Iouri Philippe Paille, from Montreal was the lucky winner of the YEAY “win a trip to Berlin and VIP PASS for BAFW” competition. Not only is he a music video director, this talented storyteller is also interested and fascinated by art and fashion, thanks to his beautiful girlfriend who accompanied him on this adventure to Berlin during Berlin Alternative Fashion Week from 28th September to 2nd of October, 2016.
Can you tell us more about your roots, your passions. How did your job with direction is linked to fashion, anyhow?
I’m the son of two awesome hippie parents, raised in a small town outside of Montreal, where not much happens. I moved to Montreal when I was 20 to try to get into Film School and become a director. The plan strangely worked quite well! I have now worked in the industry for close on 10 years, focussing primarily on music videos and commercials. Music videos are never very far from the fashion scene, since we are always looking for cool designer outfits, trying to keep styles fresh and relevant. My girlfriend loves fashion and is teaching me a lot about the difference between well made, well designed clothes and stuff you find at big retailers, etc.
Talking about your experience. When did you arrive to Berlin? How long did you stay? What did you visit?
It was the first time for me in Berlin, and it was the second time for my girlfriend. I fell in love with this city, I really did. I have travelled a lot, and this might be the very first city I could see myself moving to. There is a freedom, a unique artistic vibe on every corner, and also just a huge historical background. I was completely taken with Friedrichshain. Even though we went about, city centre and some tourist spots, for me it was those small neighbourhoods, like Friedrichshain, that really stood out. It has such a strong soul; it’s like the people, and artists have very much taken over the city and made it their own. It’s imperfect, has lots of tags and old buildings, but it’s been transformed, shaped and taken over by a vibrant and effervescent culture. It’s really hard to fully describe how Berlin not only makes you feel at home, but it invites you to create and share your talent and your soul with the city, and all of this with a strong culture of freedom and peace.
What did you get up to? What did you enjoy the most?
The best thing was finding perfect coffee in cafés and brunch spots (there is a big third wave coffee culture and amazing brunches in Montreal too!), lazily walking around the streets until it was time for a beer (drinking in the streets, are you kidding me – I love it!), then walking by the canal, watching the sun set, and finally going back on the hunt for that perfect small restaurant (if you care for good food, there are definitely a few gems from around the world everywhere). There is this electricity and energy, that fills the street at night, and it’s just truly invigorating.
How would you explain Berlin to a person who had never visited it?
It’s a Montreal hijacked by artists and visionaries, a Mile End still affordable and very respectful of the young crowds it addresses, a place where you can walk your dog without a leash, drink your beer in the street, and feel like whatever you project. Whatever your unique vision is, Berlin will greet it with an open heart and arms wide open. It truly felt like home from the very moment I set foot there .
Did you like BAFW? What impressed you the most? What about your girlfriend?
I loved it! It was a true insight into the very creative and unique world of independent designers and talented up-and-comers in the fashion world. The way the designers and models mixed with the crowd in the market space downstairs was also very interesting. It felt very welcoming and warm, as opposed to a lot of fashion events that feel cold and stiff. My girlfriend actually fell in love with many collections! Berlin already being a destination for avant-garde fashion, it was really awesome to get that insight into what’s next in the fashion industry.
Would you attend another BAFW event?
We would love to. We fell in love with Berlin, and the BAFW proved to be such a unique and entertaining event; we would absolutely love to make it a yearly date with the city!
Would this be possible in Canada?
Montreal and Toronto both have decent fashion festival, but no alternative festivals. The mindset in Canada is quite straight, a little less creative and free. Even though we have amazing artists, it’s more about the way our events are thought out, organized, engineered which makes them lack a little bit of that unique, alternative, original vision we have witnessed in Berlin. I do think artists are striving to take Toronto and Montreal to new levels and break free from some of the very conventional practices that sometimes imprison the most creative and original ideas that we have. I see a lot of Montreal in Berlin, and I can see a not so distant future where a unique and original alternative fashion week like BAFW can be born and slowly make its mark and make its way. I definitely do think that we could learn a lot from the way artistic projects and spontaneous ideas are easily carried out in Berlin: the openness to it all that you feel in every corner of Berlin.
How did you get to know our contest? Did you already know our app?
We have a very talented designer friend from Montreal (Shout out to Anne Faf from Of Sharks and Men). She discovered the app and we saw her post on Instagram, and were intrigued by it. We downloaded the app and loved the concept. We don’t have anything like it in Montreal, or anywhere else, I think, so we were thrilled to participate in the competition and hopefully make people aware of that awesome app!
What did you like about it?
Well, it’s ridiculously simple to use. You would think getting your hands on designer clothes, and especially ones seen in fashion shows, would be almost impossible. So, it’s very fresh and very attractive to have that power from an app, with such an easy and straightforward workflow. I also find the videos, even when they are very basic, to be so much more than a photo of a model, highly retouched in Photoshop, where it’s hard to tell how the clothes really fit. It’s also overall very playful and fun to navigate through – very alive and more personal.
You got to know Melanie, CEO of YEAY. How was she and what would you like to say to YEAY?
Melanie has a true vision. She has a unique drive that you rarely see. It was astonishing to see her oversee the whole thing while being so attentive and considerate about our comfort and our experience. She is building something special, and really knows how to look at the big picture. It was very interesting chatting with her and getting to know the background story and the vision under the whole thing.
Interview by Chiara Vilasi