Lapaix / Nïuku

Lapaix / Nïuku

Lenny Guerrier

Where are we?
It’s called Lapaix. It’s a hybrid space hidden in a carpark on the Rue de la Paix in Paris. It’s set to open next spring, so stay tuned!
How did you end up in a carpark?
We were looking for a place to set up our boutique/office/showroom and we came across this unique space completely by chance. When I came to visit it with my friends and associates Theodoros Gennitsakis and Niuku Djawal, we throught we could create a new kind of business…
What’s your background?
I started out in fashion in the early 2000s. I first worked as an assistant to an archivist who was collecting archive pieces from the biggest couture Houses such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent or Hubert de Givenchy. He was also looking for more recent designers such as Kenzo, Comme des Garçons, Prada and Helmut Lang. And alongside that he was interested in work clothes, army uniforms and branded accessories from Houses such as Louis Vuitton, Lancel and Coach. I’ve drawn on this experience, and one of my associates and I have founded a creative agency called “Futur_Institute”. We’ve already started consulting for brands in a range of different fields.
I also opened a concept store called Coïncidence in the Marais neighbourhood of Paris in 2012. We offered a selection of pieces from designers who weren’t that well-known in France at the time, including Martine Rose, Ann-Sofie Back, Unused, Études Studio and Amelie Pichard.
Around the same time I met Niuku, and together we founded our own brand Nïuku. We wanted to create a wardrobe inspired by the fashion archives from the 20th century, which would be expressed through timeless, indispensable pieces. All of our clothing is made in France.
Do you need to combine several creative processes?
Definitely. I think there are several different ways to design and create, so I try to understand and learn about different creative processes, whether it’s in order to design an image, a piece of clothing, an accessory or a piece of clothing.
Every age has its own particular fashion, music, design and art, and it’s the same all over the world. I see working like that as completely logical.
Do you think today’s fashion is struggling to reinvent itself?
I think fashion reinvents itself all the time, through the reinterpretation of classic pieces, different looks and trends. Today’s designers are doing the same thing as today’s music producers: they’re sampling things that have already been done. But you don’t hear anyone saying that music isn’t reinventing itself!
Do you think France is a bit too conservative?
Yes, and it’s probably because of its history. It’s difficult to accept change, but things are changing, and so are people’s mentalities, even in Paris.
Do you think that this evolution in France can be seen through brands such as Vetements and Y/Project?
There is definitely a palpable energy here, and it’s nothing new, it’s just that it wasn’t as perceptible before. We’re currently witnessing something of a general admiration of creative fields, so of course the nation’s eyes are on Paris at the moment. But it’s not solely thanks to the brands. Brands like Vetements, Y/Project and many others are an echo of this trend, but there’s a whole movement that’s getting underway…
Do you really think so..?
There’s a sort of “rebellion for change” in fashion in Paris, which has come from the underground scenes. The brands are trying to upturn the established order through this movement. Just look at how clothing styles, looks, social diversity, music and art are changing! Cinema is the only field in which things are moving more slowly…
"There is definitely a palpable energy here, and it’s nothing new, it’s just that it wasn’t as perceptible before. We’re currently witnessing something of a general admiration of creative fields, so of course the nation’s eyes are on Paris at the moment." [Lapaix / Nïuku]
What about in Milan?
Fashion is also being reinvented in Milan; it’s affecting the biggest Houses such as Prada, Gucci, Marni, Giambattista Valli. But when it comes to new energy, Paris is ahead in my opinion. However, in the menswear prêt-à-porter market, London is now the most creative place to be. The energy there is incredibly powerful, especially with designers such as J.W. Anderson, Craig Green, Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose.
Do you feel French when you’re designing?
Yes I think so, even though most of my influences come from abroad, I’m French and proud! I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, and the city always enchanted and influenced me. It’s impossible to resist? Have you see all the history we have behind us?! For our brand Nïuku, we have 90% of our clothing created in Parisian studios. In our own, very modest way we’re trying to keep this expertise alive…
Do you think it’s important to buy into the whole fashion circus and show-off culture?
It’s not important, but it’s part of the game. We’re in an age where everyone wants to be seen, photographed and get famous. It’s a method that works for some people, so why not? We prefer to work differently by drawing our inspiration from brands that use different methods, either by being outside the system, or by focusing on rarity and discretion with a strong, relevant message.
Don’t you think it’s just well-branded marketing?
Maybe, but I prefer this way of doing things to being the one who’s everywhere, working with everyone and offering something different for everyone at the same time!
Do you think young people take more risks?
The young designers of today are like the young designers of the past, other than that they’ve got far more support in expressing their ideas and desires.
We’re currently in a very visual age, and they really know how to use every means available to stay informed, communicate and impose their vision. But it’s a double-edged sword, because they also think that just because they’ve seen a couple of photos or read a Wikipedia page they know it all. And that’s really dangerous. Just because you’ve seen the cover of a book doesn’t mean you’ve read it!
Who’s really behind Nïuku?
Friends and creatives from completely different worlds that work together perfectly.
What do you think young designers should be doing?
KEEPING IT REAL!
www.lapaix.paris
Photo: Manuel Obadia-Wills et Stas Kalashnikov

