The fashion designer takes the reins at the storied fashion house, as Patou approaches its 100th anniversary. Guillaume Henry shares his ambitions for the French heritage brand, which has been dormant since the 1980s. With an out-of-the-ordinary vision, Henry hopes to awaken this sleeping beauty from a decades-long slumber.
This afternoon, Patou will present its first ready-to-wear collection designed by Guillaume Henry. The last time this French maison, founded in 1914 by Jean Patou, hit the runway, it was precisely in July 1986 during the Haute Couture presentations. The maison’s stylist at that time was Christian Lacroix and, the day after the show, Lacroix resigned and established his own label with the financial support of Bernard Arnault. From then on, the brand has merely been able to survive through its cosmetics and fragrance businesses – its fragrance “Joy” being particularly successful. A success which ultimately convinced the LVMH Group to acquire all of Patou’s activities in 2018 and repurpose the fragrance’s name within Christian Dior perfumes.
One question remains: Will Guillaume Henry’s vision prove to be successful? The designer understands the complexity of this challenge and is committed to defending his vision with dedication, in collaboration with Sophie Brocart, Patou’s CEO. “No one is actually expecting Patou’s comeback,” he tells us in a one-on-one interview. “The only reason that can possibly justify the brand’s comeback is the creation of a new idea. Over the past year, we have studied the brand’s history and assimilated the design vocabulary of the maison. In our daily work, we respect Patou’s heritage and name, but we don’t aim to literally restore the brand’s past: the new generations don’t care about it.