Meet Julien Fournié Haute Couture Designer

Meet Julien Fournié Haute Couture Designer

Haute couture designer Julien Fournié founded Maison Julien Fournié in 2009. It stands out as one of 16 houses in the world to have been awarded the prestigious haute couture label. His house specializes in crafting custom-made haute couture garments and dresses for its customers, alongside offering an exquisite range of luxury bags and accessories. 

Fournié began his career interning for some of the biggest haute couture houses in Paris. He interned with Alexander McQueen (who was creative director at the time) at Givenchy, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, and Celine. He advised several brands as the creative director for LG Fashion Group in South Korea before moving back to Paris and working a bit more. Julien realized it was time to begin his own legacy. Thus, he started his own house and the rest is history. 

Julien’s work is widely recognized in France and in Europe. He has also developed a global following and one in the USA. Fournié knows Washington, D.C., from a friend in another life. He began selling handbags and accessories to the “Maison Blanche,” a.k.a. White House City. “[My] accessories have become well known in D.C., Miami, and Los Angeles,” Julien explains. New York is a place Fournié would like to collaborate and bring ideas together with future customers. “One day,” he smiles. 

First Vamps

“Ok, let’s go!” says Julien Fournié. Fournié begins speaking with poise and a smile about his recent collection “First Vamps.” Julien opens the conversation with, “You have to understand something about me, I love to be afraid,” when asked about the inspiration behind the 2024 collection that reconnects codes of fantasy to celebrate women’s power. “You cannot imagine this type of work if you don’t like to be afraid,” says Julien Fournié

Each season there is something new and exciting–a new goal, show, team, and production. Fournié finds inspiration amongst the chaos and terror in the fiction and nonfiction elements of his own life. He couples these things with his work. For example, as a child he was excited by horror films and Disney movies. These elements mixed with fashion shows and tight deadlines make Julien Fournié the untouchable artist he is today. 

“Every season my collection is based on movie references. This season the movie reference was Interview with a Vampire, Dracula, Basic Instinct, Little Shop of Horrors, and Marnie. We have a new goal, a new objective, a new ceiling to reach, and a new way to think of things.”

Fournié’s First Vamps collection brings femininity and his passion for U.S. horror films to life in a 15-minute haute couture runway extravaganza. It takes 3-6 months of planning to see it unfold in 15 minutes. 

15 Years of the House of Julien Fournié

“When I see the last 15 years of my career, I am very happy,” Julien says. His career continues to evolve and expand due to his innovation and the quality of his work. 

The 2024 First Vamps opening dress was made of only feathers. His collaboration with Julien Vermeulen (Fournié’s best friend) symbolizes Parisian elegance and haute couture at its finest. It took four months to make the fabric and two months to make the dress. Fournié asked Vermeulen to create the first outfit of the show in celebration of the 15th anniversary. “I asked him to create something fluid, moving, and something easy to wear since feathers are not easy to wear,” says Fournié. 

“Believe it or not, in this dress, the dress has eight panels of fabric in the prototype of cotton fabric… This is the feeling of haute couture, it’s very simple but it’s complex (very difficult to make),” says Fournié. Customers want to wear beautiful clothing. They don’t want too much detail. He balances what customers want while maintaining his DNA in the clothing and product. “Women want more freedom to move with the dress and be free with it. This is the spirit of my work. Definitely,” proclaims Julien Fournié. 

When discussing his monumental career, he speaks freely about his passions. He has many of them. “You know what? Every woman wants a wedding dress. I create wedding dresses every time. And, it’s not my cup of tea. I prefer to design long, black, elegant dresses. But, wedding dress. OK. It’s very important,” Julien says with a laugh.

Collaborations and Inspiration

Some of Fournié’s other favorite collections include a collaboration with Les Chemin de Marquette. “Let me show you something amazing, and you will understand what I mean,” Fournié begins. “We just made a social media movie. I designed this sculpture with 3-D print and Swarovski crystals. At the middle of the show, the Basic Instinct, she arrived like this,” smiles Fournié, as he scrolls through his device to see more of the images. Julien manages his collaborations with his vision. He wants a specific expression on the catwalk–and he designs the hair and makeup too. 

Maison Julien Fournié lives and breathes his vision. Once he begins a project, he’s already thinking of the next. His mind is in overdrive like most busy, successful creators. He’s trying new things such as new designs and work on his iPad. Even Tim Cook from Apple paid him a surprise visit to ask him to use the iPad Pro for his sketches. The designer received the haute couture label eight years ago. He’s an honorary ambassador of iPad sketching and design–selected by Cook himself. 

He sketches in digital painting software called Procreate on the iPad Pro device. In fact, Julien’s latest scarf that he sketched for Disney was created on the iPad Pro. Julien uses AirDrop (Apple functionality to share content) to send his latest documents and designs to his head seamstress Jacqueline and her workshop. His team sees the silhouette and sketch in timelapse video and has access to more of the process. 

Julien also created avatars inspired by The Nutcracker for the battle royale game, PUBG MOBILE. Fournié’s designs know no limits when it comes to the digital era. His partnership with Dassault Systemes has enabled his fashion house to be even more creative through 3-D. In 2014, Fournié partnered with their fashion lab and has since been actively pursuing retelling himself through his pieces via the digital world.

“Tim Cook came to France to visit two people: the president and me,” confesses Julien. Will there be a documentary about fashion, masterclasses, and Julien Fournié on Netflix soon? 

Future Advice to Designers from Julien Fournié

Julien Fournié’s advice for young designers aspiring to make their mark in haute couture is to never follow the trend. “If you want to be a grand couture and follow a legacy, never follow the trend. Follow your soul. Follow your goal. Have real friends and family crowd around you who can support you in your dreams and career in fashion. You cannot create something alone. Be strict with your team. Work on your quality grade all of the time and push the limit of your creativity. Take time to find clothes and understand how it’s made. Take it apart and put it back together. Work extremely hard. You have 15 minutes to show your work. Make them count and work!” Julien Fournié says with passion and vigor. 

Conclusion 

Haute couture designer Julien Fournié works with distinction. His business and creations are innovative and will stand the test of time. His grit and personality combined with his strong work ethic mark him as one of the rare haute couture designers in Paris. Julien’s drive and focus on the next big thing leaves us all wondering what he has planned for the future. We’ll just have to wait and follow him more.

If you enjoyed this behind the scenes access to the world of French fashion, be on the lookout for Dreams Abroad’s ongoing Meet the Locals series. Follow along to meet other global professionals sharing their stories from around the world.

3 thoughts on “Meet Julien Fournié Haute Couture Designer

  1. Julien is such a talent in the fashion world. Thanks for giving some insight on his approach to his creations.

  2. This interview with haute couture designer Julien Fournié is fascinating! It delves into his journey, inspirations, and unique approach to fashion. His dedication to quality and creativity, along with his innovative use of technology, truly sets him apart. A must-read for anyone interested in the world of high fashion!

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