FALL IN MOTION. Filmmaker extraordinaire Xavier Dolan lends his moody charm to Louis Vuitton’s exquisite pre-fall collection
There’s nothing ordinary about the life of Xavier Dolan. The Quebecois first broke into the international cinema scene with his debut film, “I Killed My Mother” (2009), which he wrote, acted in, directed and produced.
It didn’t take long for the openly gay filmmaker to top that feat with his powerfully emotional third film, “Laurence Anyways” (2012), which nabbed the Queer Palm and the Un Certain Regard for the Best Actress awards at the Cannes Film Festival that year.
And in a few months’ time, the 27-year-old director is set to launch what many expect to be his best movie yet, “It’s Only the End of the World.” This motion picture will feature some of the most influential French actors at the moment, including the lovely Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel and Vincent Cassel.
As if his cinematic endeavors are not enough to impress the world, Dolan has also been reprising his fashion role as Louis Vuitton’s brand ambassador, and he takes on this role with what can only be described as an incomprehensible ease. Just like in this beautifully-shot series of photos, Dolan brings a little bit of his motion picture moods into the frames, adding depth and perspective to the brand’s sumptuous pre-fall 2016 pieces. The talented Canadian reveals even more on his exciting fashion and film endeavors in the interview.
DA MAN: How did your collaboration with Louis Vuitton start?
Xavier Dolan: It’s impossible to forget. On my birthday last year, my publicist called to tell me that Louis Vuitton wanted to do a seasonal campaign with me. I could hardly believe it. I immediately called my French agent, who works fairly closely with the Louis Vuitton fashion house. Apparently, the idea had been an initiative by an advertising company employed for the campaign in question. When the Paris office heard about the idea, they actually decided to abandon the campaign in favor of an ambassador role. It was absolutely amazing.
DA MAN: What is it that you like the most about Kim Jones’ work?
Xavier Dolan: I like his modernity and his refinement. He is rational and direct. There are so many ideas and textures, so much richness, but without any affectation. I’m happy to represent the Louis Vuitton man the way Kim imagines him. There’s nothing more difficult than wearing clothes that don’t represent you in any way, or which inconvenience you because of their style or cut. What Kim does corresponds to my tastes and, strangely, to the man that the post-adolescent in me wanted to become.
DA MAN: During the brand’s latest shows you’ve had the chance to meet the female ambassadors and friends of the house: actresses Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Alicia Vikander, Catherine Deneuve, Léa Seydoux. As a director, would you like to work with any of them?
Xavier Dolan: I love Catherine. We’ve known each other for a little while now. We always meet in slightly fleeting, even superficial, moments, but our exchanges are always very amusing and frank. She makes me laugh a lot. Léa is a friend and I’ve just finished making “It’s Only the End of the World,” in which she acts. Aside from that I really admire Michelle, and there was an immediate connection between us the first time we met.
DA MAN: How would you describe your style?
Xavier Dolan: I have two. The first, the one for everyday life, is fairly banal. Blue or black sweatpants, the same T-shirts shrunk from washing. I rotate between two or three bomber jackets with the same hoodie underneath, every day. Or on top of the T-shirt I wear a jumper which—despite what else is on offer or available—always ends up being one of the same four or five. The second style is the one for premieres and red carpets. That one changes constantly, and I’d say it gets simpler with age.
“On my birthday, my publicist called to tell me that Louis Vuitton wanted to do a campaign with me”
DA MAN: You have a good history with the Cannes Film Festival. What are your memories from being a jury member last year?
Xavier Dolan: It was out of the ordinary as an experience, and literally exceptional. Never could I have dreamed of that kind of adventure, or of that kind of adventure happening the way it did. Obviously, it would have been different with other jurors, in another year, or with other films. We had profound, human conversations, without any pretentiousness, all in good humor and without anyone’s egos or ambitions getting in the way of our debates. It was really great.
DA MAN: What interesting encounters did you have which might lead to future collaborations?
Xavier Dolan: The Coen brothers, and in particular Joel and his wife Frances, whom I love, are now friends of mine. I have a great, great fondness for Guillermo del Toro, who came to Montreal to see me one day on the set of “It’s Only the End of the World.” He’s a well-learned, curious and honest individual. I’m very close to Sienna Miller, too, whom I have the pleasure of meeting up with now and then at certain events in London and elsewhere. We don’t see each other often, but the Festival has created some unbreakable bonds.
DA MAN: Which film are you most proud of today?
Xavier Dolan: “It’s Only the End of the World” is the one that makes me feel most proud, and is the best in my opinion. But I say that about every film. I hope that will always be the case.
“I’m hard on myself but nothing can make me surpass myself more than the desire to please someone else”
DA MAN: Are you generally nervous about how your films will be met?
Xavier Dolan: I’m not nervous. I’m not afraid of the public, or of the press. But I make films for people, for others. If they don’t like them, or if they don’t go to see them, I can content myself with a few good reviews or an appearance at a prestigious festival. The life of a film exists in people’s hearts; it’s there that artworks remain in posterity. Only the public has the power to decide upon the films which will make a mark upon their generation, in some minor or major way; the films which stay with us; the films which live within us. Only the public can decide upon these things. So I’m not nervous about who does or doesn’t like my films. I’m hopeful that people like them, and go to see them. In fact, I live in that hope.
DA MAN: When will filming start on your first English film, “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” with Jessica Chastain and Kit Harington?
Xavier Dolan: On July 9, in Montreal.
DA MAN: What is your relationship with social media like? Is it important for your work or just a personal pastime?
Xavier Dolan: A little of both. I like to have a place in it, but not too seriously. Admittedly, Twitter allows me, if need be, to have a rant about something, more or less tastefully I might add. I’m rather excessive in my reactions. My Mediterranean blood, undoubtedly.
DA MAN: How were you approached by Adele to direct the music video for “Hello”?
Xavier Dolan: Fairly simple. Her label contacted my manager and we arranged to meet up to break the ice, to talk, and to see if the chemistry between us was good. What was supposed to be a formal meeting became quickly intimate and right away we had this mutual trust, an almost automatic bond.
DA MAN: Would you still like to act in front of the camera? Would you prefer to do so in your own films or for other directors?
Xavier Dolan: Absolutely, and more than ever. And I would say for other directors. On my own, I’m so limited and I haven’t got what gives actors a goal: to surpass themselves in order to satisfy someone’s expectations. I’m hard on myself but nothing can make me surpass myself more than the desire to please someone else, and to see in the eyes of that person that they enjoy and admire my work, that I have “satisfied” them. Any collaboration, and any friendship, any love, I think, is based upon the admiration we have for people, and our determination for them to admire us in return.
Photography Shayne Lavardiere
Styling Ylias Nacer