Designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin Reminisces on Childhood Summer Holidays

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Ludovic is wearing a sleeveless popper coat and cropped organza shirt by Ludovic de Saint Sernin

“The idea of escapism is really important to the world I’m trying to build,” says the Parisian designer and Balmain alumnus

“My dad was married three times and had seven children. So the summer holidays were a time for us all to reunite, all his different children. The mothers hated each other, so it would be just the kids and him. We would rent this massive car and drive from Belgium, where we lived, to Portugal, in the south. So that was the summertime trip. It took two days to get there, stopping in Spain. It was a really fun time. It’s funny because, when you’re a kid, you don’t even realise how uncomfortable the journey really is, how long it is. Now, I’m desperate for a holiday. Desperate. The idea of escapism – holidays, travelling – is really important in the world that I’m trying to build. At a lot of big fashion houses they create a theme – fantasy or whatever. But sometimes it’s just out of touch with reality and doesn’t feel relatable, or personal. When I started my own thing I wanted everything I did to be personal. You also have to be careful how much you give to people, of course. You have to protect yourself.”

Ludovic de Saint Sernin is a scion of an aristocratic family, with an equally impressive fashion pedigree. He graduated from the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré in Paris and worked for Balmain, heading a department devoted to ‘embellishment’: decorating clothes by unconventional means. He established his own label in 2017, with a gender-fluid aesthetic that is aeons away from Balmain’s sexed-up glitz but as equally intricately wrought. His signature piece is a pair of eyelet-studded, laced-crotch briefs that combine couture craftsmanship with a touch of kink and is currently sold to order via Instagram. De Saint Sernin’s work has garnered acclaim – shortly after the presentation of his Spring/Summer 2019 collection, he received the Andam creative prize. Incidentally, those clothes took summertime as their theme – namely, the unrequited crushes of teenage heartthrobs in water-sodden swimsuits.

Hair: Pawel Solis at Artlist Paris using Oribe. Make-up: Aya Fujita at Calliste Agency using Takeda Brush. Photographic assistant: Charlotte Krieger. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Camila Paiva and Georgina Craig

This story originally featured in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now.