Handmade with Love in France

Handmade with Love in France is fascinating documentary celebrates the Parisian artisans who create fabulous haute-couture outfits for the likes of Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, which ran as part of the 2015 French Film Festival.  Director Julie Georgia Bernard was in Christchurch to attend the screening and do a Q&A after the film. We got a few minutes of her time. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got your start in films?

I was born in Paris and as far as I can remember I wanted to work in films. After studying film and litterature at the Sorbonne I had the opportunity to complète my films studies at the school of visual arts in NYC. I directed two short films in NY, one fiction and one documentary.

Can you describe the documentary in one sentence?

The every day life, laughs and struggles of four parisian artisans who work for Haute Couture.

How was the idea for Handmade with Love In France born?

I used to direct a short feature that aired within a TV fashion magazine in Paris. It was called "Let me go through I work in the fashion industry" and talked about fashion related jobs that werent necessarily known by the public. I quickly found myself filming the différent ateliers and got to meet incredible, down to earth, humble, fun and sweet People : the artisans. That's why I wanted to do a film about them.

If there was one piece that was being worked on during your interviews/footage that you could have taken home, what would it be?

One of Monsieur Lognon's wonderful plissé : a good memory of his kindness and generosity.

We live in a world where fashion is increasingly accessible.  This is kind of good because it brings it to more people, but it has come at the expense of quality and is increasingly mass produced. How important is it to ensure that this incredible craftsmanship and handmade masterpieces continues?

It is crucial that french craftmanship goes on because it is the foundation of Haute Couture. I think that most luxury brands have understood this and they are buying the workshops that are threatened to close down. Therefore the skills and the know-how are preserved. It is true that we loose a certain "magic" through the process, and that characters like Mr Lognon will be harder and harder to encounter in the future...but what really matters in the end is that the skills are preserved.

What do you want people to be talking about when they leave the theatre?

About how extraodinary these craftsmen are.

Whats your most prized possession fashion-wise?

My Olympia Le Tan minaudière evening purse. Olympia Le Tan makes evening purses that look like books. Mine is from Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet". It used to be my favorite book when I was 15, like a life guide, almost a bible.  I used to be able to récite it all by heart. I still remember some lines, like : "If your every day life seems poor, don't blame it, blame yourself. Tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches, for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifférent place"

The trailer talks about slowing down in a fast paced world, what do you do to slow down and escape?

I plan a "boring" day with my daughter. We don't have to do anything even if it is beautiful outside. We stay in pyjamas, eat chocolate, listen to fun music, invent silly games, watch a good movie : we let the time pass by... I am lucky because my daughter is a quiet kid and she actually likes to do this as much as I do !!