Xavier Dolan For Louis Vuitton's Pre-Fall 2016 Collection

Xavier Dolan, Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection ambassador, talks about being friends with Léa Seydoux, wearing the same sweatpants, and forming unbreakable bonds.

BY Janie Cai | Jun 9, 2016 | Fashion

Shayne Laverdiere

Actor, writer, director and producer Xavier Dolan was born on March 20, 1989 in Montreal, Canada. Known for films that explore the tense and complex relationships between family and society, Dolan’s first film I Killed My Mother, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, won three awards at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and became Canada’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2010 Academy Awards. Other critically acclaimed films soon followed, and in 2014, Mommy shared the Jury Prize in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. More recently, the 27-year-old directed the video for Adele’s monster hit “Hello”. He was also appointed the ambassador for Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection. Featuring a palette of wintery blues with hints of khaki, warm burgundy and grey, the range includes a selection of light knits that are inspired by emblematic Scottish scarves. And whether it be a quilted jacquard cardigan or a military rib jumper, Dolan proves that he is still right at home in front of the camera.

Leather aviator jacket and LB badge brooch in enamel, leather and brass, both by Louis Vuitton.

How did the collaboration with Louis Vuitton start?
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 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 favour of an ambassador role. It was absolutely amazing.

What do you like about Kim Jones’ work?
I like his modernity and refinement. He is rational and direct. There are so many ideas and textures, so much richness, but without any affectation or preciousness. I’m happy to represent the Vuitton man as 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 who the post-adolescent in me wanted to become.

Wool reversible Karakoram coat by Louis Vuitton.

During the latest shows, you met the female ambassadors and the friends of the house, such as actresses Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Alicia Vikander, Catherine Deneuve and Léa Seydoux. As a director, would you like to work with any of them?
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 invariably 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 that we met.

How would you describe your style?
I have two. The first, the one for everyday life, is fairly banal: blue or black sweatpants, and the same T-shirts shrunk from washing. I rotate between two or three bomber jackets with the same hoodie underneath every day. Or otherwise, on top of the T-shirt, I wear a jumper that—despite what else is available—always ends up being one of the same four or five. The second style is the one for premieres and the red carpet. That one changes constantly, and I’d say it gets simpler with age.

Wool trousers and wool knit rollneck, both by Louis Vuitton.

You have a good track record with the Cannes Film Festival. What are your fondest memories of being a jury member last year?
It was out of the ordinary as an experience, and literally exceptional. Never could I have dreamt of that kind of adventure, or of that kind of adventure happening the way that 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 humour, and without anyone’s egos or ambitions getting in the way of our debates. It was really great.

What interesting encounters did you have that might lead to a future collaboration?
The Coen brothers, and in particular Joel and his wife Frances, who 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, who I have the pleasure of meeting up with every 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.

Which film are you most proud of today? And which is the most personal?
It’s Only the End of the World is the one that makes me feel most proud, and it is the best in my opinion. But I say that about every film, and I hope that will always be the case.

Are you generally nervous about how your films will be received?
I’m not nervous. I’m not afraid of the public, or the press. I make films for people. 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 have the power to decide which films will make a mark upon their generation, in some minor or major way. The films that stay with us, the films that live within us—only the public can decide these things. So I’m not nervous about who does or doesn’t like my films. I’m hopeful that people like them and will go to see them. In fact, I live in that hope.

Is social media important for your work, or is it just a personal pastime?
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, rather Latin. My Mediterranean blood, undoubtedly…

Wool reversible Karakoram coat by Louis Vuitton.

How do you choose your actors?
By watching them act.

Would you still like to act? And would you prefer to do so in your own films or for other directors
Absolutely, and more than ever. And I would say for other directors. On my own, I’m so limited and I don’t have 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 he or she enjoys and admires my work, that I have “satisfied” him or her. Any collaboration, any friendship or any love, I think, is based upon the admiration that we have for people, and our determination for them to admire us in return.

Is going from one film to another painful, or is it rather inspiring and exciting?
Inspiring and exciting. By the time a film is finished and ready to be shown, it’s in the past for those who made it. I’ve thought about it, edited it, dressed it, visualised it, mounted it, calibrated it, mixed it, made it, unmade it, refined it, polished it, loved it, hated it. I’ve passed through all stages, all emotions, and the film itself—even though I’m proud of it—no longer stimulates me. There’s a sadness about that. But that’s when I turn to the computer and start to write, and think about the things to follow. Then, very quickly, or less quickly, an idea appears. It comes from me, from a book, from a piece of music, or from a friend. And that idea becomes the new dream.

From: Esquire Singapore's June 2016 issue.