Videnoir Couture is a handmade, hand-print lingerie and corsetry brand where you can find unique, one of a kind theatrical items to adorn your outfits. Alis, the owner of Videnoir Couture, quit her job as a costume maker for the theatre and created her own brand at the beginning of 2014.
Hi Alis, thank you for taking some time off your schedule for this interview. Let me begin by asking you how you first got in corsetry and lingerie making. Did you take classes or was it a hobby turned to business?
I was so lucky that my family run a business of corset-making and swimwear from the middle of 800. The mother of my grandmother was a corset maker in France and moved to Italy when she married. My grandmother learnt corset-making from her and run a corset and custom swimwear business in Milano from middle of 900. She taught me the basics but unfortunately she died when I was a teenager. However, I was completely in love with corset-making and the seamstress work so I kept studying and learning by myself while making things. It was never a hobby – I always thought I would like to work as a seamstress so I began making dresses for myself, then for friends and then it became a real job.
Having your own brand is exciting but Can Also be a challenge. How easy or difficult was it to actually create Videnoir?
I have worked a tailor for the theatre, making burlesque and sometimes historical clothing and Cosplay outfits. I was always in love with the gothic style. I personally love dressing up and wearing black clothes especially if they are full of lace, so I was extremely surprised when my style was so appreciated. At the beginning I was running my business and working at the theatre until a couple of months later, when I decided to run only my own brand.
Can you tell us the story behind your brand name? How did you come up with it?
At first, the name of the brand would have been in English since what I was thinking was more international and easier to remember. But since France is the origin of my family, I was really interested in French even though I wasn’t taught at school I studied by myself. I was looking for something that made sense of my style completely. It seems that all the interesting names were already taken in 2013 when I first started thinking about it. I found the association of Black – Void in French Vide – Noir was particularly interesting. I graduated in communication and advertising so this was perfect because of the number of letters and the possibility of logo and working on fonts.
I use the word “void” not as a meaning of nothing but as a black hole where you don’t know what you can find – something unknown and dark where you can find almost everything inside!
Your creations are unique, as with every handmade brand. What inspires you When creating a new design?
I’m really interested in thousand of things – books, films, theatre, fantasy etc and every little thing can help me create a new idea. I’m really interested in historical sewing and clothing so a lot of times inspiration comes from revisited historical garments.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of creating your designs?
I was so lucky to attend an artistic high school so I spent a lot of time drawing what I have in mind. Most of the time, I start to form a idea but when I complete it, it’s entirely different as I’m being distracted by lace and applications. My favorite way to work is starting to form an idea and work directly on the dummy to see the final result.
Do you remember the first design you ever made? What was it and how do you feel about it looking back now?
At the begin of my work, I was obsessed with hand-printed fabric, especially on velvet. My first work was a red corset with hand-printed floral design in black. I think it’s still a good piece and I have to go back to handprint fabric, but I’m a one woman business and unfortunately I do not always have the time to do everything I have in mind.
What is your favorite designer and why?
If I have to say the truth, I’m not fascinated much by fashion, but one of the designers I really love and totally inspired a lot of my designs is Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins – the designer who created some of the most spectacular Michael Jackson outfits.
Do you accept custom orders or just customization of existing designs?
I’m always interested in customer ideas and customization of my designs as many times, my new ideas come from the transformations of the custom order from a customer. I’m a visionary and lots of times I only need one word to change everything I have in mind and start on a new exciting project.
What’s the biggest challenge in your work?
As a small independent business, I always try to create new ideas. I always like to offer new designs to my customers and I try to renew myself each year especially during festival season, introducing the new designs and ideas, of course, along with the old best sellers.
What do you consider your biggest career highlights so far?
I think every step is important and I don’t know which one is the most important, maybe I’m still waiting for it.
You have worked with many models so far. Are you still open to work with more and what makes you say yes to a collaboration?
I really love collaborations but not always have time, running a business by myself where I make everything from start to end all handmade give me a really small time for photoshoot and collaborations. I have some projects processing and I’m always open to collaboration especially with interesting people who don’t made the usual stuff.
Your pieces are very popular amongst the gothic community. Do you feel connected to the goth lifestyle and culture in any way?
I’m a strange kind of goth, I really love the goth couture, wearing black, creating goth but i have strange tastes, for music etc. I just do not feel I would classify myself in a category because the things I like are so many that do not close only in goth.
Indeed most of the people who know me would never associate my brand to me, but as I said I transform all the inputs that I get in my personal style.
Do you have some other passions besides your beautiful creations, any hobbies you really enjoy and can not live without?
I’m a really park fanatic especially of Universal Studios or Disneyland, I was obsessed for years and I still am. My greatest dream many years ago was to work in the Disneyland tailor’s office and almost did it.
What can we expect to see from Videnoir in the future? Any special projects coming up?
At the moment, I’m working on a new style of accessories, hand-drawn and then made with lasercut and 3d machine. I hope to release them soon, they will be avaible at 2017 Wave Gothic Treffen.
Our interview has come to an end. Thank you so much for your time Alis, it was great chatting with you. What message would you like to leave for your fans and our readers?
The most important message is to thanks everyone who follows me. I’m always surprised by the appreciation of my work, especially because I make something I love.