The prestigious Hyères Festival de Mode et de Photographie, the French annual celebration of fashion and photography, has named its 10 finalists for 2014. Meet Coralie Marabelle, one of this year's finalists. The French designer has worked for a bunch of big-name design houses and most recently, her couture-like creations won over the Hyères panel of judges (pictured above). She talks to us about Maison Martin Margiela couture, working for Alexander McQueen, starting her own brand, and more ...
The Fashion Law - How old are you and where are you from?
Coralie Marabelle - I am 27 years old, French and I come from Paris.
The Fashion Law - Tell me a bit about your background in fashion.
Coralie Marabelle - My fashion training started when I was 8 years old when I first learned to stitch, and I have been crazy about sewing and making garments since this time. After my MA in business studies, I worked one year for Hermès, first in art buying (namely with fashion photography for the magazine, The World of Hermès) and then I worked within the womenswear design team, assisting all the designers. At the time, Jean Paul Gaultier was the creative director. This is where my professional traning really started, because before then I was just learning by myself. At Hermès, I learned a lot about elegancy and the importance of the quality in the choice of the fabrics furs and leather. I learned to work with leather, and I learnt a lot about the process of making a collection.
Then I joined the fashion design school the Studio Berçot in Paris, where I studied for 2 years. After my studies I did my first internship at Alexander McQueen. I worked 6 months for the womenswear designers, helping them make samples, textile experimentations, researching for inspirational images, helping the pattern makers, etc. It was an amazing experience. The rhythm was very intense. It was not easy every day. We worked very long hours, but I learned so much. And the people are amazing there. You spend most of your time at work. Your colleague become like family. So, it makes the experience even more intense. It is a very creative atmosphere and I worked with very talented people that inspired me a lot. I learnt a lot about creating new techniques, embellishment techniques, playing with fabrics and leathers to find new textures etc. It was very exciting.
After this I went directly to Maison Martin Margiela, where I worked for the couture line Ligne Artisanale. Its a very small team, extremely creative and super nice. I was assisting the head designer, helping him for the research, making samples at the beginning of the collection and then creating and developing garments for the show. I love the couture approach, but together with the Margiela spirit, and the idea of recycling, it made the experience even more amazing.
At the end of my time with Margiela, McQueen asked me to come back and offered me to join the womenswear team as an assistant designer. I was working directly with the head designer of womenswear and Sarah Burton. I was doing a lot of research for inspirational images and drawing a lot which really helped me to improve my drawing skills as we had to do all the drawings by hand. I was also in charge of the team of students to develop samples, and I was doing the coordination between the atelier and the studio, working closely with the head of atelier, the pattern makers.
The Fashion Law - Have you started a brand of your own?
Coralie Marabelle - No, I haven't started my brand yet. For the moment I am just doing the Hyères Prize, and I will see how it turns out. I would love to start my own brand one day but there is no rush. For the moment, I want to keep working for other houses to get more experience.
The Fashion Law - Why is being a Hyeres finalist important to you?
Coralie Marabelle - It is the first time that I get to show a personal collection, before it was at school during my studies it is not the same. And when you work for a house, you adapt yourself to the spirit of the brand, so what ever you do it is never 100% you.
When you work on a personal collection it is 100% you. You only do what you want, which is amazing to me. So being selected for the Hyères prize, and recognized for my personal work, it is really gratifying and encouraging. Also I know that during the festival you get the chance to meet so many people from the fashion industry, and it is amazing to have the chance to show my work to so many people and have their opinion on it. It is a very exciting opportunity.
The Fashion Law - What are you obsessed with right now?
Coralie Marabelle - Now I am obsessed with making the rest of the collection on time for the Hyères festival! Time is running out fast, and I have a lot to do, especially because my collection is full of couture work and embellishment that takes hours and hours to make. I am going to be extremely busy until the festival but it is very exciting, I am loving it!