In conjunction with the summer 2015 photoshoot, Stonewash Magazine spoke with each of the graduating Lasell College designers. They shared a few thoughts on inspiration, process, style, and what important lessons they will carry with them as they venture out into the world of fashion.Editor, David Sano

 

 

  Jaime Fortier has the benefit of knowing exactly where her design interests lie. “I’m really into formal-wear and really elegant looks,” she says. “So when I do research to design things, I’m always looking at gowns and any type of formalwear.”

When it came time to conceptualize her Lasell College senior collection, Fortier already knew what kind of clothing she wanted to make, but she still needed a concept. Fortunately, that too came naturally. “My family, our lineage is super French and I love it so much,” she says, “so I wanted to do something that paid homage to that.”

The result was La Reine, which means “The Queen” in French. “It’s a bridal line. It’s based off of Versailles,” says Fortier. While some of the impetus for the collection was familial, there was an important element of direct exposure. “I went to Paris last summer, which is how I pulled all my inspiration,” Fortier recalls. “I went to Versailles and that’s why [La Reine] is so colorful, because I wanted it to look like – kind of like a royal wedding from the 1800s.”

The French sense of style agreed instantly with Fortier. “It’s so classy, it’s so elegant, I love it,” she gushes. “To me it’s a lot more sophisticated than anywhere else. It’s just classic, it’s kind of like the fashion center of the world. I love it there.”

After returning from France, Fortier was able to undertake her research with a sense of purpose. “I already knew what I wanted to do, so I just gathered pictures,” she recalls. “I watched Marie Antoinette like seven times, to see… the style and how they carried themselves in the garments.”

“I just like how it’s grand, and everyone’s elegant and sophisticated and they just look really clean and nice,” Fortier says of formalwear. However, with La Reine, she wanted to balance the style’s inherent grandiosity with a sense of minimal grace. “I like simple silhouettes more. I kind of take a less-is-more approach to it. I like when the person’s beauty can shine through even when they’re wearing a beautiful gown… I want the person to complement the clothing.”

Despite the scale of her creations, Fortier always remains laser-focused on one particular fundamental. “For me personally, construction is always the most important thing. Because if something doesn’t fit, it’s not going to look good, no matter what,” she warns. This idea may seem backward, given La Reine’s grand designs, but as Fortier explains it, it makes perfect sense. “I kind of went into fashion because I like to sew. I really like to make things fit, so that’s like my first priority, and then I’ll go back and make sure and make sure it looks really good.”

 

 

Fortier says that Lasell was a great environment for ambitious experiments. One of the most important lessons she learned was “Definitely to think big, and go for your ideas. They’re always really encouraging thinking outside of the box and making something that you would never make before.”

At Lasell, Fortier and her classmates had the chance to spread their wings in a way that might not come so easily in the real world. “In school you have time to learn if you mess up or if you can’t get your idea right, then there’s always someone there to help you. So they definitely stress making something that is crazy… something that you might never make again, just for the experience.”

Speaking of the real world, Fortier is ready for whatever comes next. “I feel very prepared,” she says. “I’m so ready to go out there and do whatever I want… I’m definitely prepared.”

She’ll carry a number of skills with her. Among the most important: “Definitely my attention to detail. I don’t like to leave anything out. I check things time and time again to make sure everything’s right and in order. In terms of technical things, my strongest points are definitely sewing… and I’m really good at [Adobe] Illustrator.”

A project with the expansive scope and intricate detail of La Reine could easily cause burnout on the style, but not for Fortier. “I just really like formalwear,” she says. “I feel like I’ll probably just make prom dresses for the rest of my life… In terms of designing I think I would stick to formalwear, unless something changes my mind, but so far nothing has.”

Fortier wants her designs to have a distinct impact on everyone who sees and wears them. “When they see them on the rack I want them to feel like ‘Wow, that’s a really classy gown,’ ” she says. “When they’re in them I want them to feel really elegant and really confident. Not just pretty, or like ‘Oh this a really nice gown,’ I want them to feel and exude confidence out of what they are wearing, and I think I can do that through just making really sophisticated and elegant gowns.”  -Editor, David Sano

 

You can take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of La Reine and keep up with Jaime Fortier’s adventures in fashion at jaime-designs.tumblr.com.

 

 

 

 

Click on photo gallery to view more of Designer Jaime Fortier collection Photo Gallery 

 

 

 

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