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December 12, 2017
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From the Dévastée A/W 2013 collection. Source: stylecartel.com.

Creatively honest and protective of their universe, Ophelie Klère and François Alary are the two parts that make up chic Parisian label, Dévastée. With a name that translates to "devastated", collections referring to depression and death, and recurring ghostly imagery in their pieces, one could be forgiven for thinking the pair are regularly ruminating over sad, even nihilistic thoughts.

Yet, season after season, Klère and Alary have delivered thoughtful collections full of humour and wit. Here at The Genteel, we're rather smitten with the pair. We chatted with them after their A/W 2013 showing at Paris Fashion Week.

1. Who is the Dévastée woman?

Our main concept is precisely that there's no actual Dévastée woman. It is more of a view of the mind. To imagine a woman would be a boundary for our ideas. 

2. A macabre yet humorous thread runs through all of your collections. What is at the base of your design vision and why the obsession with cemeteries?

Ophelie Klère and François Alary
Ophelie Klère and François Alary. Source: dailymetal.eu 

François has been obsessed with cemeteries since he was 4 or 5 years old. When he was a little boy, his parents' house was built on an ancient cemetery field. He was extremely aware of it. He was often finding fragments of bones and teeth out of the ground. But more than that, some walls of the house were made with old tombstones. He was fascinated by them, those names and dates he could read on the walls. His persistent love and feeling of closeness for cemeteries comes from there.

3. Are there any specific inspirations behind your A/W 2013 collection? Will your clientele be seeing a move away from a monochromatic colour scheme?

Black and white is a key to our aesthetic, our clientele does not expect a move away by us. Anyway, it won't happen. It is our way of seeing things, deeper than just a fashion concept. Our A/W 2013 collection is about gardens, crosswords and leisure. A beautiful winter time. The falling of oak leaves. Some touristic villages that are slowly falling asleep. Something sweet and happy.

4. Tell us about your book, Perceptions, which you co-authored with Chloé Delaume.

Perceptions is a very personal project. As we were working on the S/S 2013 collection and looking at François' drawings, we thought we had something more than just design stuff. I felt that there was something else. And we had this title "perceptions" in mind. I called our friend Chloé Delaume and showed her the drawings. I told her about many ideas I had and a few days later, she gave us a beautiful text. A mix of poetry and conceptual writing. It was exactly what we needed to go further. We then decided to find a publisher for the book.

5. Your favourite post-show hang-out in Paris?

We go in the Île Saint Louis, which is in the very center of Paris, but it gives you a feeling of abandonment. It is very special. Not many Parisians go there. There is a cafe called "Les fous de l'Île" that we love.

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