Olivier Theyskens on How He Designs: 'I Put Myself Mentally in the Place of Girls'

Olivier Theyskens sat down with Into the Gloss to talk everything from designing for himself (as a cool girl), how he learned to accept his appearance as a teenager, and why he loves New York (Hint: manicurists!). Here are the best bits. On his design mentality: There’s been this shift in my mind that I basically…more and more put myself mentally in the place of girls. To imagine girls—would I like this if I was there? Would I want to dress like that? Would I like to wear that jacket? If I had that jacket, what pants would I really like to wear with it to look cool? That’s how I sort of evolved with designing. That’s maybe why—even the way I see my outfits even on the [Theyskens’ Theory] catwalk, they do not look like me as a designer, like I’m showing some impressive design. It’s more like me as I imagine I would like my clothes to be if I was a cool girl. [ed note: That explains the underwear] It’s very different from before, because it’s less seen from outside. It’s less that I look at the girl from outside, as a figure. It’s a mental shift, I think.
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Olivier Theyskens sat down with Into the Gloss to talk everything from designing for himself (as a cool girl), how he learned to accept his appearance as a teenager, and why he loves New York (Hint: manicurists!). Here are the best bits. On his design mentality: There’s been this shift in my mind that I basically…more and more put myself mentally in the place of girls. To imagine girls—would I like this if I was there? Would I want to dress like that? Would I like to wear that jacket? If I had that jacket, what pants would I really like to wear with it to look cool? That’s how I sort of evolved with designing. That’s maybe why—even the way I see my outfits even on the [Theyskens’ Theory] catwalk, they do not look like me as a designer, like I’m showing some impressive design. It’s more like me as I imagine I would like my clothes to be if I was a cool girl. [ed note: That explains the underwear] It’s very different from before, because it’s less seen from outside. It’s less that I look at the girl from outside, as a figure. It’s a mental shift, I think.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Olivier Theyskens sat down with Into the Gloss to talk everything from designing for himself (as a cool girl), how he learned to accept his appearance as a teenager, and why he loves New York (Hint: manicurists!).

Here are the best bits.

On his design mentality:

There’s been this shift in my mind that I basically…more and more put myself mentally in the place of girls. To imagine girls—would I like this if I was there? Would I want to dress like that? Would I like to wear that jacket? If I had that jacket, what pants would I really like to wear with it to look cool? That’s how I sort of evolved with designing. That’s maybe why—even the way I see my outfits even on the [Theyskens’ Theory] catwalk, they do not look like me as a designer, like I’m showing some impressive design. It’s more like me as I imagine I would like my clothes to be if I was a cool girl. [ed note: That explains the underwear] It’s very different from before, because it’s less seen from outside. It’s less that I look at the girl from outside, as a figure. It’s a mental shift, I think.

On women wearing makeup:

I feel uncomfortable more and more with makeup and girls. It’s maybe just the moment right now. It’s weird, the way we choose to wear makeup around the eye, and the lips.

On learning to feel confident about his appearance:

As a kid of the 80’s, I had always on my mind that the beautiful, good-looking guy was the prototype of the 80’s guy, who was sort of like, this huge, big, beefy guy with short hair—what I would never be. [Then] we entered that era where androgyny became more fashionable. By seventeen, I sort of felt like I was happy with the physique I had, just right in time. [Laughs] I was really happy! And the whole time I had eczema on my face, you know, bad skin on my eyes. It was tough. I mean, I was feeling like I was a little ugly man. [Laughs] So I was like, ‘I actually look cool!’

On always wanting long hair:

I had always wished to have long hair, since I was a very very little child. I remember really really early memories, I would always put anything fringy—like a fringe blanket—on my head. Even at the restaurant I would put my napkin on my head and imagine it’s like hair. [ed note: Aw]

On why he loves New York:

What’s good in New York is that you can get a cool manicure. I like it, it’s very pleasant—just clean and perfect fingertips.