Mathilde Lhomme is a small-town girl with big dreams.
After studying sewing and costume history, she left her suitcases in Paris and started working at the age of 19 for the Moulin Rouge workshop; this led her through the world of haute couture on the catwalks. Passionate about the world of haute couture and cabaret, she mixed these two forces to create an original, solid, and feminine fashion. For her, fashion is a real state of mind, art, and she’s convinced that a garment is so much more which can impact the person who wears it.
Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Mathilde to discuss her journey in the fashion world, and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the fashion industry?
I always knew I wanted to do this job before I even figured out what it was. I was drawing all the clothes I saw on TV and in magazines. I was doing fashion shows with my barbies /dolls, and I was very invested in my looks at school and carefully chose each of my clothes.
After my degree, I entered this professional field as a « petite main » (hand sewing) to help with the extra work before Fashion week. I was then 20 years old when I first worked on the catwalks of Chanel, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, and many others.
What do you like most about being a designer?
This work brings together all my passions, drawing, fashion, and sewing. I like it most because it constantly develops my creativity, and even if the job remains the same, it’s an eternal restart, each time you have to reinvent yourself and create a new theme, new shape, new fabrics. I like to develop a new universe each time to learn more and more about this profession, to surpass myself.
Downside to being a fashion designer?
It is a ruthless profession. There is very little room for a lot of talent. I want to develop this elitist side and make fashion more accessible to everyone. We do not all have the same emphasis, and some people work a lifetime without ever having gratitude.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
My best memory will forever be my very first fashion show as a designer. In less than two months, I had to draw and sew my own collection for the final of the national competition for young designers in Paris.
I lived in a tiny apartment; there was fabric everywhere! On the floor, in my kitchen, on my bed. I fell asleep while working and then continued when I woke up.
I was surrounded by all the people I loved, and I was doing everything I fought for the first time. It was one of the happiest days of my life. For the first time, I had chosen everything down to the smallest detail, the music, the models, the hairstyles; for a day, I lived in my biggest dream.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I haven’t really spoken to him, but I have been very inspired by the work of Jean Paul Gaultier from a very young age. I had the honor of working on one of his fashion shows. I was able to discover how this humble genius of great kindness spread love and happiness wherever he went. It is the fashion that I want to see and that inspires me. He proves to us that we can be successful by being a nice person.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
Ten thousand hours of work to excel in a discipline takes us from novice status to expert. Since that day, I have never stopped, and I don’t count my hours anymore. And above all, that nothing is impossible with work and passion.
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
My family has been my biggest supporter! They have always encouraged me to make my dreams come true.
I told my parents that I wanted to be a stylist when I was 10; I think, since that day, they have done everything to help me. They took me shopping; I helped pick out the clothes for the whole family. My mother would print me fashion articles and stylist stories she found on the internet. They helped me find the studies that suited me and then helped me settle in Paris. And they’re always there to share my successes and help keep me hopeful. They always believed in me; that’s where my determination comes from.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
If I could go back to that time and give myself some advice, I would tell myself to stop thinking too much and just go for it! And above all, believe in yourself.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice anyone has given me is that no one will do things for me, no one will come and push me, no one will go and do my work. No one will come and give me the job of my dreams. It’s up to you to do everything, create your own opportunities, and get started. It’s up to you to prove that you deserve your place.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I have always dreamed of having my own brand, this is the next step for me. I’m working on it, and I can’t wait to offer my vision of fashion, develop my own identity by mixing fashion and show intended for those who want to be the main character of their lives, celebrating differences and boldness.