Perhaps under the influence of eccentrics Thierry Mugler and Jeremy Scott, where he held stints, Quentin Veron is crazy about fur. The young Frenchie, a newcomer to Paris Fashion Week, designs and makes his coats, jackets and accessories (like great Russian hats, or ushankas) at the esteemed Paris workshop of Patrick Lestarquit—but these aren't your grandmother’s heavy furs stuffed with mothballs...
You grew up in the middle of France, in Clermont-Ferrand. Did you have a strong fashion point of view early on?
When I was a teenager, you could be a skater and listen to rock or a bad boy and listen to rap. If you were out of those two groups you were considered a dork. Outside of Paris, it’s hard to find cool clothes and there are almost no vintage stores. I found my own style when I moved to Paris. Now I know where to find clothes I like, but I want to create pieces that are different.
Who inspires you, in real life or in cinema?
My collections are constructed like tales. I create my own characters, but I'm truly inspired by the universe depicted in Tim Burton films. That universe, tinged with darkness, also represents my creative vision.
Tell me about your experiences at Jeremy Scott in Los Angeles.
Jeremy is an amazing character with a superb energy. Sometimes, to reenergize us as we worked hard in his atelier, he’d come and sing and do a few dance moves. It forced us to smile. Or occasionally, when we were working late hours, he'd tell us stories about living in Paris, which I loved.
What did you think of L.A. fashion?
People really dress up there, they have fun. But of course I'm speaking of the crowd I was hanging out with, not the Hollywood crowd, who dress up only in designer clothes. It was interesting for me to start from zero in a city I didn't know anything about. Normally I love to wear layers, but it was so hot there that I had to find another way to show off my style.
Your clothes are made at Patrick Lestarquit's workshop. What is that like?
It’s amazing. I'm surrounded by fur. It feels like an older era with all the handcrafted work. I choose the skins, staple them, try out some mixes. Patrick Lestarquit teaches me techniques and how to choose my skins. He's like my mentor. Then I have two people working for me. One is a Greek man, a specialist of minks. He's been working with fur for at least 40 years, since he was 13. The other is a woman who takes care of all the linings, and she sews everything by hand. It’s going back to basics. It’s not like you just make a drawing and send it to the other side of the world to be made.
Is it true you only got into fur about two years ago?
Yes, but I always wore and liked fur. When I finished school, I asked Patrick if I could come to his workshop. I became a kind of apprentice and fell in love with the craft. Touching fur everyday reminds me of my childhood. My father is a professional horse rider, and I loved working with him.
You've said “fur always existed and human beings always wore it.” Okay, it's natural, but it's also controversial. Why fur?
The smell, the feel, the way it looks and moves. I mean, fur is like a diamond. It's unique, beautiful and makes women feel pretty.
What do you think of PETA protesters?
They make me laugh!
Have you ever been confronted by anti-fur people?
Where do you get your furs? Have you ever hunted?
I only use farm-raised furs, animals that are specifically raised to be fur, not wild animals. I don't think anyone would go hunt a cow to have their steak.
Could you envision yourself designing pieces in other materials, or is it fur forever?
I have a fashion designer background, I'm not just a furrier. In fact, for my next collection, I'm starting to add other materials. But fur will always be the center of my collections.