Victor Weinsanto, new Parisian fashion sensation

In just two years, the 28-year-old Alsatian designer has managed to get it right with his refreshing and responsible burlesque creations, a symbol of true renewal. Portrait.

His name was ahead of everyone else on the Spring-Summer 2023 Fashion Week calendar. On Monday, September 26 at 5:00 p.m., Victor Weinsanto opened Paris Fashion Week with the third runway show of his brand. The next day, the show. Daily he cataloged it as the “new prodigy of fashion”. On Friday, September 30, at the end of this emotionally rich week, she welcomed us near her studio (and her living space) in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. The young man is sitting on her favorite terrace, a drink the same bright orange as his hair placed in front of him. His features reveal both the tension, which she has not completely subsided, as the joy for the work done.

It must be said that the 28-year-old designer can be proud of having achieved, in just a few seasons, the coveted rank of designer on sight. And not just in the eyes of industry commentators. His bold pieces have already conquered Madonna, Olivia Rodrigo, made her way into the show. Emily in Paris and in the show Endurance race France. A dazzling career for those who were destined for the spotlight, but not for the podiums.

From the Lower Rhine to the Parisian catwalks

Far from the Parisian seraglio, it was in Alsace that Victor Weinsanto was born, to a computer scientist father and a hospital executive mother. Nobody around him works in a creative industry. However, it was when he saw his mother and his sister dance that he developed a passion for this art. After the Conservatory, he rushes into an intense sports curriculum, which makes him travel but imprisons him in a rigor that does not suit him. At 17, he finally returned to Strasbourg and became interested in fashion “a bit by chance”. He sees in this practice the creative freedom that he did not find in dance.

Kouglof bag and traditional headdress, Weinsanto invokes his region of origin during the parade Hopla-geiss. (Paris, September 27, 2021.) Abaca

Sewing has never been so far away: her mother and maternal grandmother practice it. And it turns out that Victor feels immense affection for his grandmother. He to the point of changing his surname, Brunstein, for his own when founding his brand: Weinsanto. His grandmother’s voice will also accompany his first show at Paris Fashion Week in September 2021. You can hear her say the name of the collection, Hopla-geiss, expression that translates mood in Alsatian. Family and roots: two leitmotifs for someone who left Alsace so soon.

Saviors and good fairies

With the baccalaureate in hand, the young Victor entered the Atelier Chardon Savard school in Paris and multiplied his internships, in particular at Y/Project, as an admirer of Glenn Martens. He then joins the ranks of Jean Paul Gaultier, a few weeks before the latter’s final show. During this internship, Victor Weinsanto prepares his first collection at night and, by day, participates in the last of what he calls “Monsieur”: a tender, old-fashioned, deference brand typical of fashion houses, which he preserves . of his experience. He also forged bonds there with the Grande Dame, a drag queen who participated in the show (and would later wear one of her creations on the show). Endurance race France ). A week after Gaultier’s final salute, he puts out what was to be a “crash test parade,” a portfolio of sorts, in an attempt to find a job. We are at the beginning of March 2020 and seven days later, the first confinement changes the situation: “I told myself: the hiring is over. As long as you do, you might as well create your own brand.”

That day, Victor Weinsanto manages to get the attention of Adrian Joffe. The designer’s influential partner Rei Kawakubo leads the threads of Dover Street Market, an avant-garde and prestigious concept store. Appreciating the energy of this first parade baptized Connes-sur-Mer, and moved by the presence of his entire family, offered unexpected logistical and commercial support. “Adrian was our savior”, recalls the creator today. Always accompanied by his parents, supported by his partner (model agent and accountant for the brand in his spare time), and by a team of young people hired after their internships, Victor Weinsanto launches headfirst. And luck smiled at him. Journalist Loïc Prigent documents the first steps of him and Marylin Fitoussi, costume designer for Emily in ParisDress up Filipino actress Leroy-Beaulieu in one of her sexy dresses in Season 1 of the series. A remarkable look: Sales of this dress, as well as its denim pieces, will put the brand on the rails.

Cabaret aesthetics and “awake” mode

On the catwalks, the Weinsanto label is synonymous with extravagance: cabaret atmosphere, monumental hats and sexy (and diverse) silhouettes are the designer’s prerogative. What inspires Víctor Weinsanto? He cannot give a precise example, he speaks of extravagant women and “ideas that make him laugh”. Comme celle de faire défiler son ami créateur Charles de Vilmorin avec ses propres dessins suspendus au-dessus de la tête pour le show printemps-été 2023. His motivations are plus précises: donner une image de l’Alsace «more sexy than sauerkraut et sausages.” Thus, he makes his cultural heritage a playground, with pretzel harnesses, kelsh weaving, and revisited traditional headgear, particularly in the collection. Hopla-geiss. Translated to prêt-à-porter, her vision of glorious femininity is presented in pieces with architectural cuts, emphasizing the lines of the body. They are acclaimed by the industry, with a place as a finalist for the LVMH award in 2022. On the star side, among their followers, they count Madonna, Daphne Burki or Bilal Hassani.

Victor Weinsanto invites Leroy-Beaulieu from the Philippines to close his fall-winter 2022-2023 fashion show. (Paris, February 28, 2022.) Abaca

Creative but far from crazy, Victor Weinsanto has a strong opinion on fashion: “It’s entertainment, dreamlike; a political domain, because it represents an identity; but also an unreasonable industry.” From here follows, according to him, the mission of his generation of creators: “Ringardiser the system” giving each one a bit of meaning. A movement that includes Kevin Germanier, Alphonse Maitrepierre, Benjamin Benmoyal, Charles de Vilmorin… They all maintain friendly relations and help each other whenever they can.

The new scenario is due to its good practices: using French materials, recycled, manufactured locally, using transport with a lower C02 impact… Always keeping in mind the “quality value for money”, Victor Weinsanto is also pulling their margins to limit their prices. And he advocates common sense: “If you buy a piece, you can keep it for 3, 4 years, for life. Today, we have lost the value of a garment, we buy pieces made for 3 cents on the other side of the world in frankly not terrible conditions; Suddenly, we lose sight of the fact that it is not normal to consume excessive clothing.

If it is not considered irreproachable, the designer claims an “awakened” fashion. And he dreams of always having fun, whether it’s with his label, as artistic director of a house -if the brand’s discourse speaks to him-, or even in a completely different field. “The main thing is to have fun, so as not to regret it. To be a rich creator in my ivory tower, no thanks.

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