Paris – With offices in New York City, Paris and Shanghai, Alexandre de Betak puts a spectacular spin on temporary happenings, from fashion shows to events and exhibitions. His impressive client list includes Dior, Calvin Klein, Fendi, Alexander Wang and Raf Simons.
Here, the St-W Awards 2018 jury member discusses what he’s learned since his first fashion show in 1987.
‘I was 18 when I met Spanish fashion designer Sybilla and offered to help her. I did all her shows in Madrid, Milan, Tokyo and Kobe before she left the fashion world. After that I moved to New York, a city that was more multidisciplinary-minded than Paris. The mix of different things I was doing didn’t have a name back then. I offered services around concept, creative direction and production, casting, and lighting. I came as a full package and did everything myself. I was 20. It worked. I was lucky.’
‘There’s a European snobbery towards Americans in terms of culture and creation. I thought the innovation in New York was great, but weirdly enough the results – especially in fashion – were not. But there’s more freedom in America, which is linked to it being less ancestral, and that gave me the liberty to propose whatever I wanted. I had a deeply personal approach and a completely different vision.’
I do most of my research on Google, although we have libraries in both Paris and New York
‘I have no specific source of inspiration – unless you count everything. I’ve always travelled a lot and been curious. If I’m doing something performance-related, I don’t look at other performances. Instead, I research artistic or architectural trends that interest me. If I embark on a new story with a designer or brand, I might think of doing something associated with kinetics and research that topic. Sometimes I start from nowhere, but I do know there’s a mood I want to convey. There’s no recipe for creative processes. I do most of my research on Google, although we have libraries in both Paris and New York. There’s a great bookseller three doors down from me in Paris and a few other places nearby where I can research and relax.’