We are all different and unique in our own way. But to be different in the fashion industry, to have the courage to step out, break all the rules, and step away from the themes and colors of the season, it takes a particular or peculiar personality. The 24-year-old Parisian designer Théo Galbert is not afraid to show his own self, his vision of beauty and creativity, a passion for design that is more related to the fantasy of a more glamorous world that exists in the cities where the party never stops like Vegas or Miami. Or, to dress like he is always in those places, for that matter! He is part of the new creative force, a young generation of French designers that are about to teach us what it’s like to follow your dreams and simply own your story and vision.
When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the fashion world?
I’ve been in love with fashion since my childhood. I’ve started to learn sewing as a kid on the old machine of my grandmother. I loved to touch all the different fabrics in the stores, and I was amazed by all the beautiful color prints and embroideries on the fashion creations. I always wanted to be dressed differently than the others, but I couldn’t find the right style of clothes that could match my personality in the men’s section. Over the years I realized that there was a real market for that one-of-a-kind menswear clothes. I’ve always had in mind to create my own couture brand – the fanciest menswear clothes. Very early, I understood that having a good fashion sense is empowering, and that, with the right outfit you can attract all the right people. Your look is the first thing that people will notice. I like the fact that you can express your personality with your style.
You are a student at the famous and demanding ESMOD where designers like Olivier Rousteing, Thierry Mugler, Alexandre Vauthier, Christophe Decarnin, and Damir Doma also studied. What is the most important thing you learned during your studies?
Going to fashion schools is a great way to develop your style but the ideas have to be your own. They are so many students in those fashion schools that, if you want to make a difference, you better have a strong personality. If you want to succeed in your projects, you have to work harder and harder, by being persistent, passionate, and determined!
The fashion industry has quite a few obsessions, but the omnipresent one is that the next generation is always required to rebel, change ideas and ideals, push things forward. Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generation?
I think that new trends always come from the young generations. That’s why the big fashion houses are always looking for new talents to become their artistic directors and to inject fresh blood into their creativity. At the same time, I don’t design for a certain target in terms of age. I think that being styled has nothing to do with age. Fashion is an art that breaks all rules. By the way you’re dressed you can be who you want to be. But, as young designers, we do have to change our way of consuming and creating in terms of durability. Sustainability should be considered during all the processes of the supply chain. From sourcing the fabrics to the production of the garments, from the packaging to the delivery to the consumer. Being sustainable is done by making the right choices that can considerably reduce the harmful effects of fashion on the planet. It’s part of our role to create a better future.
How would you describe Paris’s fashion scene of today?
The fashion scene looks very inaccessible, especially in Paris. It’s only about private access and selective people. There is an enormous craze around fashion, in Paris more than anywhere else. From the inside, it’s a different world with less glitter. Most of the people are working very hard and aren’t often recognized for what they do. It’s really hard to make your place as an outsider in front of all these big groups. But they’re always people who try to help the upcoming designers. Some fashion awards like the LVMH prize or the ANDAM are here to promote the new talents of tomorrow. I think that it’s a good initiative to bring the light on people who have a true passion for fashion and who dedicate their lives to try to reach their goals.
Why is Paris a good place for a young person interested in fashion?
I think that there is no better place than Paris to start a fashion career. Most of the best fashion schools are here, you can even get access to the backstage during the fashion week as a dresser. There are also many opportunities if you are looking for an internship in couture houses. At the same time during your studies, you will need to buy a lot of fabrics and materials. The Marché Saint Pierre near Montmartre is well known for that. The Sentier, known historically as a multicultural textile and garment manufacturing district is also an area that you must discover. I remember when I first got in touch with all of that, and I was very surprised by all the richness of the Paris fashion world. Some parts are hidden or only known by the professionals.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have a new and different vision of men’s fashion by breaking away from preconceived ideas. I try to reinvent the men’s wardrobe by integrating the opulence, extravagance, and refinement of the women’s clothing. It’s important for me that the clothes are wearable in real life and that their luxurious aspect is noticed. My collections are composed of unique and customizable creations which are produced on demand through which men can assert their personality. GALBERT is a brand that stands for originality, outstanding and timeless pieces that will be passed from generation to generation. The craftsmanship is a part of the DNA of my creations as I value the excellence of French Métiers d’art by working hand in hand with Parisian artisans. I also strive to reconnect with the heritage of Parisian haute couture and the tradition of made-to-measure.
Which brands are the ones you identify with at the moment?
I do not really identify myself with brands anymore. It’s more about a style and a mood in general. I’ve always loved the hip-hop world and the luxurious art de vivre. It’s part of my DNA and I grew up close to this lifestyle. When I first fall in love with all this culture, rap music was more underground and nowadays with social exposure, it becomes number one on tv, radio, and even in the fashion industry. Today, most of the big fashion brands want to dress rappers.
