It is always a great pleasure to celebrate friends’ accomplishments and this week’s column is just that as it features a dear friend of mine. Hubert Barrere has spent most of his adult life in the fashion industry and has made a name for himself as an accomplished designer, embroiderer and skilled corset maker. As of December 1st, 2011 he is now the creative director of the Maison Lesage, the world renowned embroidery house. As he happened to be in New York a couple of weeks ago on a short business trip we had lunch at the Crosby Hotel and took a few moments between our catching up to do this interview live. His corset making skills have led him to collaborate with the biggest names in the industry. From Jean-Paul Gaultier, to John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney Hubert has had the opportunity to create some of his most outstanding pieces for their collections. Today he is able to continue his craft while also working as creative director of Lesage, something he feels particularly fortunate about. As he said to me, “it is not everyday that one gets one’s dream job and is able to take it on while pursuing another passion.” Speaking of passions, something Hubert particularly enjoys is traveling. He does so for business looking for inspiration in the most far flung locales but also for the simple pleasure of finding himself in new surroundings. I had the pleasure of going to India for the first time with Hubert last November and our trip was the perfect example of his thirst for discovery and knowledge. We had access to the showrooms and ateliers of several established designers in Delhi and Mumbai and it was a fantastic eye opener on how the fashion industry there mirrors ours in Paris and New York while catering to a customer base with very different and specific needs. It is always refreshing to discover a new point of view with a completely different set of actors. This week I just caught up with Hubert in Paris where I came for a project and we had the pleasure of discussing another of his passion, books. As an avid reader he always has a fun new book to recommend and I enjoy our discussions as it allows me to stay up-to-date on what came out in France that I should take back to New York with me. His house is filled with art books and the latest tome is about the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit currently at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. It is on until February of 2013 and Hubert says it is a must-see!
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1. What do you love most about your job?
The creative process. Starting from an idea, an abstract concept and make it a reality. Especially today, not only as fashion designer but as creative director of Lesage I really enjoy discovering new materials, finding new ways to use them and put them to work.
2. If you did not live in Paris where would you live and why?
I would like to be a true citizen of the world and live between Paris, NY, Shanghai and Mumbai. It is important to be atuned to the world and its various markets, all of which are key to my work as a creative person.
3. When not working what do you enjoy doing?
I am rarely not working however my work is a passion so it does not feel like a burden. When I have some downtime I like to withdraw from life’s crazyness and spend time reading, listening to music and traveling to exotic locales on the other side of the planet, anywhere far removed from our western standards.
4. What is your best memory from childhood?
My great aunt’s perfume. She wore Arpege from Lanvin. This perfume has remained for me the symbol of elegance and to this day I am obsessed with this scent.
5. What is your favorite holiday destination and why?
Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Borneo and Micronesia. I love the local cultures, the beauty of the landscapes and the underwater scenery.
6. Book or e-reader? Why and what are you currently reading?
Both but I prefer actual books as I find a real magic to the medium.
7. Which social media platform do you use and how did they impact your business?
None. I am not interested in getting involved. I like my friendships to be real not virtual.
8.What is a true luxury for you today?
I would like to believe that it is to be happy but is that a realistic goal? Time is also a true luxury; to have time to spend with friends and family.
9. What is your biggest accomplishment to date? Why?
Hard to say because I feel like my life is a work in progress. I am looking forward to what is coming next, new challenges and not living in the past.
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