Paris (AFP)

"I have never had so much fun as this last year", assures the couturier Julien Fournié, who dresses queens and princesses of the Middle East.

Sensual and glamorous, her three models cross "the storm" in a film for the haute couture collection.

Last preparations for this sequence in a universe of white lilies which give off a harsh and intoxicating smell: in long and tight dresses "sky colors before the storm" - gray, purple, midnight blue -, Michaela Tomanova, Angeliki Tsionou and Sheherazade Dakhlaoui leave their slippers for dizzying heels and the shooting begins.

"There are already clothes that are pre-purchased, I know my customers by heart", welcomes the designer.

The Louvre oratory had been reserved, but the parade initially scheduled for Tuesday and which can only take place without an audience due to the health situation, will not take place.

The collection will be unveiled in a film directed by the cinephile couturier, who plunges his muses into symbolic universes, with nods to Georges Méliès, Quentin Tarantino or Jacques Demy.

- "Insane prices" -

No regrets with the couturier, whose dresses cost 40,000 euros up to "the sky is the limit" (no ceiling) and are snapped up with his customers in the Middle East and Asia.

Tailored dress in trompe l'oeil, embroidery which evokes the academicians: "it is an intellectual collection".

"We have sometimes reached insane prices because there are 290 hours of embroidery or 390 hours of plumasserie. I offer handkerchief hems, bumblebees or hems by hand; these take a colossal time when you have 200- 300 meters of muslin. We sell hourly time and French know-how ".

The long dresses with the clean cut and the sharp sculpture of the busts are equipped this season with kimono sleeves, "difficult to achieve".

- "I said stop" -

Thanks to his very wealthy - discreet - clients, Julien Fournié is doing quite well in the face of the pandemic.

"Before, I was like a hamster in a wheel, we had to redo the collections every six months. You no longer take the pleasure of doing it (...). This period of Covid made me say stop" , he told AFP.

"We often think of haute couture dresses with tons of sequins and frills worn by + people + on the red carpet. That's not it at all. It's a thoughtful piece of clothing for a unique woman and a unique moment. ".

Julien Fournié dreams of seeing great luxury "disappear from social networks" and regrets the + peopolization + of his profession.

"We were told at the beginning + you will make dresses +. Afterwards, we were asked to do business. Because obviously we can not live only on love and fresh water ... After, + we should that you are marketing, make accessories +. OK. Then + you have to do com and be god of Instagram +. It's very time-consuming and it's not my job to do keké on Intragram ! ", says the creator.

- Model stuck at home -

Usually, he goes to his clients, to their palaces or their mansion when they are in Europe.

But in times of Covid, the way of working changes.

Dresses for a postponed wedding are still waiting, but orders have resumed since the end of October for clients who have representation roles, tells AFP Jean-Paul Cauvin, director of the house.

A new client of a royal family in the Middle East, "never seen before," emailed her measurements, but no photo.

The house sent her the canvas which she tried on with her seamstress.

She sent it back and ordered "ten dresses made by Julien".

A Belarusian model who was to star in the film was not allowed to go to Paris for the shoot because "not essential", he says.

Except that the dresses were made for her measurements.

"They did not understand anything about haute couture!".

© 2021 AFP