Hands Up: Touchingly Yours with Louis-Gabriel Nouchi

January 22, 2022
Photo credits: Laurence Benaïm

Just five years ago, he created his own brand with three initials, his: LGN. In 2021, Louis Gabriel Nouchi opened his own boutique on rue Oberkampf in Paris, where the fitting room is nothing more than a library. The design studio is just above. Immersion, sartorial introspection that is increasingly shared: 50% of the clientele is now female. Behind the black facade, the books are arranged anonymously, sliced upside down: a way for everyone to make them their own, in the surprise of a discovery. Murakami, Camus, Kafka, Yourcenar, are among the favourite authors of Louis Gabriel Nouchi, a former student of La Cambre, who began his career at Vogue, then at Raf Simons. A career of the hands that cannot be captured by digital reading. “Translating feelings,” he says of his job. “When I touch a fabric, I know right away what I’m going to do with it.” No rough materials or cardboard inner linings. His “nude” men’s underwear, like his shirts, has won over those in search of remarkable comfort. In his Fall-Winter 2022 sketches, the body appears in movement: hands in pockets, or gripping the lapel of a padded coat.

LGN? A pencil line, or rather a look. This season, the theme is Baudelaire’s Les Paradis artificiels, the nostalgia of a festive Paris, after the nightclubs. Between inside and outside, the coat becomes a bathrobe, a writer’s dressing gown lightened without a liner. Under a deconstructed jersey jacket, a bodysuit spun like a stocking; another, in knitted acetate, almost liquid. The eye senses the tactile, as Louis Gabriel Nouchi has reproduced real fake sweat stains on a sweatshirt. The marbled paper inside a book becomes a motif; tone-on-tone. An opium flower expands in the amplitude of a gesture. He insists on viscose, which is “perfect for temperature regulation” and as “cross-over” clothing with shirts, trousers and pajamas perfect for the “home office” – so many obsessions that have become an evolving signature.

Nouchi’s most identifiable signature is a hole in the neckline, which he describes as “a controlled defect, a zone of balance in the imbalance, imperfection, life.” Under his left arm, he has had three flies tattooed (in reference to Jean Paul Sartre’s play), and on his right bicep, ZONE (in capital letters), the eponymous title of Apollinaire’s famous poem. “It’s always close to you, this image that passes by.”

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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