Maiki: Hi Naco, it’s a pleasure to speak to you again! How are you doing and what are you working on at the moment?
Naco: Hi Darling ! I am very well as I am working more and more on my art projects (performances, photos, video etc….) and just a bit on fashion! It’s a mix of ART/Fashion!
M: I know that you have a performance on December 10th, can you tell us about it and what you will be doing?
N: I’m doing my “KISS Performance” at Passage, a beautiful location in Paris. There will also be a huge ready-to-wear and haute-couture fashion collection from the 80’s to now. Passage is like a museum. There are designer fashion collectors; they have been buying Naco-Paris pieces since my first collections, and now they have hundreds of my past designs. They are the biggest collector of my brand in the world! The Kiss performance is about all the love and feeling I am able to give to the people (most of the time they’re people I even don’t know!) I take the appearance of my alter-ego “Madame Paris” who is an incarnation of glamour and self-confidence!
I did this performance on many occasions in very different places (art galleries, nightclubs, concept-stores etc) but this time it will be private and the team Future Noir (a young French collective who created a really great independent newspaper) will be there to make a movie of the performance. Then we’ll try to show the movie in festivals all around the world … this is the collective who convinced me to do this movie. They told me we should to put my work on a video for archives, I was afraid because archives mean “museum” for me but anyway, I said yes !
M:You know the first time I met you at your fashion week presentation, you tricked me! You had a film showing on the screen inspired by “Who Are You, Polly Magoo?” with a divine lady starring in it. You told me it was Madame Paris! I didn’t know that it was you! Can you tell me who Madame Paris is compared to Naco Paris?
N:She’s my feminine alter-ego ! It’s a fictional character I created when I was very young (13 years old) and her “job” was to be all the things I wasn’t able to be at this time: super glam, seductive, using a lot of make-up, attractive etc…. So she helped me to get the self confidence I was missing. Then she was, a long time ago, a legendary party-girl (as she loves the night!) A few years later, when I created my brand and company, I put her in a box for around 10 years. She made a come back 5 years ago as I needed much more fun in my life again ! But this time she became an Art gallery performer, an Artists’ Muse (Oliviero Toscani) and an atypical model,represented by Wanted Models and she was booked this year for the Haut Couture special L’Officiel and for the Uber Campaign!
M:How do you think these two personalities are inspiring you in your fashion design?
N: Before the film inspired by “Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo” where she was starring as “the editor”. I did the casting and I couldn’t find the lady for the movie so I decided to do it myself. It just happened like that. I didn’t mix my fashion activity with my “drag” activity; it was something on side. When I screened the movie for the first time some people did not recognise me – like you ! I had a lot of fun with that! And some people recognised me. I was surprised that the reaction was really really positive from the Parisian Fashion scene (Which is sometimes a bit “conservative”). So I decided to mix all activities together and she started to inspired me. She helped me once again with my self confidence. I created some polaroid self-portraits about the performances so I became contemporary artist as well as a fashion designer. The self-portraits series inspired all the last collection Underground Seduction!
M:You always create very strong statements with your collections. What is important for you to show with your designs?
N:Messages and statements are of course the most important. At least whatever if I’m doing fashion, art, photos, performances: I always talk about how is difficult to be different, to be yourself in this world and how it can be a good option to be yourself with self-confidence. This is my global message !
M:When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer and when did you get interested in fashion?
N: I never decided to be fashion designer, or even an artist. It happened! The fact is the clothes were the first elements I found around me when I was teenager to express myself. There was a sewing machine at home and a lot of very cheap second hand shops in the north of France where I was born! So, first I used the clothes to express myself, I started to paint on the clothes when I was 12 years old, it became fashion even before I realised myself it was fashion and then I started doing that in my life! And about Madame Paris it’s the same, but she’s more about style than fashion she has a very timeless style!
M: In Tunis for the Tunis Fashion Week your models walked the catwalk with no music at all, it was sort of an eerie experience. And you said it was to create something that stands out from the rest. Is it important for you to stand out?
N: You know in life, in my everyday life in general and in the fashion scene etc. I am different in every way than the others. It’s always been like that and I am not trying anymore to be in the masses. I am myself and that’s all! I decided to work out of the system! It is not a comfortable place but this is the way I decide to live and create things! so when I organise a show, a fashion show and especially when its a collective event with others designers I “didn’t choose”, I try to find out how I can be myself as much as possible. So how I can doing something radically different than the others! Firstly the style and this is already different, I work on clothes, fashion and I’ve developed my own concepts for almost 20 years so its very personal. Secondly there is the mood of the show. The music is an important part cause you can change everything with different kind of music. I know out of experience many brands love to use techno music or very spectacular, very loud music (probably to try to “make some noise”??) so it’s why I decided to show with “no music” at all, in the silence! I was right , it was so much stronger!!!! the public was able to listen to the message, not the music, they understood me and I was really proud of that!
“I decided to work out of the system! It is not a comfortable place but this is the way I decide to live and create things!”
M: You also posed in L’Officiel as a model and as Madame Paris and you perform as her, do you perform as Naco as well?
N: Naco is my “everyday” character so he is performing every day, every minute!
M: How long do you spend transforming with make up into Madame Paris?
N: Between 3 and 6 hours. I do not #wakeuplikethis It is a hard job actually.
M: What do you need to transform?
N: A lot of make-up and very specifically, made to measure, unique piece costumes that I created for myself. It’s really tailoring and couture. And there are also so many tricks you can’t see to change my appearance, to change my body, the way I move etc …. But it is a secret between Madame Paris and me 😉
M: When I see you as Madame Paris you have this incredibly powerful energy that is almost intimidating. Like a very powerful, sexy woman. where do you draw this from?
N: From the women around me! My mum, my grandmother ,my sister ,good friends …. women are incredibly powerful ,men are not! all the people who help me in my career or were important in my life are women. I used the idea of this power to create Madame Paris!
M: What do you think is important to promote through fashion and art in the world now?
N: ART IS RESISTANCE! The world becomes more ugly everyday! I resist! With ART !
M: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I hope to be able to continue to express myself as I did for the last 20 years but I don’t even know in which way it will be.
Chat by @xmaiki