>> With all the anti-traditional fashion show or anti-fashion-cycle talk as of late — thanks to designers like Tom Ford and Azzedine Alaia — one more designer is expressing her disinterest for such things. Valerie Delafosse, the head designer at Eres for the past five years, says she isn't interested in runway shows or fashion weeks.
In order to keep the company's designs tightly under wraps — on average, a new Eres swimwear collection takes two years to develop — and to prevent copying, Eres hosts buyers and journalists — who come on invitation only — twice a year at company headquarters in Paris. Delafosse creates one major collection of about 80 swimsuits a year, each of which are tested in a number of different conditions — from sand and sun to washing machines and chlorine.
Most of the Eres staff will also "test-drive" prototype designs to see how they work on different bodies and under everyday conditions. In fact, Delafosse believes that Eres must have a predominantly female staff and be run by a woman designer: “You really have to have a deep understanding of the female body. You need to try things on, and it is only by trying things on myself that I discover what works and what doesn’t. There is a female sensibility to it. A man is going to be more focused on the fantasy and his own projections of a woman, whereas a woman will focus on the realities of a woman’s daily life.”
Delafosse has no interest in trends, she says: “I don’t follow trends, I don’t even know what they are, I just follow my own intuition. Since I started at Eres I have always felt that I was working on a very long story and every season I develop a bit more of that same story ... I like to work with colors that are not necessarily easy to wear on the beach. I try and make my colors a little strange, not common or expected; something that is always out of the ordinary.”
She also is comfortable working within the modest Eres style and not catering to every customer: “I don’t know if Brazilians, with their swimwear culture of ‘the smaller the better’ will enjoy Eres’s more covered-up style ... What I want to do with Eres is, on the contrary, make suits that elongate the silhouette and create a harmony between the body and the bathing suit, so that each swimsuit suits the woman wearing it.”