Ludovic de Saint Sernin in conversation with Miguel Figeroa

One of the best ways to get your first foot in fashion – or any type of business for that matter – is through apprenticeship. Back when they were the new kids on the block, Yves Saint Laurent, Donna Karan and Alessandro Michele learned and paid their dues, respectively, under the tutelage of Christian Dior, Anne Klein and Tom Ford. Three years after working at Balmain with Olivier Rousting, 27-year-old Ludovic Saint Sernin struck out on his own, presenting his first collection; a gender fluid homage to late nineties minimalism. We caught up with the designer on his birthday to talk about his influences, obsessions, next steps and unusual morning routine.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin in conversation with Miguel Figeroa

One of the best ways to get your first foot in fashion – or any type of business for that matter – is through apprenticeship. Back when they were the new kids on the block, Yves Saint Laurent, Donna Karan and Alessandro Michele learned and paid their dues, respectively, under the tutelage of Christian Dior, Anne Klein and Tom Ford. Three years after working at Balmain with Olivier Rousting, 27-year-old Ludovic Saint Sernin struck out on his own, presenting his first collection; a gender fluid homage to late nineties minimalism. We caught up with the designer on his birthday to talk about his influences, obsessions, next steps and unusual morning routine.

Hi Ludovic, let's start with the basics. What time did you get up this morning? I woke up at 10, I usually wake up earlier but I just got back from California and the jet lag is real. It was an amazing holiday/research trip, very inspiring! Do you have a routine? What did you have for breakfast? Yes, I do! It is kind of ridiculous though. I have apple juice and cereal in bed and I religiously watch an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Real Housewives, just to ease in the day. Then I start work at 11, and right now I am researching and sketching for next season. What did you want to be when you were a child? I have always wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as I can remember. When I was just a little boy I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid, I had the Barbie, the sun lounger, everything and I would dress her etc. This obsession

for her slowly transitioned into an obsession with Lindsay Lohan, when I was a teenager I would draw her everyday. Lukas Heerich who did the soundtrack for the presentation included some bits of interviews from her and mixed it with minimal music as a nod to her. I was probably 10 when a friend of my mom’s introduced me to Yves Saint Laurent, not literally but she had some old VHS of his most iconic shows and I remember thinking, this is it, this is what I want to do. Who were or still are your fashion icons? Alaïa has always been a model for me. He's built something so unique and special. I recently watched the documentary by Joe McKenna who I'm obsessed with and it was so fascinating to see how he works. There's no one else like him he's such a perfectionist. Helmut Lang is obviously a big reference as is Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake. Kirtsen Owen, I don't

Hi Ludovic, let’s start with the basics. What time did you get up this morning? I woke up at 10, I usually wake up earlier but I just got back from California and the jet lag is real. It was an amazing holiday/research trip, very inspiring! Do you have a routine? What did you have for breakfast? Yes, I do! It is kind of ridiculous though. I have apple juice and cereal in bed and I religiously watch an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Real Housewives, just to ease in the day. Then I start work at 11, and right now I am researching and sketching for next season. What did you want to be when you were a child? I have always wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as I can remember. When I was just a little boy I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid, I had the Barbie, the sun lounger, everything and I would dress her etc. This obsession for her slowly transitioned into an obsession with Lindsay Lohan, when I was a teenager I would draw her everyday. Lukas Heerich who did the soundtrack for the presentation included some bits of interviews from her and mixed it with minimal music as a nod to her. I was probably 10 when a friend of my mom’s introduced me to Yves Saint Laurent, not literally but she had some old VHS of his most iconic shows and I remember thinking, this is it, this is what I want to do. Who were or still are your fashion icons? Alaïa has always been a model for me. He’s built something so unique and special. I recently watched the documentary by Joe McKenna who I’m obsessed with and it was so fascinating to see how he works. There’s no one else like him he’s such a perfectionist. Helmut Lang is obviously a big reference as is Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake. Kirtsen Owen, I don’t

think there's a single image that she's in that doesn't inspire me, she's a huge inspiration. I posted a picture of her from Steven Meisel the other day and the caption simply said : mom. You broke from working at Balmain - which is the antithesis of your style - and created a beautiful, minimal first collection. What were your biggest lessons working there? Balmain was my first fashion family, they have been amazing to me and I am very grateful for everything I have learnt there. I was working on embellishment and textiles which was so exciting to do there because you can really propose stuff and create amazing pieces. And their approach was very artisanal which I really appreciate. Have you always played with gender bending? What do you consider to be the most masculine feature in a woman and the most feminine trait in a man? I actually only had

