A Muse You Can Use “People inspire me more than fashion,” says the newly minted Nina Ricci designer Guillaume Henry, 36. Topping his list is the French singer-songwriter Mohini Geisweiller, whom he met almost four years ago, when, as the creative director of Carven, he featured her music in a runway show. The two have been inseparable ever since, people-watching at Paris’s Café de Flore, where Henry will often secretly photograph well-dressed little old French ladies with his iPhone, collecting what he calls “paparazzi shots.” It’s not hard to see what draws him to Geisweiller, who dabbled in modeling before turning to music. “She’s fascinating, diaphanous, a bit of a loner—like an untamed cat,” Henry says, explaining that Geisweiller’s confident attitude now informs his work at Nina Ricci. “Carven was a girl,” he says. “Nina Ricci is a woman.”
To the Max The apartment near the Palais Royal that Henry shares with Eric Chevallier, his partner of seven years, has little in common with Henry’s subdued fashion sense. It’s packed with colorful objects and furniture, though both men swear they’ve pared down. Chevallier, 35, is the visual director at Colette, as well as a furniture and interior designer. He did all of the Carven boutiques, “not because we’re a couple,” Henry says, “but because he’s good, and he gets me.” Many of the graphic, brightly hued sofas and chairs in their place are Chevallier’s designs, too, but there’s also a psychedelic Pierre Paulin stool and a Jean Prouvé table that “like a solid couple, we bought together,” Henry says. Born in the Haute-Marne section of France, he moved to Paris at age 18 to attend the Duperré School of Applied Arts and the Institut Français de la Mode. “Once I started working, I began collecting vintage. My style was flea market.” Chevallier changed that, but Henry retains his love of a good tchotchke. “I think our things blend really well together,” Henry says, gesturing to a small table laden with color-coded objects, like a radio that looks like an order of McDonald’s French fries and a Chinese-red Hermès ashtray.
Great Escapes The couple met in Paris’s Chacha Club “during the two months it was cool,” Chevallier says. “It was really late, and we were the only two left on the dance floor,” Henry adds. “No, there were plenty of other people, but you saw me and everything else turned to fog!” Chevallier interjects. “I kissed Guillaume on the neck, he got out his phone to take down my number, and I did a dance move and knocked it right out of his hand.” Over the years, including the six they’ve lived together, clubbing has given way to “nice dinners with friends and good red wine,” Henry says. “Guillaume is an impeccable host. I can’t even come into the kitchen,” Chevallier adds. Work is intense for both of them, so they relax with jaunts to nearby getaways like Château de Bourron, near Fontainebleau. When they have time, they venture farther afield. “Before I met Guillaume, I was fine with the South of France, but now it’s Rajasthan or Machu Picchu or Tanzania,” Chevallier says. “I’m the worst on a trip,” Henry confesses, “because I leave with one suitcase and come back with three.” Chevallier sighs. “It’s my dream to live in a white cube,” he says, laughing. “But it’ll never happen.”
Photos: Graphic Contents
Henry with singer-songwriter Mohini Geisweiller.
A Madonna illustration by the designer Yazbukey is a backdrop for two sculptures.
A look from Henry’s first Nina Ricci show, fall 2015.
George Condo skateboards.
A Damien Hirst lithograph and a vintage Lolita movie poster.
A couch designed by Chevallier, and a Jean Prouvé Potence lamp.
On a side table, Astier de Villatte cats they each bought, unbeknownst to the other.
Chevallier is obsessed with these Fornasetti candles.
Chevallier and Henry.
On vacation in Saint-Tropez. Courtesy of Henry.
A portrait by Jeanne Detallante in Henry’s apartment.
Post–Fashion Week, Henry escapes to Marrakech’s Ksar Char-Bagh hotel. Courtesy of hotel.
The Ksar Char-Bagh hotel at night. Courtesy of hotel.
Profiles of Henry and Chevallier made by a street artist.
Henry’s street-style photos of older women. Courtesy of Henry.
An oversize toy.
Assorted objects, including a French-fry radio and an Hermès ashtray.
A still from Fiona, 1998, a favorite film.
They changed the hue of the legs on this Prouvé table because Henry likes “dentist’s-office colors.
Geisweiller, in Nina Ricci.
Henry keeps an eye out for stars on the streets. Courtesy of Henry.
Chic glass domes coexist happily with Mickey and Minnie Mouse figurines.
A portrait of Henry, by Darcel Disappoints, a gift from Colette’s Sarah Lerfel.
Hair by Benedicte Cazau-Beyret at Artlist Paris; Makeup by Hugo Villard at Atomo Management; fashion assistant: Garance Chaplain.