Do you remember the first piece of clothing you were really obsessed with?
Yes, I do, it was the vintage silk shirts from Gianni Versace. Especially the one with the gold Barocco print from the Fall/Winter 1991 collection. Wearing this piece today is like paying a tribute to Gianni and to the love and passion he had put into his work. These special pieces were crafted with silk printing techniques used during his times, where the ink is passed into the fabric by hand using separate screens, lending exceptional vibrancy to the gold colors. All those silk pieces were an obsession during my teenage-hood. And I am still fascinated by those legendary designs.
You have created your own label Galbert that already drew attention. How would you describe your own collection?
My last collection is built around the theme ‘Weekend in Vegas’ which symbolizes opulence and extravagance. The contemporary side of the collection is inspired by the showoff universe of American rappers, while the vintage side drew inspiration from Liberace, the piano virtuoso of the 70s and 80s. With his mythical sentence ”Too much of a good thing is Wonderful,” Liberace was an American show-business ace who cultivated an exuberant style composed of furs, gold, and crystal jewelry. VEGAS is a party collection, made up of pieces that one wears in the different places that this city, famous for its lively nightlife, has to offer: casinos, clubs, various cabarets and shows, and finally – the palaces for relaxing after a long evening while keeping the right style of a jet setter. The extravagant side is brought by colors and fabrics. A nocturnal Vegas where the dark colors represent the night contrast with bright reflections of the city lights. Shimmering, mysterious shades composed of silk, deep velvet adorned with crystals, pearls, and sequin embroideries. The motto of this collection is “shine to be seen” while keeping a touch of subtlety brought by the shape and the cut of the clothes. In March 2020 I’ve been selected by Hubert Barrère, the artistic director of the Maison Lesage (CHANEL Métiers d’art), for an apprenticeship where I was able to learn different embroidery techniques and thus enrich my Vegas collection. In September 2020, I also had the opportunity to present my collection at the 48H Maisons de Mode fashion show.
“Weekend in Vegas” collection
Who has been the biggest influence on your work?
I think that my biggest influence was my origin. My mom is French and my dad comes from French West Indies (Martinique island), where the lifestyle is totally different. To have this mix of cultures is a blessing for me. There is a lot of history behind it that I like to express through my creations. The French part inspires in me the chicness and sobriety, while the Caribbean side evokes in me extravaganza and colorful richness.
Tell us more about your creative process…
For me, everything starts from an idea, a color range, or from a piece of fabric. The development of my fabrics is very important to me. I like making them look lavish, chic, and unique. I only use high-quality fabrics and shades that are mostly seen in womenswear. I tend to incorporate elements rarely seen on men’s garments. My know-how in the elaboration of outstanding pieces allows me to realize custom-made and personalized creations on request. I conceive the first prototype in canvas to the morphology of the customer then I realize the material sampling. It is only after the validation of the customer that the final model will be made in the material specially developed for this unique creation.
“Weekend in Vegas” collection
What’s your best-selling piece?
Of course, it’s my iconic velvet Diamond Bomber that the rapper TYGA wore at the opening party of the Men’s Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. This jacket was made of quilted velvet embellished with over 600 Swarovski crystals. I’ve first created this model in a unique burgundy color. Then I got requests from clients to make it in black velvet color. I even received messages from women who were asking me to create a women’s version of the jacket. I only made few pieces from this model, as I like to do limited editions.
Gifta and Tyga wearing Galbert Diamond Bomber
How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?
I like making them feel strong, powerful, and confident with themselves. That will allow them to be comfortable with the eye-catching effect that my creations attract. Because most of my clothes are very shiny, other people look at my clients like celebrities. All this gives the men who wear my clothes a luxurious and precious feeling.
Can you tell us something about your future projects?
Yes, I plan to expand my brand overseas. I’m especially interested in the American market.
I started to get in touch with selective luxurious multi-brand stores all over the world.
What are your plans after university?
I just finished two amazing internships: first, in the best couture atelier, and second, in the embroidery studio that works with the French and Italian high fashion houses. Now, I want to start to collaborate with them on the development of my new collection. I really want to surprise people by creating unseen pieces.
If you could choose any brand to work for which would you choose?
Growing up I’ve thought about it many times. It’s really hard to tell, to be honest. There are some couture houses that I really appreciate. I was fascinated by Italian brands. During my internships, I’ve worked on projects for the biggest fashion houses, mostly for Parisian brands. I’ve seen a lot of amazing work. I can’t tell at the moment which one I would choose.
What would you tell your juniors who may also want to follow in your footsteps and study fashion?
It’s funny because this question comes often on my social media. I think that the most important is to always follow your dreams and intuitions. Be very creative, have your own personality, and stand out from the crowd! And always remember that’s the best thing in life is to work on something that you are passionate about which will make you happy every morning.
Vesna Filipovic and Vukota Brajovic for Fashionela.