Lou de Bètoly
EMBELLISHING THE BIZZARE
Chaos, surrealism, nostalgia, decadence, extravagance and oneirism head the glossary of the Berlin-based designer from Paris. In her cosmos, grande dames, homeless people and fairies live together. Squatters, someone from another planet and the Queen of Hearts would also be there. Taste rules in her world, ruled by an eccentric elegance that also calls for reflection on the limits, social function and language of fashion. Lou de Bètoly is a punk artisan who surprises again and again with the use of unexpected materials, endless details and clothes that come close to the pieces of art that she also creates.
So, you call yourself “aristocratic punk”. What proportion of each are you and why.
I think this sentence came out when I started the project. My artist name, Lou de Bètoly, it's an anagram of my birth name. This means it contains all its letters but mixed to became a new one. The de is a bit of a parody. You know, surnames with it make it sound like you belong to a kind of aristocratic family. So it was about this and also about the whole concept of playing around the borders of the taste. There is a kind of destroyed punk influence, but with something very decadent to it so this was the whole idea.
Do you separate Lou de Bètoly's character from the non-character. Is one more real than the other?
For me there is no differentiation. It’s still the letters of my first name so I don't see it as a character. It’s who I am.
And if you could be anyone else for a day, who would it be?
That’s a difficult question, but I'd say maybe Buddha.
What sign are you,? Are you interested in the zodiac?
I'm an Aries. I like the idea that we were born under a certain constellation. I don’t check it daily or think that it’s going to happen, but yeah, I do find it interesting.
When and why did you move to Berlin?
It was a while ago. I think it was 2010 or 2011. It was a mix of coincidence and also curiosity. Back then, I worked with a German business partner. So we decided to go for a few months and see what would happen, then I ended up here. I'd been to Berlin before and I remember that, coming from Paris, it felt so free, wild and very inspiring, completely different. I mean, I loved my life in Paris and I still love Paris.
Decadence and extravagance are other fetishes of yours. Do you see them here?
Yes I do, and I think its because both ideas go with big cities in general. I have the image that big cities kind of break certain borders.
Who do you design for?
I don't have a specific person in mind when I design. But I do believe that if I would have to describe a character that I imagine it's somebody very free and very daring and self-confident, whatever the age.
Outside fashion, you presented works in Berlin Art week and exhibitions such as Misa and The Fairest. What differences and similarities do you find in your process when creating a piece of clothing and an artwork? How does the functionality of each influence you?
I started to show artworks recently but I can find some similarities for sure. I really aim to play around with the borders of arts and crafts, on the limits. Because what is fine art and what is decorative art? What is interesting in terms of art pieces is that you don't need to think of functionality. From my perspective it's interesting to be able to do both.
Your brand parodies and questions good taste in the sense of the established. The bizarre and the deviant, the kitsch are a source of beauty. Do you think this stance has grown in fashion in recent years? What do you think the most extreme manifestation is of it that remains within the fashion spectrum?
I don't know, but I guess that fashion stands for questioning. I mean, in my opinion, fashion is something that changes all the time. So it's changing fast, it's changing and that's what fashion is. Otherwise, we would still dressed like 300 years ago. So I guess fashion and avant-garde fashion is about always breaking borders. I wouldn’t say its a trend, I would say is something that fashion should stand for. And what you mentioned about the bizarre and the kitsch, these are sources of beauty that I find very inspiring and interesting.
What is success?
For me, it’s probably first of all, being able to enjoy life and probably being able to live your life like you imagine it without necessarily fitting in a mould.
Name: One favourite rock band.
That’s difficult but maybe Pink Floyd.
The film you watched the most.
As a child you always rewatch and rewatch the same one, so I guess it's probably something from my childhood: Alice in Wonderland.
To do what I like every day.
Dream to come true.
To travel more and enjoy more.
Words: Delfina Martinez Mendiberry
Photography: Tristan Roesler
Portrait: Iga Drobisz