Isabel Marant: ‘Playing around with garments was my way of making people notice me’ | Life and style

I had a beautiful and loving childhood. I wasn’t raised by my mother. She left when I was only five, so I lived with my father and stepmother. But I saw Mum every other weekend and my parents got on super-well. We often went on holidays together. It wasn’t a problem.

Mum was super-cool. It was the 1980s, she wore a lot of Kenzo. All those blouses, flowers, colour… A lot of red. I love red because of her.

I was a tomboy and my stepmother was like a Saint Laurent model. She’s an attractive black Caribbean woman. So chic. But it always got on my nerves because she’d spend so long putting on makeup and getting ready.

Playing around with garments was my way of making people notice me. I wasn’t a pretty child. My father had lovely paisley silk robes from Bloomingdale’s. I used to wear them to school with tartan slippers and everyone thought I was weird. Although the main reason was that I just had a very precise idea of what I wanted to wear.

My plan was only to make things that I wanted to wear and to share my love of craft. We call fashion an industry, but there’s a human being behind everything we do and make.

There are a lot of people in fashion who take themselves very seriously. We’re not saving lives. Sometimes when I am despairing about something, I say to myself, “Oh come on, Isabel!” You have to put things in perspective.

I couldn’t live without music. I love hip-hop, jazz, electronic, rock, reggae… I do a lot of DJing at my own parties.I play the right tracks though. I can put a good energy out there. But I call myself DJ Moufle [mittens] because I always press the wrong buttons.

After music, my big passion is welding. I started in fashion with a small collection of brass jewellery. Then I started to weld furniture to display my clothes on. Now my son Tala, 18, has taken all my tools. It’s funny; he’s doing exactly what I was doing as a kid. He’s turned his bedroom into a workshop and makes crazy things all day long.

I say I’m not worried about ageing, but of course I look in the mirror and sometimes don’t like what I see. I’m about to turn 55 – it’s the most delicate age for a woman. I wouldn’t mind being Louise Bourgeois aged 80 with a lot of wrinkles; it’s very beautiful to see the signs of your spent life. But the in-between is not great.

Trying on almost everything I design is important. We have all these young models with their great bodies, but I have to put an outfit on, too, so I can see what it does on an old head, with not such a perfect body.

Always cook for 20 people, never for two. I tend to have a lot of people over at weekends. I’m very French. I make pot au feu or blanquette.

I don’t consider myself a famous, designerbut you do meet people and they think you’re a kind of god. It’s a bit embarrassing.


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