2 DESIGNERS JOIN LINEUP FOR PARIS

Byline: Katherine Weisman

PARIS — Two new names are participating in the haute couture collections here in July. Designers Christophe Rouxel and Ocimar Versolato will show couture collections as invited members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, joining the growing roster of other invited members, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Josephus Thimister, Adeline Andre and Dominique Sirop.
On Sunday, July 19, Rouxel will show roughly 90 models of couture mixed in with his ready-to-wear. He has not yet chosen the venue for his show. The designer, 33, founded his business and signature label in 1992, based on custom-made rtw.
Rouxel works the old-fashioned way and makes toiles for each of his clients, who are mainly French and American; a handful are Asians. He specializes in cut and bias work.
“The show will be based on the ready-to-wear, but I will add less-ordinary clothes and it will serve as a laboratory for my ideas,” said Rouxel Monday.
Rouxel’s background combines fashion design, marketing and market research.
He studied at the Institut Francais de la Mode, a fashion management school here, and later graduated from the Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Upon graduation, he was hired as a couture assistant at Yves Saint Laurent.
“There, every day, I watched Yves Saint Laurent turn this trade into an art,” Rouxel recalled.
He set up a rtw firm under his own name from 1987 to 1990, but closed it when he got an offer to work at Holland & Holland as a brand director in 1991.
His experience outside design includes an event-marketing stint at the IDC subsidiary of French ad giant Publicis, and work as a fashion consultant for Cofremca, a market research firm here.
Rouxel’s firm employs 11. He just opened his company to outside investors and Angel Investments, a U.K. firm with British, American and French investors, now owns a 38 percent stake in the house, which Rouxel said is profitable.
Versolato has always wanted to pursue couture, but perhaps did not have the financial means, suggested Ana Luiza Pessoa de Queiroz, general manager and financial backer of the Versolato business.
“Knowing Ocimar’s career, this is quite a logical decision,” she explained.
Her family’s Pessoa de Quieroz firm is an industrial and financial group based in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Versolato’s native country.
“He has always been naturally drawn to the spirit of haute couture, using luxurious fabrics without the obvious restraints one has with ready-to-wear,” said Pessoa de Queiroz, adding that with the new backing, “we are able to give him all the necessary means to work.”
Versolato’s show will take place in the designer’s new headquarters at 10-12 Place Vendome.

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