I recently went to visit Camille Roman of La Tour de Force in her studio as I needed some hats for a shoot. Of course I fell in love with her oversized bows! I had a chance to ask her some questions about her work:
What inspired you to become a hat maker?
CR – I love that creating hats allows you to form a landscape for a concentrated area of the body. I have been designing hugely elaborate couture looks since I was small, though back then they were costumes for a troupe of figure-skating dancers with gymnastic capabilities. I started making hats as it allowed me to realise some of these idea of a smaller scale, in a way that I could afford to produce them.
How would you describe your style?
CR – I like drama and extremes, so extremely minimal or extremely complicated in a visible way. I am really interested in how people form visual association, so there are always a lot of literal references in the collections. Always the aim is to create something dramatic or humorous while covetable at the same time. If I was going to verbal mash-it though, I would say;
Parisian glamour + Japanese abstraction.
You’ve recently moved to designing garments has that been a natural progression for you?
CR – Totally, I have always designed clothing alongside the Headpieces, and a lot of the time the details easily translate well in either form. At the moment I am still focusing on creating garments that work as components in the way that accessories do. The next season’s collection is called ‘The Peripheral Ingredient’ because there will be a mixture of Headpiece and Clothing which essentially have the same role in an outfit.
Did your experiences at Lanvin, Zac Posen and Johnny Loves Rosie influence you?
CR – Definitely, I think your experiences in other design houses always help you work out how you want to run your own business. I have always gone away from these places having more respect for the designers because of the way they operate with alot of integrity. I think it is really important to get things done perfectly, but always make sure that the people you work with are having a good experience. Working such long hours in fashion- you really have to enjoy it or what’s the point!
Do you wear your headpieces?
CR – As strange as it sounds, I only wear them in the creative process. I am pretty minimal in terms of my personal style, i could just wear a tapered pillowcase every day, therefore I am not interested in designing for myself as I find that pretty limiting. I love to design pieces that I want to see on other people, and that I think they will want. It is so satisfying to see other people wearing something you have made, and for me it’s about the realistation of an idea that can be used.
What advice do you have for students wanting to study fashion?
CR – I think it is really important to see your limitations as opportunity to be more creative. I think fashion is a pretty difficult subject psychologically because there is often so much pressure and a lot of competition within institutions. I think it is really important only to make sure judge yourself by your own standards and be objective, so that you can enjoy it as much as possible and always be sure of your purpose…. When people leave education, I believe it is the confidence in being able to achieve what you want and like that will keep you going, and is probably the most important thing to gain before you graduate.