Operatic tenor George Shirley once stated in a documentary that, “Every artist must satisfy their hunger.” And that is just what emerging designer Johnny Bechard has done. Though his path has been circuitous, Bechard is hitting his stride with his current collection, which emphasizes feminine elegance, sophistication, and eye-popping red carpet looks.
“Fashion design was always my first, true love. It was always something I really wanted to do. I pushed it in the background and pursued other careers in the industry, but ultimately I came back to my first love, designing beautiful clothes for women,” he said.
Though Johnny Bechard originally set his sights on becoming a designer, after undergraduate studies at Bauder Fashion College, a modeling career diverted his fashion design aspirations. After eight years of modeling in Europe, Bechard continued working in the fashion industry first as an agency booker, and later in sales for Tory Birch and Barney’s. Still, Bechard had to scratch the proverbial design itch, and after designing high-end eveningwear for private clients, finally in late 2008 he launched his first complete collection.
Those eight years modeling in Europe helped Bechard develop very sophisticated tastes, a quality that would later serve him well. “Because I worked in front of the camera, I have a keen eye for what looks good on the body, what will pop on the red carpet, and what works on an editorial shoot.”
This refined taste and sensibility is evidenced in his Fall 2010 collection, a collection the references the quiet beauty of flowers. “My current collection is based on the metamorphosis of flowers. I reference the entire plant, from the layers of the stems to the bloom. I use a lot of ruffles at the bottom of these gowns so that when a woman sits down, the ruffles unfold and the movement continues. In effect, the dresses move when you are not in motion.”
Like many socially conscious designers, Bechard believes in keeping everything locally made. “Everything is 100% silk and made in the USA … my customer wants something individual and special. And I can oversee how my garments are made because they are made in the New York City garment district.”
Though tough economic times prevail, Johnny Bechard has listened to that still, small voice that told him he had the goods to create beautiful clothes. “I believe I really have a voice. I believe that if you have a passion for something, you have to satisfy your muse. So hard economic times aside, I have to satisfy my muse.”
An 8-year modeling career, a top career in sales for Tory Birch, and now a sophisticated collection that speaks to the woman who wants timeless eveningwear that emphasizes feminine silhouettes. Not bad for a young boy who fell in love with fashion watching the Miss America Pageant.
Johnny Bechard’s collections can be found in Vivaldi and several other NYC boutiques. For more information, go to johnnybechard.com.
Images courtesy of Johnny Bechard.