Sharon Wauchob: Redefining Luxury, French-Style

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Published March 4, 2011

 

SHARON WAUCHOB. PHOTO BY AMINA NOLAN

“To me, luxury is about honoring tradition, and also thinking about wearability,” said Sharon Wauchob after she showed her eponymous line in Paris last night. The designer grew up on a livestock farm in Northern Ireland, went on to study at London’s Central Saint Martins, and then worked in Paris as an in-house designer for Louis Vuitton. Today, on top of directing her own brand, she is currently head designer of New York-based house Edun.

“I’m trying to make luxury ‘French’—use the country’s oldest, best techniques, which aren’t available anywhere else,” she explained, referring to the intricate embroideries on yesterday’s catwalk. As they often are in her work, the clothes on display last night included lace made using an ancient technique in Calais; her pleats were achieved according to a traditional South of France method.

It’s all a suitable fit for her designs—Wauchob is known for her experimentation with textile treatment and elaborate stitching. “I’m using these techniques, because I associate them with—almost—couture, but make it wearable and hopefully modern,” Wauchob said. “What you get in France, the embroideries, the lace, the pleating is unique. I do little things in between to try and challenge them.”

Like several designers, including Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who shows his own line in Paris and Lacoste in New York, Sharon Wauchob has to adapt to two different markets and profiles. “The difference in process leads to two distinctive styles, inevitably,” she said, adding that “there are slight differences between the girl I have in mind for Edun and for my line—they might just be in a different mood when they put on the clothes.”

But in the end, Wauchob trusts her own judgment. She concluded confidently, “But for this collection, I wanted to make the clothes for no other reason than them being something I’d want to wear.”