Updated: Sep 26
Philip Doré, a luminary in the world of fashion design, has an illustrious career that has seen him leave his indelible mark on renowned fashion houses such as Givenchy, Azzaro, and Zadig and Voltaire. Today, he stands at the cusp of a new and exciting chapter in his journey—the launch of his very own clothing line. In this interview, we have the privilege of delving into the formative experiences that set the stage for his remarkable career, his distinctive approach to design and creation, and the invaluable influence of his mentors, Daniel Jasiak and Josephus Thimister. Join us as we explore the multifaceted world of Philip Doré, a designer whose passion, dedication, and creative vision have been honed through years of industry experience, setting him on a path toward redefining the essence of fashion in the modern age.
Can you tell us about your early experiences and how they influenced your decision to pursue a career in fashion design?
Like every young person entering the world of work, we have fears, doubts, and apprehensions. In my case, excitement and the desire to prove myself took over. This job demands a great deal of hard work, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. When I embarked on my career at Isaac Sellam's atelier, I learned from him the virtues of patience and versatility. I aimed to start in a small-scale organization to acquire as much knowledge as possible. After spending nearly a year in Paris, I had the opportunity to return to Belgium and work under the guidance of Mr. Saint-Laurent's former right-hand man, Jean-Paul Knott. He provided me with insights into how the largest luxury houses operate. I was fortunate to cross paths with several remarkable individuals, such as Daniel Jasiak, who had experience with Comme Des Garçons, Jean Paul Knott, and Josephus Thimister, the former artistic director of Balenciaga. They offered me invaluable advice at the outset of my career and assumed the role of mentors for me. My artistic DNA is shaped by the experiences I've lived through, and these encounters have played a crucial role in shaping the person I am today.
How do you approach the design and creation of your collections?
The streets and travels serve as my primary sources of inspiration. I intentionally refrain from watching fashion shows or engaging with social networks before embarking on the design process to prevent external influences. My preferred approach involves closely observing people, as I believe this provides a richer wellspring of inspiration, enabling me to better grasp the ever-changing world's influences and needs. I opt to craft my garments with an intent for them to evolve over time. What captivates me most in my profession is the quest for a concept, the art of storytelling, and the manner in which I breathe life into each collection, bridging the realms of imagery and apparel.
Could you please provide us with more insights into the influence of your mentors, Daniel Jasiak and Josephus Thimister, on your design career and philosophy?
In my third year, Daniel Jasiak was my instructor at fashion school. He was an exceptional teacher who not only emphasized technical instruction but also worked on nurturing the human and mental aspects of his students. The only requirement for his mentorship was a willingness to self-reflect, a genuine thirst for learning, and unwavering passion. Three weeks before the end-of-study fashion show, I found myself questioning my entire collection. I stepped out into the hallway, took a seat on the floor, and reexamined my patterns. That's when I felt a reassuring hand on my shoulder. Daniel looked at me and said, 'Philip, your patronage, Martin Margiela, has already explored this territory.' The idea of replicating someone else's creation was inconceivable to me, so I discarded my patterns. It was in that moment that Daniel imparted a phrase that I would carry with me for life: 'Philip, just because a fashion genius has done it doesn't mean you can't reinterpret it in your unique way and perhaps even do it better.' I learned that every creation is born from an idea, and true innovation lies in the reinterpretation of those ideas. Thanks to Daniel, I also had the privilege of meeting Josephus Thimister, who eventually transitioned from being a mentor to a dear friend. His six-year tenure as artistic director at Balenciaga provided me with invaluable insights into the world of luxury fashion. He opened doors that had been previously unknown to me and introduced me to numerous individuals who would play pivotal roles in my journey. We spent countless nights dissecting the stories behind the artworks displayed in his apartments at The Invalides de Paris. His abundance of guidance was instrumental in my growth. Josephus was a man with an immense heart, always ready to give and share without expecting anything in return.
Moving on to building your brand in its early stages, what were the key qualities or skills you sought in your team members?
It's imperative to recognize that while an idea may originate from an individual, its realization hinges on a team effort. This realization serves as a compass, helping identify strengths and weaknesses to steer research in the right direction. One of our primary criteria was to strike a balance between what I refer to as 'BUT' and 'AND' personalities. To inject fresh and diverse perspectives, it was crucial that not all team members came from the fashion industry. Our team comprises a development director and a financial director responsible for the back office, which allows the collection director and myself to form a creative pair wholly dedicated to the artistic aspects, image, and collection development. The varying ages, backgrounds, and experiences within our team create a melting pot of unique individuals who complement each other within a framework built on trust and complete transparency.
What are your aspirations for the future of your brand, and how do you envision its growth and impact in the fashion industry?
Our initial goal is to establish a physical presence in the American and European markets through collaboration with multi-brand stores, while simultaneously extending our reach globally via our website. We firmly believe that our products possess the unique ability to fulfill a void within the modern man's wardrobe. Embracing a distinct concept, we are dedicated to redefining the notion of "luxury" while diligently minimizing our ecological footprint. Above all, our vision is to secure a lasting position within the fashion landscape, emphasizing the importance of careful craftsmanship over the pressures of haste and speed.
Photographer: Boris Oliviero