THE ORIENTALISTS OF HAUTE COUTURE
18 JUNE – 31 DECEMBER 2022
MUSEUM FOR LACE AND FASHION – CALAIS
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The house of Lecoanet Hemant was established in 1981, by Didier Lecoanet and Hemant Sagar. The first store opened its doors at Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, opposite the Elysée Palace- an intimate atelier that witnessed a confluence of diverse inspirations. The inaugural collection, in partnership with Cartier Haute Joaillerie, earned Lecoanet Hemant the prestigious membership of Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, the governing body of high fashion.
Hemant and Didier’s distinctly different backgrounds gave way to a unique voice in the hallowed lanes of haute couture. A refreshing perspective- where Eastern influences married traditional Western codes. Hemant was born in New Delhi ,to an Indian father and a German mother, where he spent most of his childhood. A student of design and dress making, he started his career as an apprentice in Germany in the 70s followed by Paris, where he joined the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de Couture Parisienne and met Didier. Didier grew up in Chaumont in Eastern France. He had initially studied fine arts and started his career in advertising but it did not take him long to realize that his heart lied in dressmaking, leading him to study the art of couture in Paris. As students, they shared mutual respect and admiration for their individual journeys. Shortly after graduating, the house of Lecoanet Hemant was born.
For nearly two decades they showcased their haute couture and ready to wear collections in Paris and participated in numerous prestigious international fashion events across the globe. The label was an organic reflection of their design philosophy. It was the coming together of their heritage, lived experiences and a common vision for authenticity – an extension of their partnership that has only grown with time. The unusual amalgamation of east and west with a recognizable signature drape reminiscent of the sari, made Lecoanet Hemant very soon the choice of French aristocrats, Middle Eastern royalty as well as the international jet set. The house won the Golden Thimble known as Le de d’or (the Oscar equivalent of Haute Couture), the Swarovski Creation Prize 2005, and the Designer of the Year Award, Miami 2007. Select creations are now in the permanent collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Deutsches Museum, Berlin, and the Musée des Arts de la Mode, Paris.
As the fashion landscape changed, it marked a new dawn in the brand’s trajectory. Lecoanet Hemant moved the business metaphorically, from couture to ready-to-wear, and also physically, from Paris to New Delhi. This saw the conception of Genes and Ayurganic.
Genes is a modern story of expression, rooted in Parisian heritage and pillared by the codes of couture craftsmanship. It embodies the spirit of its people, of Lecoanet Hemant. Trends are replaced with a re-invention of classics, always maintaining relevance and capturing the essence of the time. With a time and season- less approach towards design, pieces are created to be cherished for years, even decades to come. At Genes, clothes are made with love and longevity in mind. The inspiration, often cross cultural, is interpreted through impeccable tailoring where fabrics, colours and materials are celebrated in their true essence. An unwavering importance on rediscovery remains pivotal to the process of creation at Lecoanet Hemant. With Ayurganic, the design philosophy lent shape to a thoughtful, slowed down way of living. Ayurganic is a holistic experience of the relationship with nature. The collection of nourishing comfort wear is rooted firmly in the principles of Ayurveda.
The core philosophy at Genes and Ayurganic finds its seeds in Lecoanet Hemant’s relentless pursuit of innovation and craftsmanship, while respecting people and resources. Sustainability is an ever evolving process. It is about awareness and the conscious decision to transform for a better tomorrow, always backed by policy and practice.
Lecoanet Hemant strives to align every segment of the process with that ideology. The initiatives are designed keeping in mind that they will have effects beyond us, for a kinder future. Collaborations like “The Joy Project” with SilaiWali and the Genes upcycled collection titled “Love in Black and White” are steps towards environmental and social sustainability. One of the central goals is to ensure that by the next 3 years, Lecoanet Hemant becomes fully equipped to measure and minimize its carbon footprint through the supply chain.
The year 2022 marks the celebration of four decades of Lecoanet Hemant. It will be celebrated with the seminal exhibition, titled “Lecoanet Hemant : The Orientalists of Haute Couture” at the Calais Museum of Lace and Fashion, France. The release of a retrospective book that charts the house’s journey through the years will follow.