Isabel Marant, the French designer who conquered the world haute couture scene by mixing bizarre and practical styles, is celebrating her 38th birthday today.
A daughter of German designer Christa Fiedler, Isabel Marant didn't dream of following her mother's steps when she was a kid - she preffered playing with her brother to girly stuff and wearing dresses or skirts seamed a nightmare to her then. The only clothes she liked belonged to her father as she found shirts and pants really comfortable.
When Isabel was 15, she asked her parents to buy her a sewing machine to fix her clothes to her liking – she hated to wear the same stuff as others. One day her friend asked her to create a costume, and that is when she began her designer career. In a year, she offered her creations to a commission shop at Halles. Her first collection brought her about 1 000 euros – the sum was huge for the girl her age and she decided to study design seriously.
Having graduated from the Studio Bercot school, she created her own line of jewellery and started to work as assistant to Bridget Yorke at Yorke and Cole. Later she also worked for Marc Ascoli, Michel Klein, Chloe and Yohji Yamamoto, but her style was too bizarre to fit in.
Her mother, who has launched a line of knitted wear, invited Isabel to join her venture and young designer worked for her until she felt she could start on her own – in 1989 Isabel created her collection of jewelry and accessories and in 1990 she expanded her business with womenswear. It is hard not to be lost for the young designer in Paris, the center of the world haute couture, yet in 1995 Marant's collections first appeared on the runway at Paris Fashion Week. Her debut presentation took place at Salon of prêt-à-porter in Versailles and her original design was noticed at once – she received her first order from Japan and for some time remained more known abroad than at home.
In 1997 she won the Howard Prize and continues to show off her collections every season during Paris Fashion Week. Her clothes, bizarre but practical for everyday wear, is considered to be perfect by both modern French women who manage to be business ladies and mothers at once and teenagers who love her funky style.
In 2003, the company annual trade turnover reached 10 million euro.
The garments she created don't look new, they have a history, just like your old friends and often look stylishly crumpled, worn and shabby; they don't require ironing to save a precious time of a business woman. Her other secret is mixing styles and cultures to receive a unique design.
In her interview to lexpress.fr, Isabel shares her expectations and love for fashion: "I adore it! [fashion] The best reward for me is the admiration of the women on the streets, especially if she wears the clothes I designed. It moves me deeply. Garment, it is like your second skin, an [integral] part of you. I don't seek to design clothes with three sleeves, I just wish people like what i do. But dream of fashion, it always comes back to refuse things it eulogized last season. In fact, it is some kind of a game, that reincarnates desire again and again. It shouldn't be taken seriously. After all, it is just clothes!"