What do you think, when you see Corentin? An image can make us drift away to a different world that allows others to dream and create a person, who in fantasy, appears differently than in reality. And that is – most probably – the whole point of fashion and photography. Just as in French literature, models and designers try to bring their admirers into another world. Who Corentin Huard is, is something we must try to figure out. Together with Versace and Cerruti 1881 and no other place than Paris.
Our journey begins on the Place des Vosges, which is known as a “kingly square” and isn’t very far from the trendy Le Marais district. In the Maison Victor Hugo, one of the most famous museums of the French capital is where we meet Corentin Huard. Not because he names literature as one of his main activities, but much more because he, similar to Victor Hugo, is able to fascinate a ton of people. Not with literature but through fashion and photography. “Fashion has really interested me ever since I was young. One day, I bought myself a camera and then everything just happened from there”, Corentin explains while reflecting on his beginnings. The 22-year-old has been living in Paris for three years, is originally from Bordeaux and studied in the Alps, in Grenoble. His career began in France’s largest city – but not as quickly as one might think. “I met my agent here, who first sent me to Asia for a year and a half. I didn’t just travel to a number of cities but gathered my first experiences as a model.” We’re on the second floor of the house. You can smell the history coming from the walls. Versace has such a history. “I love Versace’s fashion because the Italian brand differentiates itself from others: It not only has an interesting history and tradition but additionally offers extravagant clothing of good quality. I especially like largely cut coats.” He raves. The historical and extravagant rooms of the museum remind you of Gianni and Donatella Versace. Both are icons, who have shaped the history of fashion. But who influences Corentin to this day? “David Beckham and David Gandy are two completely different men, who inspire with their sense of style. Whether they’re wearing a dress shirt, a suit or something cool – they know how to combine their pieces and make them look good.” Corentin also looks good in his first Versace outfit.
Success takes time and effort. Something Corentin knows all too well and therefore especially admires a French designer: Olivier Rousteing. “You can tell that he has a vision and that he’s fought for it. What he has achieved with Balmain is incredible.” To walk for Balmain, the former sports student claims would be a dream he’s willing to work for. And as Victor Hugo used to say: “In thought there is a will, not in a dream”.
While creating an interesting Cerruti 1881 look and admiring the beauty of Paris, you could ask yourself if there are any reasons at all to leave this city. After all, it’s pretty much known as the fashion capital and offers possibilities that other places usually lack. However, Corentin remains skeptical. “Although Paris is diverse and offers an important fashion scene, the handling of models and influencers in the French fashion industry isn’t always beneficial. Therefore, I’m drawn to foreign countries, especially America.” This spring, Huard is leaving for Los Angeles, the Influencer-Mekka, to try his luck. “I’m excited to make use of new challenges that I was not confronted with in France.” Well, LA is most probably also looking forward to him.
As a fashion specialist, who just recently sat front row at Tommy Hilfiger, a famous model, and Influencer, Corentin Huard is up to date and knows all the trends at the heart of all fashion enthusiasts. He will be able to savor his current favorites in the US. “At the moment, I’m really into the West Coast style and Vintage. I love the bombers à la Américaine, cool boots et cetera.” If you enjoy browsing through vintage stores in Paris, you might even bump into Corentin. The Frenchman, however, is very critical when it comes to contemporary trends and highlights a certain one, he can’t quite grasp: “sandals”. The sandal trend was quite dominant this past summer, which is reflected in Balenciaga and Gucci’s footwear. This controversial trend won’t be disappearing from the streets in 2018 either. “Terrible, terrible”, Corentin claims. I guess the idea of Corentin being pictured in red and green sandals on the West Coast is quite impossible now. Too bad!
Besides Instagram, YouTube is the other big and important medium of today. Corentin has also launched a channel but prefers to focus on Instagram. “I’m able to act out more creatively on Instagram. YouTube is great for people who like making Vlogs and mainly enjoy talking about themselves. I prefer to tell my stories through pictures that I myself have drawn attention to.” Corentin slips into a new outfit. You can hear the rain drizzling but the sun seems to be on its way. Has spring finally arrived?
Corentin is often confronted with prejudices. It is typical for people to underestimate or even ridicule the work of an Influencer resp. model. “That’s too bad because the effort a successful Instagram-Channel or model career takes is enormous. Organizing the appointments, the creative management – often times you end up doing it all yourself without ten assistants standing behind you. You know, when you see the images, you don’t think about how much work is actually put into them.” Indeed. Photography, fashion and art are still pushed into a corner that isn’t appreciated as “real work”. That was true for Victor Hugo’s time but partly even today. That is wrong and devastating. “The criticism is not justified”, says the model, who grew up in the French Alps with his mother. “I wish our work would be more appreciated.”
What will life look like in 10 years? Corentin Huard doesn’t really want to think that far ahead. He is a person à la carpe diem and isn’t really worried about the future. “Maybe that’s a flaw of mine, but I’ve always been like that.” However, Huard explains that he wants to own his own house at 32, settle down with a family and “just be happy”. When it comes to working, he is going to be focusing on modeling these upcoming years and collaborations with creatives and magazines. “You never know who you’re going to meet in this business and what kind of opportunities will present themselves, right?” Meanwhile, it’s time for the last Cerruti 1881 outfit. The sun is slowly beginning to stand out and we’re walking towards the Louvre. You can hear how Nicolas, the photographer, is taking pictures of Corentin. What’s going on in heads of all the people involved? You just don’t know. And that is the beauty of fashion and photography. You get to know people like Corentin through pictures, and literature helps to understand these people.
Creative Direction + Text: Karim Coppola
Photography: Nicolas Gerardin
Hair & Make Up: Eva Guapas
Brands: Cerruti 1881, Versace
Special Thanks: Maison Victor Hugo