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 Frame 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.’