"See now, buy now" collections are a hot topic. What are your thoughts on this type of business model? "For me, fashion has to evoke desire. I think it's important to have a 'desire' period, for the customer to see the clothes, then want them and finally get them. At the same time, waiting six months is too much. We are now discovering collections immediately after they are shown, through social media, so there is this disconnect between the way technology has made fashion move forward and the way that the deliveries are still happening six months later."
Do you consider Instagram a friend or foe? "What attracted me to Instagram was this idea of building moodboards and collages. Like everything, though, it has gotten out of hand. At the beginning of the blog generation, I thought it was interesting to hear from people who maybe didn't have the background in fashion but whose opinions were real and unadulterated. Now it seems there are too many opinions, too many so-called 'experts'. Because of social media, we have lost a lot of mystery in the industry, which is really what luxury is about."
What is the biggest challenge for designers today? "We are pressured in every sense - to be innovative, new and creative. At the same time we need to run a business and sell our products. When do designers have time to reflect and think about their work? I have to live in order to be inspired about my work. That's one of the reasons why Raf [Simons] left Dior - we don't have enough time to do a good job anymore."
What are your thoughts on the offline vs online retail debate? "For me, the more personal the experience, the better. You cannot only be online - the physical experience is also important. What's interesting about online, though, is that the customer receives a product at home and is then able to try it with things she already owns."
Which designer do you admire the most? "Dries Van Noten embodies the dream aspect of fashion for me. I am a huge fan, and I buy [that brand] all the time. Every piece he makes, whether it's a T-shirt or trousers, embodies his essence. You feel integrity with Dries, there's a realness in everything he creates. As soon as you walk into his store you feel like you are discovering a part of who he is."