Hands Up: Victor Weinsanto (Weinsanto)

September 27, 2021
Photo credits : Laurence Benaïm

“The hand communicates; with it, we can embrace each other, we can play, we can work,” says Victor Weinsanto. “The hand can be at times joyful or grouchy – especially when she’s motivated, sad, or when she just doesn’t feel like it. She has her moods.” At Weinsanto, the hand everywhere. Tattooed on one arm; sculpted on the wedding finger; alive; flying among the folds of a giant fan; in a silk dress printed with the “kelsch” motif from the designer’s native Alsace. But the original red has turned pink; the bright blue a very dense black; and in order to avoid appearing too traditional, he melted the tiled pattern. Outside is Belleville: the market, the buzz of the street. Inside, away from the noise and the crowd, the hand is at work – pleating to achieve a “natural drape”, increasing the volume to spectacular degrees. Here, a diva spider of tubular horsehair; there a fan whose underwiring comprises stems in carbon usually reserved for kites. We are both behind the scenes of a show, and in a workshop – the theatrical hand and the flou hand having a blast. Weinsanto, an ex-dancer, remembers how much choreography requires working with his fingers, his “supports” – and how this extremity “expresses finesse, harmony, the final movement”. The hand, he reminds, is our pencil. The hand directs and converses with fabrics. It hides, reveals, widens, cuts, tightens. It’s a musical instrument. Through the hand, sound is produced. At Jean Paul Gaultier, for the Folies Bergères show, he remembers having “holes” in his fingers, by dint of having “pulled the needle on leather”. But through watching Mireille, Fanny, Jacqueline – the first in the workshop – Victor says he learned his trade. Beyond the hand stitch, there’s the anti-fraying glue applied to hard edges – these “tips” as well as the “secrets” that helped him establish his own brand. A hand, after all, sees double: “For the show, you have to work straight to the end. In haute couture, it takes 150 steps to find a solution – and to achieve a result that stays clean.” We close the window overlooking Belleville, as though the dresses might otherwise fly away. @laurence-benaim

Photo credits : Laurence Benaïm

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