SECONDHAND ROSE: French nonprofit organization Renaissance is staging an auction of outfits made from repurposed designer clothes, including one-of-a-kind looks worn by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu and Ashley Park on season two of “Emily in Paris.”
The group, founded by fashion industry veteran Philippe Guilet, provides training for job seekers through a six-month program aimed at familiarizing them with the techniques and jargon of haute couture, the top end of the fashion pyramid that relies on highly qualified workers to produce made-to-measure clothes.
Renaissance is offering 76 lots in the auction, to be held on Thursday at Drouot in Paris to coincide with Paris Couture Week. They include 44 upcycled outfits, accessories, jewelry and photographs, with proceeds going toward funding the training program.
A chain-embroidered cream dress and jacket worn by Leroy-Beaulieu in the popular Netflix series is estimated at 400 to 500 euros. Park’s “Mount Fuji” dress, made by splicing a Sonia Rykiel dress with embroidered Yohji Yamamoto combat pants, is expected to fetch 150 to 180 euros.
Based in a low-income housing estate in the south of Paris, the workshop welcomes participants from as far afield as Chechnya, Algeria, Morocco, Ukraine, Turkey, Guinea, Moldova, France, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and Brazil, and includes both experienced tailors and absolute beginners.
Guilet, who spent almost a decade working as director of research alongside Jean Paul Gaultier, has capitalized on a growing trend for sustainable fashion, which has been reinforced by the introduction of a French law banning companies from destroying unsold products. His “Detox ton Stock” program aims to help fashion brands find new uses for their inventory.
To demonstrate its skills, his team created outfits incorporating items including vintage kimonos; a Jean Paul Gaultier suit; a Fendi dress; a Christian Lacroix haute couture skirt, and a lot of 20 wedding dresses donated by bridal designer Celestina Agostino.
Some were embroidered on-site, while others were embellished via a partnership with the Kalhath Institute, an embroidery center in India.
Guilet has managed to attract a number of high-profile backers, with donors ranging from leading socialites like Jacqueline de Ribes, who gave one of her couture gowns, to companies including construction firm Vinci and airport operator Groupe ADP, which have donated uniforms for upcycling.