Julien Fournié Invites Us To Join His Coven

As he celebrated the House’s 10th anniversary, Julien Fournié unveiled “First Spell” ( “Premier Sortilège” in French), his dark and haunted Fall/Winter 2019 collection. Magical, poisonous, smart and surprisingly committed, there is actually more to it than you might expect from a Couture collection. To our great pleasure!

Unleash The Witches

Julien Fournié does not fear eccentricity for he knows how to perfectly balance everything!
This undoubtedly is one of the main reasons why every collection brings its share of surprises. And we love it! 

Dark, beastly and demonish, “First Spell” is all about witches, malicious and evil glamour with a perfect goth and sassy vibe. Still, as usual with Julien Fournié, the collection remains chic and unprovocative.
The designer manages to create a dark atmosphere with enough elegance and sophistication to keep the clichés and silliness away. We are talking about witches here, not vampires…

In Julien Fournié’s world, Snow White is tired of being a princess in distress.
After centuries of being in jeopardy,  she and all women are getting fully conscious of their strength and power.
Freed from oppression, they sport precious feathers, python and alligator leather as tribute to their natural freedom, wild tempers and insubordination. 

Women are back in a State of Nature in which they are free, fierce, confident and all the more elegant.  

Beware, if you dare approach them.

Women Dressed In Black, Leather And Feminism

Behind the glamour and shiny polish, “First Spell” displays a more socially-committed side.

For that, “First Spell” is a perfect demonstration of Julien Fournié’s technical skills and exceptional artistic sensitivity.
It is cleverly designed to be looked at and read at different levels. 

At first glance, the collection can easily be seen as a typically Couture tribute to elegance and refinement. A celebration of the woman’s body through many references to popular culture, fairy-tales and princesses. But in the eyes of whom is willing to question the whole status of said princesses, “First Spell” turns out to be strongly feminist as it glorifies the witches the villains and the outcast over the typically helpless fairy-tale damsel in distress.

With the help of his coven, Julien Fournié wants to cast a counterspell, break the malediction launched at all women centuries ago which keeps them quiet, overshadowed and under the influence of men.

Besides social activism, it is also a fair tribute to women who were and still are unjustifiably silenced all over the world, for being considered wicked, witches, healers or alchemists of any sort.

Women are back in control. They are accountable to no one but themselves and do not need to comply with anyone’s rule. 

It is up to them to define what is elegant, beautiful or sexy. And as we’ve explored with Julien Fournié before, it does not necessarily include nudity!

Modest Free And Unapologetic

First Spell remains in line with Julien Fournié’s style and habit of using as much fabric as possible! 

High-collars buttoned up to the chin, long dresses, fluid skirts,  large sleeves and even gloves, Julien Fournié’s witches are covered from head to toe in both fabric and self-confidence.

We picked a few pieces which perfectly sum up the vibe and from which you can draw inspiration (or purchase if you can afford. In that case, you are a very lucky girl!). The collection is essentially modest and our list is only partial. Do not hesitate and check all the modest looks!

Julien Fournié tops the Modest Fashion game with this pastel, sophisticated, aristocrat dress.

The high-collar paired with pastel colours and Victorian style make for a very Lolita, good-girl kind of vibe. 

The golden embroidered parts and bow add a bit of coldness and a feeling of extreme self-confidence. 

A true reminder not at first lance and to remember the (d)evil’s always in the details…

This look encapsulates all the genius in Julien Fournié’s vision. Typically feminine and yet not sissy looking, it’s a perfect balance of everything.
The austerity of the plum-coloured skirt is immediately countered by the light-headedness of a more pinkish top. 

As for modesty, it is always a game of hide and seek with Julien Fournié.
Arms are half-hidden by the fluidity of the sleeve and half-revealed by the semi-transparent fabric.

Extra points for the trousers underneath a shorter-than-average skirt.

We are not sure whether this design is a tribute to Julien Fournié’s Spanish origins but we love the light Iberian touch brought by the lace on that black veil. 

This look signals the end of the “leopard prints are kitsch” era. 

What it conveys here is a deep feeling of freedom and fierceness: the dual identity of a grieving Spanish lady and an unstoppable, determined femme-fatale.

This look is full of symbols.
Witches are mysterious, incredibly sophisticated yet almost primitive creatures.
Covered in python leather and black feathers, she is dangerous as a snake, malicious as a crow.
Julien Fournié plays hide and seek again with the female body.
Hands are carefully hidden by gloves but wrists are shown naked, as to always reveal a bit but not too much at once.

Probably the most magical and fantastic piece of the collection, this look truly brings fairy-tales and magic on the catwalk.

The Renaissance-inspired design, dramatic corset, black mesh and otherworldly colour make it the perfect dress for a wicked queen. 

Maleficent maybe?

Also, what could possibly be more modest than a ruff around the neck? 

BONUS: If you failed to spot the Disney-villain vibe in this collection, this Cruella De Vil-inspired look should convince you!

Julien Fournié created a delightful, light-headed moment in the Fashion Week rush and chaos by placing this mesmerising Haute-Couture version of a cultural icon on the catwalk!

The whole show perfectly illustrated the magical and fantastic atmosphere of the collection. 

Models really took on the catwalk, presented their best moves and pulled an incredible show in a performance sometimes closer to acting than modelling. 

What a breath of fresh air that is, watching women acting real, free to use their natural body language and palette of facial expressions.
If models usually walk straight in an excessively dull and unemotional way, that is just another tradition of the fashion world Julien Fournié is happy to ignore!

Julien Fournié is unpredictable. But if there is one thing we can always be sure of, it is that he will find a way to be different. He makes it clear that his work is not only about designing pretty dresses: “We do not do fashion, we create characters.” 

First Spell” perfectly illustrates that statement. The collection features many characters, past present and future, serious and humorous: a woman breaking the chains of patriarchy, the ghost of a witch wrongfully burnt at the stake, a scary cartoon character, coming together to question our vision of femininity.

Author: Renaud Petit