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Pablo Henrard : a calling all sewn up

Pablo Henrard
Pablo Henrard (c) Tamara Dussart - Catwalkpictures

Is success down to just the right amounts of talent, luck and determination? If so, Pablo Henrard seems to be on the right track. After graduating from La Cambre in 2013, he was recently selected from among the 10 finalists of the Hyères Festival of Fashion 2014.

You only have to exchange a few words with Pablo Henrard for his gentle and humble nature to shine through. At the grand age of 24, his appearance of a perceptive and smart young lad contrasts with his mature and confident words. He is someone who loves beautiful materials, the process of cutting and meticulous pieces of work. A passion that he has had since he was a very small child. "My earliest memory goes back to when I was 6 years old. I was at my grandmother’s house and was watching recordings of "Au Théâtre ce soir", including Folle Amanda with Jacqueline Maillan. I adored the costumes, the feather boas and the sequins! It made me want to design clothes. My grandmother did the sewing and I came up with the ideas."


The makings of a genius

Originally from Clermont-sur-Berwinne, in the east of Liège province, Pablo is the son and grandson of an architect and godson of a designer. The whole of his childhood was enveloped in a love of drawing, the harmony of shapes, history and old buildings. So many treasures that were also to nurture his creativity. But he needed a bit more still to quench his thirst for learning: "After my day at the Collège Royal Marie-Thérèse, I attended evening classes in dressmaking and drawing courses at the Verviers Academy of Fine Arts. I submitted my final-year project in Flemish on the Antwerp Six, and gained my diploma. Finally, I was able to enter a fashion school."


Welcome to the family of "La Cambre"

You enter La Cambre through the eye of a needle. Only twenty or so students are accepted at the end of a tough entrance examination, in which the potential of each applicant is put under the microscope. "The examination lasted 6 days. It was extremely difficult and very detailed. You’re conscious of the fact that they want to discover talent and that, to achieve this, they analyse in depth the personalities and abilities of each applicant. I was one of the youngest to be admitted. I felt as though I were being supported and supervised by a family of passionate and dedicated professionals. They prepare us for the future and for the structure of a fashion house. It’s a very multifunctional course."

The course obviously consists of the education and training provided unstintingly by the teachers, all acknowledged professionals involved in fashion and the related disciplines. But, there are also work placement periods that immerse the students in the real world of a fashion house. The school and its network of alumni are therefore a real passport to joining renowned organisations. "I did my first work placement with Jean-Paul Lespagnard and it was a great success. I did a lot of iconographic research for the collection, which helped me to understand what a mood board is. Then, I was with Julien Fournié. There, I experienced the atmosphere of a small haute-couture studio in the Parisian tradition. My third placement was with Jean-Paul Gaultier. It’s a fashion house with a very human touch and, so, was a fascinating and valuable experience. And, finally, for my last placement, I was able to join the Theyskens' Theory studio. Olivier Theyskens allowed me to be an important part of the team. It went so well that he asked me to stay but I wanted to see my studies through to the end."


Hyères and the future

Part of Pablo’s winter collection, "Maelström", was to be purchased by Opening Ceremony, founded by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon from Japan (today, artistic directors of Kenzo) in 2002. He then applied to the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, before joining Cédric Charlier in Paris. "I’d got to the 4th month of my trial period with Cédric when I found out that I’d been selected for Hyères. I then decided to leave the studio in order to take up my "Maelström" collection and work on it again so I could present it at the festival. I wanted to revisit the male wardrobe. The idea was to give men the opportunity to feel elegant and sexy but without losing their masculinity. The clothes, draped to measure, create a movement around the body, this produces a very organic result."

For Pablo, Hyères was, above all, a sign of recognition and the assurance of adding important contacts to his address book.

The dreams a little 6 year-old boy once had of feather boas and sequins turned into a calling answered. Exacting and determined, Pablo successfully completed each stage of his development, creating for himself many opportunities for the future. This youth of haute couture has joined the big league for good and is now part of the new generation of Walloon designers that the fashion intelligentsia will be keeping a very close eye on in the future.



This article is taken from the W+B Revue no. 125, to which you can subscribe free of charge.

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