Hands Up: Tailoring discipline with Pierre-François Valette (Valette Studios)

January 20, 2022
Photo credits: Laurence Benaïm

Sense of touch, transparency, lightness of a shirt, the fall of a jacket… a sensations and obsessions business. “Design material to give it an attitude and tell a story”, says Pierre François Valette, a jack-of-all-trades who collects among all his passions, the one that elevates his life to the rank of daily discipline: the “hand” suit, casual version, this subtle mix of formal and streetwear. It’s a question of preferences, of elective affinities, a certain way of favoring technical wools “that don’t wrinkle, don’t scratch, don’t sting”, of “giving the suit the comfort of a tracksuit”. “The hand of a fabric is fundamental, we touch, even closing our eyes. We do 10 tests with an iron to see how a fabric reacts,” says this son of a neuropsychiatrist and a cardiologist who has long played the violin, the accordion, even sang, studied medicine, then law, before putting his hand ringed with his grandfather’s signet ring, on a vocation, his own. Two years ago, he created his brand. Algiers, Saint Lô, Torre del Greco, Ischia, his origins, from Maupassant to Camus, continue to inspire his collections, his “continuous line” designs, a history of lines. Those celebrated in this fourth “Classix Nouveau” collection, placed under the sun of British rock and pop art, between floral wallpaper prints, tartan patterns and fishnet linings.  Her first reaction to a garment? “I always look at the interiors. When I see a garment, I open it. Mine has to be looked at inside out. Here, we made quilted linings, I developed bias on the viscose, because I found the hand a little dry, to bring a little sport. The hand is in the eye that aims and monitors everything and more: “On a pair of pants, it is the belt, on a coat, it is the collar, on a jacket, it is the shoulder, everything starts from it. The front, the back, the sleeve” The culture of the canvas, he has it from a school, precisely: the workshop Saint Laurent. It is there that he says he learned the essentials of what holds a jacket, stretches a coat, gives plumbness to clothing. With an iron fist, therefore, but all in flexibility. 

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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