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July 25 2014

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Meet The Muse: Olivier Theyskens

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Girl-about-town Natalie Joos spends her days casting for shows like ADAM and Yigal Azrouël and editorials for the likes of Mario Sorrenti and Mariano Vivanco, but her passion is vintage clothing. Joos’ blog, Tales of Endearment, spotlights her “Muses,” impeccably styled girls and guys who share her secondhand obsession. In a new partnership with Style.com, Tales of Endearment’s subjects discuss their shoots right here on Style File.

Fashion month is over, but Olivier Theyskens hasn’t slowed down for a second, except to eat a hamburger (or two) in Paris with Natalie Joos. After dining chez McDonald’s, the two fed their fashion appetites with vintage treasures. Though Theyskens tells Style.com he’s “not a designer that buys vintage to be inspired,” one thing is certain: Others will refer to his work for years to come. Some of it, like the dress from one of his early Rochas collections that they found on their shopping trip, is already archived in vintage shops on the racks among Miu Miu. “He is perplexed. He can’t believe he’s already vintage!” says Joos.

Theyskens took a break from a photo shoot in Paris to chat with Style.com about his vintage shopping guidelines and what’s next for Theyskens’ Theory, and confessed to having a lazy gene.

I have to ask, why did you two pick McDonald’s as your meeting place? It seems like a very unexpected choice.
Because like everyone, I had to eat something. I think it’s OK to go once in a while. Sometimes it’s cool. I wouldn’t like to promote them or anything, but everyone can go rarely; but it’s important not to go often.

Once you ate, it sounds like you found some good finds. What did you buy?
I bought a bow tie for the Carine vampire party at an antique men’s shop. I also found a very old Mugler jacket that doesn’t look too old. It’s large, but that’s good because it doesn’t look so exaggerated that way.

So, what exactly do you look for when you vintage shop?
I like vintage that is not so dated. It’s interesting for me because in my work, a lot of times, I like to scrutinize the clothes and think what’s going to make them look dated and I do the same with vintage. In vintage, you want something unique and different, but at the same time, something that doesn’t make you look like you dress like a grandpa.

Where do you like to buy your vintage pieces?
I don’t go often. I am not a designer that buys vintage to be inspired. You can be sure if I travel and go to some weird place, I will see if they have a vintage store with tricky, interesting things. I went once to the Rose Bowl market in Los Angeles—it’s gigantic! I was just there, going around, and I had no idea what to buy. It was so overwhelming.

How is your personal style reflected in your work?
It’s complicated. In my personal style, I don’t go too crazy…maybe it’s my body. How I design is how I imagine (mentally) to wear things. I put myself in the place of people—tall, short, bigger, smaller, whatever. It has always been like that. I think that actors have to do this too. Of course, my own experiences have an impact on how I design things, for sure. A lot of times my girls have shoulders, probably because I have shoulders. My jackets, I imagine them on people with shoulders.

Do you have something you wear every single day?
I have some cute old boots that I have been wearing for years—it’s impossible to read the brand. They are totally ruined but I love them. Or like a jean, you find one and there is no other jean that will fit that good so you keep wearing it. I am always wearing jeans that I designed these days. The ones I am wearing are cleaner and darker—they are from last pre-fall. I was wearing this old pair from the time of Helmut Lang, with holes in them now, that I wear all the time and I could not stop wearing them.

Fashion month is over. What was your favorite moment from the season?
For me, the favorite moment was to arrive in Paris and have this amazing Indian summer. It’s not a high fashion, glamorous moment, but it was great. I have always been in New York during the summer and missed seeing Paris in the sunshine. This was really special, for sure.

What’s on the horizon for you right now?
I am going to travel to China and then I am going to be in NYC, going from time to time to Paris. In Asia, we are going to be involved with Lane Crawford, and we opened a store in Beijing a year ago, so it’s nice to go and see what’s happening there. All these projects are growing and it’s great—I am excited to get back to New York. When I’m there, in NYC, I’m really into everything.

How do you hope to expand your Theory collection next?
You always want to expand but you also think what you want to keep in and what you want to put out. It’s more an evolution. I am sometimes scared when there are too many projects. The experience I have with Theory, we want to be editing and have this evolving story. Expanding to us is being stronger in different markets and inspiring people to wear the clothes.

When you aren’t designing and working, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to be lazy. I do like to be busy and really active, but when that’s done, you can be sure I will be a lazy boy. I like to take time and relax and enjoy life.

For more from Olivier’s shoot, visit Tales of Endearment .

Photos: Natalie Joos

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