Marc Bouwer is more than a designer; he’s a visionary. The talent behind red-carpet gowns for Beyonce’, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Rihanna, Bouwer is the first designer to ever host a virtual runway show. Now, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Alexander Wang and Isaac Mizrahi are all following suit. (Sidenote: I got an invite to Isaac Mizrahi’s show this season! Super excited!).
Marc Bouwer is also a pioneer in his passionate campaign against animal cruelty. In 2002, he was the first designer to present a collection completely devoid of animal products. The groundbreaking collection was sponsored by PETA, who later honored Bouwer with the PETA Humanitarian award.
I was honored to land an exclusive invite to the taping of Marc Bouwer’s Fall 2010 virtual runway show. Famous for his eye for detail and sophisticated draping techniques, Bouwer has been one of my favorite glamorous, red-carpet designers. And let’s face it, he has amazing hair.
Between dressing Victoria’s Secret Angel, Candice Swanepoel, and chatting with the director, Carl Byrd, Marc took a moment to speak with me about the inspiration behind his Fall 2010 collection (chocolate!), his affinity for faux fur and the young, sexy starlet he’d love to dress.
Check out our behind-the-scenes video and read the full interview below. Don’t forget to visit http://www.marcbouwer.com on February 18th at 9AM EST for a front-row seat to the debut of Bouwer’s stunning collection.
Coutura: What was your inspiration for the new collection?
Marc Bouwer: I envisioned a beautiful woman wearing these avante garde clothes walking through a celestial universe and thinking about a past lover. The colors were inspired by a velvet box with a burgundy ribbon that you open up and inside are chocolates in metallic wrappers, hence the jewel tones, the turquoises, purples, burgundies, golds and silvers. Then you unwrap them and there’s this gorgeous, dark chocolate. It’s a rich, sensual experience.
Coutura: Chocolate and lovers? Sounds perfect. I see metallic is a strong theme in this collection, which is different than what you’ve shown before. In what other ways is Fall 2010 different than your previous collections?
MB: A little more avante garde and futuristic. Fashion is moving in that direction but it’s not just about padded shoulders. It’s all about extending the sleeve—a tight silhouette with explosions in the neck, the sleeves, the hip or the back, in architectural angles. And now that I have three different lines [his eponymous line, the moderately-priced Marc Bouwer GlamIt! and M by Marc Bouwer, a line on QVC], I can afford to be more experimental and spend a little more money with my Marc Bouwer Collection line.
Coutura: You’re adept at changing with the times and the virtual runway show is an example of that. Why did you choose to host a virtual show instead of a traditional show?
MB: We were the first to have a virtual show because I wanted to give the whole world a front row seat: school kids, mothers, editors and celebrities. [Traditional shows have] become a celebrity circus and I’m not so concerned about getting celebrities to my show—they wear my clothes. I want everyone to see it. The disadvantage to putting on a live show during Fashion Week is that it’s very expensive, costing $300,000 and more; and editors and journalists can’t always make it.
Coutura: You’re also a pioneer when it comes to anti-fur activism and I’m really proud of what you’ve accomplished, including your PETA humanitarian award. Fur is a huge trend on the runway this season. How are you combating that and offering an alternative in your collection?
MB: People need to become aware of the process: when animals are killed to make fur, their skin is ripped off of them while they’re still alive and they’re thrown in corners to die. If you want that look, technology has given us a way to recreate it. I have a faux fox jacket in my latest collection. To spread awareness, I always speak out at interviews and to celebrities.
Coutura: Speaking of celebrities, Beyonce looked gorgeous in your dress at the launch party for ‘Heat.’
MB: Thank you. She’s beautiful. She also wore one of my dresses in Paris.
Coutura: You’ve dressed so many beautiful ladies, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker. What celebrity would you like to dress that you haven’t yet?
MB: I’ve worked with so many. Even the young girls like Taylor Swift and Rihanna. I’d say Megan Fox. And I always wanted to dress Nicole Kidman and finally, we did.
Coutura: Congratulations! I love Nicole. Well, I’m sure celebrities and editors will fall in love with this new collection. Thank you for speaking with us.
MB: My pleasure, thank you for coming.