matthieu Thouvenot:  I'm mostly inspired by memories or dreams.

DD: There an almost gothic edge to your designs.
Matthieu Thouvenot: I am very attracted to religious art and mysticism. I guess there  is a certain darkness about it.

DD: You also seem intrigued by baroque and imperial elements. What is it about those aesthetics that interest you?
Matthieu Thouvenot: Baroque is a fascinating period for the arts. It is highly ambiguous, all about light and shadow, wild and haunted by death.

DD: Which other designers are you intrigued by?
Matthieu Thouvenot: I really like the early works of Saint Laurent for Dior, the freshness and attitude of it. I also highly appreciate the structuralism of Karl Lagerfeld's design.

DD: Do you have a type of person in mind when you are designing and if so what are they like?
Matthieu Thouvenot: I like to play with stereotypes, the "bourgeoise" in my BA collection or the court costumes in my latest collection.

DD: What are your ambitions for the future?
Matthieu Thouvenot: I would like of course to keep designing, my interest going mostly for luxury and couture. It is not a matter of prestige, but a deep interest in crafts and traditions.

Check out the rest of our series in Walter van Beirendonck's The Joy of Six