Gauthier Borsarello

PARIS — De Fursac has named Gauthier Borsarello creative director and plans to draw on his experience working with vintage clothing to expand its collections of French tailoring for men.

“We see the appointment of Gauthier as opening a new chapter,” said Elina Kousourna, chief executive officer of the brand, thanking his predecessor, Alix Le Naour, who is stepping down after a decade in the position.

“I’m inspired by the era and the neighborhood that the brand is rooted in,” Borsarello remarked, noting De Fursac’s role as an accessible French men’s tailoring label since the ’70s. He hinted at a focus by the brand on that period, as well as its roots on Rue Richelieu in Paris.

The recent holiday period allowed him time to plunge into the brand’s history and its presence on the boulevards of Paris.

“I found a lot of very interesting things that I’d like to integrate into the global artistic direction for products, but also in terms of image,” noted Borsarello.

A specialist in vintage clothing — he sells concert T-shirts from the ’90s and Adidas sneakers from the ’80s through his namesake website — Borsarello has learned about fashion from inspecting used clothing. Borsarello, who is 32, was trained in classical music, first the cello, then the bass, but made the switch to the fashion industry after playing in national orchestras in France.

“It’s the study of vintage clothing that helps me design better today,” he said, speaking to WWD through a Zoom call.

Borsarello has worked as a stylist and freelance designer, advising various brands including watch labels and brand image specialist Atelier Franck Durand, and also sold vintage clothing for Ralph Lauren’s Boulevard Saint Germain flagship in Paris. Le Naour brought him on at De Fursac in April last year as a consultant.

“I’m not like clothing archivists who say it was better before — that doesn’t interest me. I would like to know what was better before, to try to make it sexy for today,” he said.

“There’s nothing more ecologically minded than a good piece of clothing — there’s no point in making something out of organic materials if it’s poorly made, it’s better to make something that’s very well constructed and that lasts 10 years — this is what I intend to do at De Fursac,” he said, citing plans to develop well-made products with good quality fabrics.

Asked about his vision of French style — his focus will span the ’60s to the early ’80s — he emphasized the functional side of tailoring.

“For me, French style is austere. It’s a bit sad, it’s strict, it’s demanding, well thought out and rational — made to last but with plenty of panache underneath,” he said.

Describing the approach to men’s clothing in France as meant to fit a certain function — and to last — it was less festive, contrasting with Italian style, which tended to be more flamboyant, as well as the more austere English looks, added Borsarello.

“French style is a good balance between the two, and this is what I’d really like to develop at De Fursac,” he said. The Nouvelle Vague period of the ’60s is another area of interest, he said, citing the strong cultural exchanges between France and Italy at that time.

De Fursac was purchased by SMCP in September 2019, joining the group’s contemporary fashion labels Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. The group plans to expand the label abroad, as it has with its other brands, and add accessories and more casual looks. While the coronavirus pandemic has shifted the group’s priorities, including slowing the pace of store expansion, De Fursac opened a store in London late last year and is also sold in Luxembourg. Next up, nearby markets like Spain and Belgium.

A project to rejuvenate De Fursac’s main Rue Richelieu flagship, just downstairs from company headquarters on a bustling crossroads, is set to take place this year.

The brand has 60 sales points and 20 stores.

Borsarello’s first collection for the brand will be spring 2022.

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