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CLINIQUE VESTIMENTAIRE: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF READY-TO-WEAR

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HERITAGE AND SAVOIR FAIRE A-LA-FRANÇAISE ARE THE SECRET INGREDIENTS OF THE MOST EXCLUSIVE LABORATORY OF PARIS WHERE SCIENCE AND INNOVATION MEET FASHION: CLINIQUE VESTIMENTAIRE.

Words By Alessandra Di Perna

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Ready-to-wear has introduced fashion to the masses with many benefits, but it has its dark side. The social and psychological pressure of fitting into a standard size is one of the technique’s bleak repercussions. Customers might leave a clothing store feeling bitter after having tried on every possible item to no avail. This is why Jeanne Vicerial’s research began almost a decade ago, to create a new perspective on how to dress bodies. 

Jeanne Clinique Vestimentaire and Jennifer Chambaret met eight years ago sharing classes at the Lycée de la Mode Paul Poiret. Since then, the duo have been inseparable. Chambaret and Vicerial have focused their studies on costume design, devoting their research to evolving the process of tailoring.

Their knowledge of the fashion industry was broad enough to allow them to fabricate their own fashion label in 2014, Clinique Vestimentaire. The label impressively embodies the merge of custom-made with ready-to-wear clothing.

The basic issue around which Clinique Vestimentaire wanted to experiment with was sizing: it is not the individual who has to fit the garment, but on the contrary, it is the garment which must fit the individual. 

However, the label evolved far beyond this simple concept, exploring the boundaries of fashion through unique and sustainable innovations backed up by scientific research whilst maintaining the haute couture of Parisian heritage.

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As the creative director, Vicerial’s main source of inspiration comes from movement. Pure movement of both the human body and society, dance and art, creating the perfect interplay from where to start her creative process, and one drastically different to the static pictures in magazines where fluid expression is limited and often imperceptible. 

It is enchanting to see Vicerial’s approach towards her own company, which the founding pair do not consider as a brand per-se, but as a “fashion research lab”. As such, Vicerial and Chambaret do not work in a “design studio” or “atelier”, but rather in a “laboratory”. It is a place with no restrictions, a territory where creativity runs free. Making mistakes is not only accepted, but deemed fundamental to the process. Furthermore, Clinique Vestimentaire is free from sizing restrictions: they create bespoke pieces which are presented as ready-to-wear collections with a universal size ranging from 36 to 42. 

The core of the lab is dedicated to a revolutionary, breathtaking machine invented by Vicerial. Though the merge of ready-to-wear and tailored couture technologies in the so called “prêt-à-mesure”, or “ready-to-tailor”: the machine adopts a unique method enabling the creation of waste-free garments through a 3D-printer, realizing each piece with a single length of recycled thread. 

What makes the label unique is that the threads are braided in such a way that they resemble muscle fibers, allowing the garment to expand and adapt to bodies of all shapes and sizes, in all stages of life. The pieces are designed to be timeless in terms of quality, and in terms of fit. The garment, bound to adaptation in its design, evolves and grows with the person wearing it.

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Every customer, no matter their age, morphology or culture, can fit perfectly in every piece. This adheres to the emerging notion of inclusivity, one of the major pillars of ethical fashion. Clinique Vestimentaire seeks to empower people by changing society’s perception of fashion and luxury as external influences, which tend to predominate our internal governance: people’s bodies should not be categorized nor determined by the industry.

Clinique Vestimentaire maintains a futuristic vision within its industry. The creative directors do not work with “collections” but with “scientific projects”, an approach which may be compared to that of anatomical research. It is an intensely challenging and time-consuming approach, requiring at least eight hundred hours of labour for the production of a single garment. The designers do not allow the general public to try on their creations in their Paris based atelier. Instead, they work on their research privately and in the case of potential buyers, they opt for a collaborative approach where the customer is involved from the paper sketch up to the final fitting.

One thing is for certain: despite their popularity, fast fashion brands cannot occupy a place in the future. Nowadays, there is an incredible need for sustainable products. Clinique Vestimentaire rejects synthetic and chemical fabrics which are currently unsustainable and potentially uncomfortable on one’s skin. As an alternative, the laboratory is aiming to create its own fabrics for each garment, a project that is still in progress due to the complexity of the process and the lack of resources.

Clinique Vestimentaire is a new concept for apparel in terms of the production process and environmental impact, placing emphasis on the meticulous thought process behind the garments rather than the manufacturing. The brainstorming and background of a project prevails over the realization of the product itself. Their pieces are considered and defined by the founders as art. Every “collection” they make represents a specific era with a focus on the society’s needs and behaviors.

If you were wondering whether to add one of these bespoke pieces to your wardrobe, you can wait to make a decision… The designers are currently only selling to private collectors and museums: Jeanne Vicerial is now residing at Villa Medici in Rome undertaking her most recent project called: “Quarantine Vestimentaire”. Every day, she creates a new garment that refers to the prevailing virus, reflecting the role of fashion in these extreme circumstances.

Given the label’s focus on anti-waste, anti-pollution, and on the constant changing needs of human nature and the human body, Clinique Vestimentaire is clearly forging a new path for the future of apparel. The label will likely rise in the ranks of sustainable fashion brands as they are thinking globally and acting locally, with a complete devotion to their fresh and unparalleled project.

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