Lapaix / Nïuku

Lenny Guerrier

Where are we?
It’s called Lapaix. It’s a hybrid space hidden in a carpark on the Rue de la Paix in Paris. It’s set to open next spring, so stay tuned!
How did you end up in a carpark?
We were looking for a place to set up our boutique/office/showroom and we came across this unique space completely by chance. When I came to visit it with my friends and associates Theodoros Gennitsakis and Niuku Djawal, we throught we could create a new kind of business…
What’s your background?
I started out in fashion in the early 2000s. I first worked as an assistant to an archivist who was collecting archive pieces from the biggest couture Houses such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent or Hubert de Givenchy. He was also looking for more recent designers such as Kenzo, Comme des Garçons, Prada and Helmut Lang. And alongside that he was interested in work clothes, army uniforms and branded accessories from Houses such as Louis Vuitton, Lancel and Coach. I’ve drawn on this experience, and one of my associates and I have founded a creative agency called “Futur_Institute”. We’ve already started consulting for brands in a range of different fields.
I also opened a concept store called Coïncidence in the Marais neighbourhood of Paris in 2012. We offered a selection of pieces from designers who weren’t that well-known in France at the time, including Martine Rose, Ann-Sofie Back, Unused, Études Studio and Amelie Pichard.
Around the same time I met Niuku, and together we founded our own brand Nïuku. We wanted to create a wardrobe inspired by the fashion archives from the 20th century, which would be expressed through timeless, indispensable pieces. All of our clothing is made in France.
Do you need to combine several creative processes?
Definitely. I think there are several different ways to design and create, so I try to understand and learn about different creative processes, whether it’s in order to design an image, a piece of clothing, an accessory or a piece of clothing.
Every age has its own particular fashion, music, design and art, and it’s the same all over the world. I see working like that as completely logical.
Do you think today’s fashion is struggling to reinvent itself?
I think fashion reinvents itself all the time, through the reinterpretation of classic pieces, different looks and trends. Today’s designers are doing the same thing as today’s music producers: they’re sampling things that have already been done. But you don’t hear anyone saying that music isn’t reinventing itself!
Do you think France is a bit too conservative?
Yes, and it’s probably because of its history. It’s difficult to accept change, but things are changing, and so are people’s mentalities, even in Paris.
Do you think that this evolution in France can be seen through brands such as Vetements and Y/Project?
There is definitely a palpable energy here, and it’s nothing new, it’s just that it wasn’t as perceptible before. We’re currently witnessing something of a general admiration of creative fields, so of course the nation’s eyes are on Paris at the moment. But it’s not solely thanks to the brands. Brands like Vetements, Y/Project and many others are an echo of this trend, but there’s a whole movement that’s getting underway…
Do you really think so..?
There’s a sort of “rebellion for change” in fashion in Paris, which has come from the underground scenes. The brands are trying to upturn the established order through this movement. Just look at how clothing styles, looks, social diversity, music and art are changing! Cinema is the only field in which things are moving more slowly…
"There is definitely a palpable energy here, and it’s nothing new, it’s just that it wasn’t as perceptible before. We’re currently witnessing something of a general admiration of creative fields, so of course the nation’s eyes are on Paris at the moment." [Lapaix / Nïuku]
What about in Milan?
Fashion is also being reinvented in Milan; it’s affecting the biggest Houses such as Prada, Gucci, Marni, Giambattista Valli. But when it comes to new energy, Paris is ahead in my opinion. However, in the menswear prêt-à-porter market, London is now the most creative place to be. The energy there is incredibly powerful, especially with designers such as J.W. Anderson, Craig Green, Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose.
Do you feel French when you’re designing?
Yes I think so, even though most of my influences come from abroad, I’m French and proud! I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, and the city always enchanted and influenced me. It’s impossible to resist? Have you see all the history we have behind us?! For our brand Nïuku, we have 90% of our clothing created in Parisian studios. In our own, very modest way we’re trying to keep this expertise alive…
Do you think it’s important to buy into the whole fashion circus and show-off culture?
It’s not important, but it’s part of the game. We’re in an age where everyone wants to be seen, photographed and get famous. It’s a method that works for some people, so why not? We prefer to work differently by drawing our inspiration from brands that use different methods, either by being outside the system, or by focusing on rarity and discretion with a strong, relevant message.
Don’t you think it’s just well-branded marketing?
Maybe, but I prefer this way of doing things to being the one who’s everywhere, working with everyone and offering something different for everyone at the same time!
Do you think young people take more risks?
The young designers of today are like the young designers of the past, other than that they’ve got far more support in expressing their ideas and desires.
We’re currently in a very visual age, and they really know how to use every means available to stay informed, communicate and impose their vision. But it’s a double-edged sword, because they also think that just because they’ve seen a couple of photos or read a Wikipedia page they know it all. And that’s really dangerous. Just because you’ve seen the cover of a book doesn’t mean you’ve read it!
Who’s really behind Nïuku?
Friends and creatives from completely different worlds that work together perfectly.
What do you think young designers should be doing?
KEEPING IT REAL!
www.lapaix.paris
Photo: Manuel Obadia-Wills et Stas Kalashnikov