Franck Durand is among the industry’s go-to art directors. Since founding his Paris-based, namesake Atelier in 2004, he has worked with brands to enhance and reimagine their visual identity — from media campaigns to logo design. Known for his highly discerning approach and flawless execution, he attracts clients who appreciate the impact of a less-is-more outcome. If there is any signature across his projects — his current client roster includes Etro, Tory Burch, Berluti, Zara Home, Theory, Aurélie Biderman, Mellerio and Alexandre Vauthier — it is an elusive understanding of taste and how to calibrate this in subtle ways. Durand also continues to oversee Holiday magazine, which he relaunched in 2014 after decades of inactivity. The bi-annual, destination-themed publication stands out for an intelligent, relevant and worldly mix of writing and photography. Just like his work, it evokes the type of lifestyle that will always resonate: a reality that is familiar to some and aspirational to others.
In what ways do you see exploration as a natural part of the design process?
Exploration is fundamental. And, in my case, permanent. My eye and my mind are awake night and day to explore what inspires me, but also to welcome unexpected and surprising topics that come along. What is fascinating about exploration is the questioning that follows it. Everything that confuses and sometimes disturbs me by shaking up what I already know is worthy of interest. It allows new awakenings.
What are some of the themes and ideas that you would like to see designers exploring through the next few seasons?
We must go beyond creation to question the place and role of clothing today. We have to deal with today’s issues. Consider new, more sustainable ways to consume, but also to associate this with powerful concepts. How can we keep on dreaming when we are aware of all the current human and environmental constraints? The answer is not obvious.
How have these past years shaped the way you explore fashion through social media and the virtual world?
I don’t have an established and definitive opinion of social media. Nonetheless, I can state that this remains a real working and research tool for me, even if it must be used with moderation. It has, paradoxically enough at first, rendered other mediums more desirable. The magazine, for example, has become scarcer, and therefore more valuable. In fact, Holiday has never been more successful than the last six seasons.
How do you, personally, explore what’s new and exciting in fashion?
Fashion has always been elusive, and the way I appreciate its impulsiveness stays the same over time. Things are born, live and die; this is a reality that I accept and embrace with an ever-renewed curiosity. After all, this ungraspable side fuels the creation process and makes it even more fascinating.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.