done womenswear up until that first presentation and initially I thought it was going to be women’s. I was doing a project on Instagram where I would recreate pictures of me with boys I knew from Instagram and make them pose in my clothes. I created some really cool relationships with some of these boys and one of them became my fitting model/muse. So even tough the clothes were originally women's, turns out as we were trying them they looked really good on a boy too. And I decided that it wasn’t really relevant anymore to try and categorize my pieces to one sex only. I myself don't really look whether it's women's or men's when I'm shopping. As long as you feel good in it and it fits your body why restrain yourself. I knew I wanted to show it on guys though. I worked with this really talented casting director and friend, Piotr Chamier,

think there’s a single image that she’s in that doesn’t inspire me, she’s a huge inspiration. I posted a picture of her from Steven Meisel the other day and the caption simply said : mom. You broke from working at Balmain – which is the antithesis of your style – and created a beautiful, minimal first collection. What were your biggest lessons working there? Balmain was my first fashion family, they have been amazing to me and I am very grateful for everything I have learnt there. I was working on embellishment and textiles which was so exciting to do there because you can really propose stuff and create amazing pieces. And their approach was very artisanal which I really appreciate. Have you always played with gender bending? What do you consider to be the most masculine feature in a woman and the most feminine trait in a man? I actually only had done womenswear up until that first presentation and initially I thought it was going to be women’s. I was doing a project on Instagram where I would recreate pictures of me with boys I knew from Instagram and make them pose in my clothes. I created some really cool relationships with some of these boys and one of them became my fitting model/muse. So even tough the clothes were originally women’s, turns out as we were trying them they looked really good on a boy too. And I decided that it wasn’t really relevant anymore to try and categorize my pieces to one sex only. I myself don’t really look whether it’s women’s or men’s when I’m shopping. As long as you feel good in it and it fits your body why restrain yourself. I knew I wanted to show it on guys though. I worked with this really talented casting director and friend, Piotr Chamier,

we share the same aesthetic when it comes to casting and he did an amazing job finding boys. What I really appreciate is that even though it was presented during Men's after the show we received loads of press requests for women’s shootings. It’s been about equal with that of the men’s. I am looking forward to seeing how they work in both contexts. With regards to the second part of the question, I am struggling to answer that. Truth is I don’t really think in that way. I have long hair so you might say that is the most feminine thing about me but others might find it quite masculine. Likewise the neck of my fit model is long and thin but I don’t think it looks particularly feminine. I really don’t think that way and interestingly I think a lot of people my age and younger are not categorizing through sex or sexuality. Who would be your ultimate person to

dress? Yesterday I watched Basketball. Diaries for the first time and Leonardo DiCaprio is just beautiful and so good in it, he was just twenty years old but looks sixteen. I wish I could have dressed him back in the days, he had that special something about him and also this androgyny that I love. But to answer your question, I love the idea of dressing sons or little brothers of celebrities: for instance Uma Thurman's son is gorgeous, looks just like her but in a boy. Or Pamela Anderson's son is actually really hot too. I recently met up with Niels Schneider's little brother Vassili, and I'd love to dress him for a special project. What is your favorite scent? For the presentation I used Potpourri from Santa Maria Novella, it smells amazing and looks really beautiful. It was displayed all over the conservatory where I had the presentation on little ceramics plates I brought

we share the same aesthetic when it comes to casting and he did an amazing job finding boys. What I really appreciate is that even though it was presented during Men’s after the show we received loads of press requests for women’s shootings. It’s been about equal with that of the men’s. I am looking forward to seeing how they work in both contexts. With regards to the second part of the question, I am struggling to answer that. Truth is I don’t really think in that way. I have long hair so you might say that is the most feminine thing about me but others might find it quite masculine. Likewise the neck of my fit model is long and thin but I don’t think it looks particularly feminine. I really don’t think that way and interestingly I think a lot of people my age and younger are not categorizing through sex or sexuality. Who would be your ultimate person to dress? Yesterday I watched Basketball. Diaries for the first time and Leonardo DiCaprio is just beautiful and so good in it, he was just twenty years old but looks sixteen. I wish I could have dressed him back in the days, he had that special something about him and also this androgyny that I love. But to answer your question, I love the idea of dressing sons or little brothers of celebrities: for instance Uma Thurman’s son is gorgeous, looks just like her but in a boy. Or Pamela Anderson’s son is actually really hot too. I recently met up with Niels Schneider’s little brother Vassili, and I’d love to dress him for a special project. What is your favorite scent? For the presentation I used Potpourri from Santa Maria Novella, it smells amazing and looks really beautiful. It was displayed all over the conservatory where I had the presentation on little ceramics plates I brought

