Jean-Paul Lespagnard x Jean Galler: An EGG-citing partnership in Liège Fashion - 07 March 2016
Both were born and bred in Liège. The first is a fashion designer, winner of the Hyères festival in 2008, and today at the helm of a cutting-edge brand rooted in popular culture. The second, also a purveyor of good taste, is the owner of a chocolate empire that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. For Easter, at the invitation of Jean Galler, Jean-Paul Lespagnard has come up with an egg in his own image: light-hearted, colourful and, of course, aesthetic.
In recent years, Jean-Paul Lespagnard has been involved in a number of partnerships but maintains that this one, the first variation of which can be discovered this Easter, "is the most successful of all." He tells us that "When Jean Galler approached me to discuss a possible cooperation between our two brands, I was immediately won over by the idea. Galler Chocolate is my childhood. It takes me back to those colourful bars that you bought when you had collected enough coins." This marriage between fashion and chocolate is therefore a kind of throwback to his childhood for the designer and also marks his first collaboration with the food sector. "What I like about this chocolate-maker is that Jean Galler has managed to create a luxury product that, through intelligent use of machines and technology, can be distributed in supermarkets. At my level, I have also always made sure that my clothes continue to appeal to the general public, that they do not become too elitist."
A real exchange
Jean-Paul Lespagnard is not one to follow the beaten path, to hash and rehash over and over ad nauseam. Throughout the year 2016, 12 months during which Jean Galler will be celebrating his 40th anniversary in the business, he will therefore come up with several colourful creations. The year will get off to a cracking start with an egg-citing project for the Easter celebrations. "My collections are always rooted in the popular culture of different countries. For this egg, I was inspired by traditional Romanian eggs divided into three parts. In my version for Galler, the top, middle and bottom of the egg are assembled randomly. People can therefore buy 27 different versions decorated with graphic designs that are inspired by some of my prints. Throughout the year, I will also be window dressing the Galler points of sale. I hate temporary partnerships that are over before they begin. For me, there has to be a real exchange. During my discussions with Jean Galler, we really had the opportunity to talk about a lot of different things. He even shared some ideas on how to develop my business. These are the kind of encounters - and only these - that really stimulate me."
Chocolate, dance and...
For Jean-Paul Lespagnard, 2016 will therefore be a year coated with chocolate but also rocked by dance, as the creator, who has already designed costumes for American choreographer Meg Stuart, will continue along this path. He will be designing for her and others, such as Boris Charmatz from the National Choreographic Centre of Rennes and for Malika Djardi. His 2016 will also be marked by continuity and development. "Last year, I put a lot of thought into how to communicate effectively and to unveil a collection at the right time, that is to say when it reaches the stores and not six months before. This trial run encouraged me to continue along this path." And when asked to what he attributes the sharp increase in his international visibility, he adds: "I just think it's the result of a long process. When Jean-Paul Gaultier shows an interest in my collections and asks me to pose with him for a magazine, it's a lucky break, but it doesn’t just come out of nowhere. There is a lot of work behind it."