Christian L’enfant Roi is a contemporary menswear label by Christian Deslauriers. Originally from Montreal, Christian studied at College LaSalle in fashion design. With his experience and knowledge of fine detail, Christian put more focus on his personal design work, launching his debut collection in October 2010. For the first few years the brand focused on private orders “sur-mesure” sold directly to his growing clientele. In 2014 he branched out to wholesale presenting for the first time in a showroom in Paris during Men’s Fashion Week. Since it’s debut, Christian L’enfant Roi has seen growing popularity on social media and press notably being recognized by Vogue Italia’s “one to watch” Talents competition, as well as being recognized for its strong brand imaging as well as trend forecasting.
How has living in Copenhagen affected your work? Being from Montreal but having recently moved my studio to Copenhagen, I believe this change of venue has influenced me significantly. I tend to have a different perspective to aesthetics and fashion than the people in Scandinavia. I realize I have a more Americanized “street” or sportswear sensibility. Don’t get me wrong; Danish design is very luxe “street” oriented in print and silhouette, however sober or homogeneous it may be. This influences my design because I try to put emphasis on my more utilitarian side by pushing the nonconformist male to re-think their wardrobe and not play it so safe.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Everything influences my work. Sometimes I find beauty in strange places or overlooked objects. Old uniforms or traditional dress is always a go-to starting point. I am currently working on AW2016. This season I was inspired by the beauty of bacteria and colorized scanning electron microscopy of viruses. Exploring the beauty texture of these bacteria under the microscope has led me to create an entire collection inspired by something that is mostly feared.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? I absolutely love Iceland. It is by far the most breathtaking place I have been. I do have a soft spot for the importance nature has in Icelandic everyday life. In a way this mimics the idea I had about Canada growing up. I also really enjoy Warsaw energy. The old world vs. the new makes for a very different way of living than what I am used to being from North America. I always find myself being very inspired and amused because of this tension and I think it fuels new ideas.
What was your first paying job? My first paying job was for a then women’s wear designer Andy The-Anh. As Assistant Designer, I was his right hand man and learned a lot about what I liked and disliked about the industry. I cannot say it was the best experience in my career, however in many ways this has helped me understand what I was getting into once I decided to start my own brand, as well as creating contacts that would eventually help me along the way.
What do you collect? I have an obsession for the history of menswear and male aesthetics. I collect both old photography of men/boys as well as jewelry that has long since lost its importance in the way we dress such as collar bars, tie clips, handkerchief etc.
Describe your current studio or workspace. Since relocating the studio a few months ago, I have become somewhat of a creative nomad. I left my very practical and beautiful studio space in the Mile-end of Montreal to simply having my studio in my home here in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. Granted it is a beautiful and sunny space in my top floor apartment in one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods. Space in Denmark in much less accessible than in my home town. But if I weigh the positives, life outside closed doors is much more stimulating so the need for a more conventional studio space has, for now, disappeared.
How long have you lived in Copenhagen and what brought you there? I have lived in Copenhagen for five months. After 12 years in Montreal, a city I adore, I needed a change. My husband is Danish and we had lived here on and off for a few years until we decided to make a permanent relocation. I am not one for getting too comfortable in my designs so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to switch things up a little both in my own life and my creative life.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? Christian L’enfant Roi suggests a novel sartorial take on urban dressing. Strong pieces should always play between the interaction they have with the universe or inspiration of that particular season and their over all wearability. I try to create a utilitarian bespoke wardrobe for men that are brave enough to reinvent and reconsider what I see as “easy” wardrobes. There is, without a doubt, a sensibility and non-conformism to my work.
Favorite place to shop? I don’t like to shop much. I don’t mind concept stores and thrift shops but I also enjoy high brand flagship stores. But my favorite place to shop at the moment is sports shops and outdoor equipment stores. When you mix it all together that sums up my look at the moment.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? The best reaction is always when I see other people wear my clothes in ways I would not have styled them. Selling in Japan, I often see clients there styling my pieces in entire different ways. That is the biggest compliment.