Julien Fournié is a fashion couturier who likes to have fun; his darkly handsome face is more often smiling than not, he’s interested in everything around him and open to new experiences. On his first visit to Singapore earlier in 2012, he continually exclaimed how fabulous everything was, describing the city as a kind of science-fiction set; and he loved the palm trees.

Only 37-years-old, Julien is both the designer and CEO of his eponymous haute couture house, established in 2009, but he retains a childlike sense of imagination. Originally training as a doctor, he took a degree in biology, after two years Julien swapped to fashion and never looked back.

However his original interest in, and knowledge of, the human body continues to inform his designing.

“I have an obsession with skin,” Julien explained while describing the pieces he’d brought to Singapore to show during the launch of Fide Fashion Week’s couture events. “I want to show the skin without vulgarity. I believe that the new luxury is to be vulnerable, to be able to show that; so showing [your] skin is the new luxury.”

Alongside this preference for bare skin, is an intense interest in new technology, whether that be in fabrics, fabrication or even in the use of computer programs to assist designers. Combining technology with his “new luxury” of vulnerability, led Julien to create fascinating couture pieces that are both beautiful, but also revealing in a sometime subtle, other times overt, way.

“I want to work out how to mix the new technology with vulnerability; using new fabrics and materials like latex, new prints, bakelite … I’m able to create ‘windows’ on the body; to show the skin,” he explained.

Julien Fournie AW12 show at French Couture Week 2012 Singapore DECOR 2
Julien Fournie AW12 show at French Couture Week 2012 Singapore DECOR 3
Bare skin or covered up, couture pieces from Julien Fournié at French Couture Week 2012.
Images: Milton Tan for Fide Productions

Julien’s couture pieces are not for shy individuals; they are fitted, revealing, eccentric in many ways with their mix of modern materials used in unusual ways; but above all a couture piece from Julien Fournié is fun.

It was this, the idea of bringing “fun” into the haute couture world that was the basis of his show at Fide Fashion Week’s French Couture Week 2012 on November 30, featuring pieces from the Autumn Winter 2012 collection.

With disco balls reflecting light across the stage, sirens blasting and the thump of dance music, the Julien Fournié show opened with a model in a cartoon-roller derby bodysuit complete with gold leather Jetson’s wings and kneepads; this was not your usual haute couture runway.

Moving through a number of looks based around perfectly tailored corsetry – something Julien is well-versed in as his grandmother was a lingerie seamstress and corset maker – and superbly tailored jackets and pants, there was an underlying 1950s feel mixed with the colours and “futurism” of the early 70s, particularly in the use of man-made materials like plastics and the acid pops of colour.

More of the 70s influence could be seen in the gowns, particularly in the a number of long, skin-tight nude outfits, others with slinky thigh-high slits and more bodysuits with flowing trains.

An overarching theme of outlines delineating waists, shoulders and hips in contrast piping held the entire collection together, and emphasised once again Julien’s dedication to the anatomy of the body. The “sci-fi” feel of the technical fabrics and use of unusual materials was also highlighted by the piping, dragging up references to 1970s TV programmes like Star Trek.

While there was a lot of skin on show, testifying to the designer’s obsession, there were as many pieces that covered the body almost entirely with only brief glimpses through netting and chiffon.

Julien Fournie AW12 show at French Couture Week 2012 Singapore DECOR JULIEN
The designer and his new muse? Emily Hwang & Julien Fournié during the finale of his show at French Couture Week 2012. Image: Milton Tan for Fide Productions

As the models danced their way down the catwalk, smiling, laughing and pulling cheesy poses for the photographers, the final dress arrived on the elegant body of Emily Hwang, one of Singapore’s best-known fashionistas and socialites.

Sporting a happy grin, Emily was giving a huge round of applause and cheers, and when she returned at the head of Julien’s happy models, then joined by the designer himself for a dance on the runway, the crowd couldn’t help but get to their feet to help celebrate.

Celebration, is in fact, the most apt word to describe the haute couture of Julien Fournié. It is a celebration of form with its classical tailoring; a celebration of technology with its unique materials; a celebration of the body with its flashes of skin and a celebration of having a good time with its happy colour palette and show-off cuts.

Julien Fournié Autumn Winter 2012 showed at Fide Fashion Weeks’ French Couture Week 2012, on November 30, 2012. For more information about Julien Fournié Couture, go to www.julienfournie.com, or check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JulienFournieCouture. For more information about Fide Fashion Weeks’ couture events, go to www.fidefashionweeks.com/fcw. You can follow Fide Fashion Weeks on Twitter at @FidePresents; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FideFashionWeeks and on Instagram at @fidefashionweeks.