Heimstone Wonders

Alix Petit explains why their label is not just another fashion brand...

Text by Alice Pfeiffer

One of Paris’ fashion trademarks is its abundance of mid-range designers, such as Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe, APC - and the list goes on. A protest against high-street and flashy high end, these offer safely elegant clothes that allow one to look eternally Parisienne. What do when launching another label aiming at the same market, without being casted off as yet another competitor?

This is precisely the challenge Alix Petit and Delphine Delafon picked up when launching Heimstone in 2007.
“I don’t understand all these brands who seem to copy each other, and all offer the same products,” said Petit in an interview, “our aim has always been for every single piece to have its own personality.”

Sure, from a distance, it could seem to be another brand offering pretty dresses, matched with leather and much black. But if you look closer, it is one of Paris’ slightly more daring alternatives.

The first thing to note about Heimstone is its faithful use of the same, adorable indie model Lolita Jacobs – who has always been the face of every single outfit since the beginning, and acts in a video launched by the brand to accompany every collection.

The first-ever line, Autumn / Winter 2007, was influenced both by May 68 and Brit Pop. The video was fittingly shot in rainy London, and featured the then 19 year old Lolita dancing around to a catchy song by Razorlight, with a bob, a-lines and cropped jackets with cartoon-high heels.

Since 2007, both Lolita and the brand have grown up. The hair, a short boy cut à la Jean Seberg, and the clothes, are increasingly sexy and sophisticated.

From New York back to Paris, the videos follow, year after year, the model’s and the label’s meanderings round the globe. The influences acquired are varied and cheeky, ranging from jungle-girl to medieval princess, or Red Indian with touches of S&M.

Slowly but surely, Heimstone has been making a name for itself, and is now sold all over, from trendy Williamsburg boutiques to London’s Selfridges.

The recurring feeling is Lolita-esque indeed: still oscillating between childhood and confident, sexy womanhood, the clothes are for a girl more than grown up than she thinks, but not quite a full-blown woman.
This is an ode to the Lolita of the new millennium: busy getting dressed up in both her mum’s and dad’s clothes, she is hesitating between going to a night club or back to her playmobils.

Alix Petit, now a one-man show since her and Delaphon parted earlier this year, insists that she imagines every piece as a unique object. “A volume can be simple if it carries intricate detailing.” She has lots of project coming up, including a line of shoes – the rest is ‘top secret’ she says, smiling. “Heimstone, dressing up, Woody Allen and milkshakes…j’adore!”, concludes Lolita with a giggle.

Heimstone: 23 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris France; Telephone: + 33 9 61 02 33 25.

© by DazedDigital

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