back from Kyoto. I wanted the scent to blend in with the natural smell of the boys in the presentation, it was a really hot day, and they were walking around between plants in a manner that evoked cruising. The scent of the potpourri, the boys sweat and the plants just all worked really well together. Hot! Which are your favorite hide-outs in Paris? I spend most of my free time in London, so I am going to give you my favorite hide-outs there: breakfast at the Towpath in de Beauvoir, their grilled cheese sandwich is to die for, I love walking along the canal, brunch at Rawduck, Epping forest, in the fall the colors are splendid, the British library is the best place to read a book, you need to make an appointment for the reading room and it's great to hide away from the crowd. Then back at the Towpath for drinks and dinner at Gujurati Rasoi, they have my favorite dish on earth there, I always

order the same thing. What turns you on? A Wolfgang Tillmans picture. I went to see his exhibition at the Tate in London it was simply breathtaking. What turns you off? Being unthoughtful or unconscious. I'm quoting Jake Gyllenhaal, I had to google this answer, I couldn't think of anything that turns me off. Can you share with us your latest obsessions? I have discovered this beautiful bookstore in Paris, where they have an amazing selection of queer literature and art. I recently read L’Age d’or by Pierre Herbart which I highly recommend. And I am in the middle of reading Call me by your Name by André Aciman which is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents villa on the Italian Riviera. It is being released as a film next year and I cannot wait to see how they will translate this

back from Kyoto. I wanted the scent to blend in with the natural smell of the boys in the presentation, it was a really hot day, and they were walking around between plants in a manner that evoked cruising. The scent of the potpourri, the boys sweat and the plants just all worked really well together. Hot! Which are your favorite hide-outs in Paris? I spend most of my free time in London, so I am going to give you my favorite hide-outs there: breakfast at the Towpath in de Beauvoir, their grilled cheese sandwich is to die for, I love walking along the canal, brunch at Rawduck, Epping forest, in the fall the colors are splendid, the British library is the best place to read a book, you need to make an appointment for the reading room and it’s great to hide away from the crowd. Then back at the Towpath for drinks and dinner at Gujurati Rasoi, they have my favorite dish on earth there, I always order the same thing. What turns you on? A Wolfgang Tillmans picture. I went to see his exhibition at the Tate in London it was simply breathtaking. What turns you off? Being unthoughtful or unconscious. I’m quoting Jake Gyllenhaal, I had to google this answer, I couldn’t think of anything that turns me off. Can you share with us your latest obsessions? I have discovered this beautiful bookstore in Paris, where they have an amazing selection of queer literature and art. I recently read L’Age d’or by Pierre Herbart which I highly recommend. And I am in the middle of reading Call me by your Name by André Aciman which is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents villa on the Italian Riviera. It is being released as a film next year and I cannot wait to see how they will translate this

beautiful book. Where would you like to take your brand to next? I have some very exciting projects and collaborations coming up but it is a bit too early to reveal. It is amazing how quickly things can move these days but most of the time it’s just me and I’d like to do things slowly and well rather than rush them. What are you doing after this? It's my birthday today [28th of August], so I am going to eat some cake and enjoy a lovely dinner with my family!

beautiful book. Where would you like to take your brand to next?
I have some very exciting projects and collaborations coming up but it is a bit too early to reveal. It is amazing how quickly things can move these days but most of the time it’s just me and I’d like to do things slowly and well rather than rush them. What are you doing after this? It’s my birthday today [28th of August], so I am going to eat some cake and enjoy a lovely dinner with my family!

Photography Alex Franco. Fashion Editor Gabriella Norberg
Hair Yumi Nakada-Dingle. Make-Up Rebecca Wordingham
As seen in Hercules Universal XXIII
Photography Alex Franco
Fashion Editor Gabriella Norberg
Hair Yumi Nakada-Dingle
Make-Up Rebecca Wordingham
As seen in Hercules Universal XXIII