An interview between Cecilia and Dominique.
Dominique and I have been friends for many years.
We have celebrated, commiserated and, most of all, travelled together.
I thought interviewing her would be a formality: I knew what my friend would say… How very wrong, my questions are average; her answers are not.
Never take your friends for granted.
Dominique Lesourd is also founder and CEO of ddoo collective. The philosophy of ddoo collective is to create a line inspired by traditional garments, restyled to fit contemporary life and interpreted by personal taste.
Dominique, how was ddoo born?
I have always been searching for a form of elegance without special effects, defined by a discretion of lines; never to be fashionable, but always looking to fashion for inspiration, in search of a personal style.
Explain the concept of personal style.
I would say a correspondence between the extreme simplicity of a form that suits you and great attention to detail: an original print, a subdued shade, or an impeccable cut.
I cannot wear a big necklace or very brilliant colours, as I am always afraid to be “voyant”, showy; I prefer small or graphic prints. I don’t feel at ease in dresses, especially if they are too feminine. I would say that for me elegance is the opposite of showy and a good balance between feminine and masculine.
I like the idea!
Now that we talk about it, I remember very well how my passion for an androgynous, male/female style was born.
In the late seventies, I must have been 17 or 18 years old, my mother used to take me to Yves Saint Laurent fashion shows. At the time, YSL looked for inspiration in tradition, travel wear, and male fashion. These were YSL’s highly revolutionary years, in terms of fashion: “le Smoking” for women, the Saharienne jacket, the African prints.
He surfed on male clothes adding at the same time a touch of femininity and sensuality, by a transparency here and a split there. I was mesmerised.
I have dark hair and eyes and was always considered exotic among my blond and blue-eyed Parisian friends: here was a style that would define me and that I could reinvent as mine.
My mother let me borrow her white sarouel trousers, of Mauritanian heritage, that I would wear with a big kaftan in white linen and a wide leather belt from Morocco. The outfit came from a Saint Laurent collection full of references to traditional garments, minus the exotic aura: beautiful, unique clothes to wear in everyday life. I loved that outfit!
Both my parents had a great influence on my aesthetics. At the age of 14 I travelled with them to Tunisia, where they, who are French, had lived at the time they met and married. It was for them a pilgrimage to their youth, and for me a discovery of my cultural roots: in Tunisia, I was surrounded by the kind of art crafts, materials, jewellery, leather, carpets, ceramics, food and colours that had always been present in our home and in North Africa were part of everybody’s life.
So, Saint Laurent through your mother, craft through your family history…
… And contemporary art through my father. He was in love with 20th-century abstract art and modern architecture. He always looked for clean shapes, essential design, and purity of lines.
My father had a passion for jazz, the music that, in his mind, completed his vision of current times. The house was full of music.
Art and music for you…
Because of the atmosphere at home, my first love was jazz. Under the influence of my father’s tastes, I fell for strong female artists like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald: Billie for the innovative way she expressed old sorrows, through her singing and improvisation skills; Ella, the First Lady of scatting, for she could imitate any instrument with her voice and improvise any melody.
During adolescence, I went through a sort of musical rebellion, with the discovery of Patti Smith. She was then, and still is for me, a thoroughly engaged artist and woman who eschews the pretty girl looks, preferring black trousers, white t-shirts, occasionally a gentleman’s hat.
Patti Smith herself sang a song by another artist, Veronique Samson, whom I appreciate for her capacity to go against the fashion of her times. Veronique Samson is one of the first French singer-songwriters, following in Barbara’s footsteps. Contrary to what went on in French pop in the seventies, she established herself in the tradition of the American songwriters, writing and singing her hugely successful, engaged music.
The last artist I am going to quote, Fabienne Verdier, a contemporary painter and musician, unifies in her work art and music. She went to China in the early eighties, driven by her love for calligraphy and need for knowledge. For her, brushstrokes represent movement and instability; I admire and share her total commitment to the dynamics of form.
You live in London now…
My interest for contemporary art was rekindled by our move to London twenty years ago.
At the time London, faithful to its multicultural vocation, was teeming with creative activity: YBAs had appeared, along with new art from China, South America, Africa. With a friend, we formed an all-women group, Cutting Edge, dedicated to studying and understanding contemporary art forms. What fun we had: Berlin, New York, Stockholm, the Venice Biennale… The joy of learning: our aim was very serious, our approach light. It was a great moment of friendship.
Friendship, talent, commitment. We come back to ddoo…
I believe that ddoo clothes are born from experiences gathered throughout my life. Shapes give rhythm, design offers order and discipline. My and ddoo collective travels, geographical and otherwise, are our constant inspiration for the luxury silk travel clothing collections.
Thank you, Dominique.