Founded in 2014 by Hijiri Endo, Théodore Famery, Agoston Palink and Felix Gesnouin, Carne Bollente began as a joke between a crew of Paris-based creatives and has since grown to become a full-blown fashion phenomenon. Featuring NSFW scenes inspired by 90s porn, wearing a Carne Bollente (which means “boiled meat” in Italian) shirt can feel pretty empowering – like a sex positive statement that encourages its wearer to embrace their own sexuality and kinks.
Serving as one of the masterminds behind Carne Bollente, Felix Gesnouin joined the brand while studying at the prestigious design university ENSCI. In addition to his work as head illustrator with Carne, Felix is also a seriously talented model, having walked for Fendi, Balmain and Lacoste this year alone.
Though the brand initially stuck to stitching each naughty fantasy onto luxe tees, today fans of Carne Bollente can also get their fix with hats, sweaters and socks – with jackets and wallets coming later this year. While the world is forced to wait for the highly anticipated release, we sat Gesnouin down to discuss why some sex positions just don’t work as an illustration, the importance of having a career outside of modelling and the story behind his funny Instagram persona.
On transforming sex scenes into clothes:
Everyone on the team has their own massive database of vintage porn on their computers, all filled with different fetishes and 90s stuff. It’s always a question of, “What kind of sex do we want to go for?” We’re always trying to find themes that we can stick to. From there, we start drawing and including objects to work around with. Théo [Famery] is our art director, and he really helps out with composition to ensure the whole thing looks well thought out and harmonious. It’s actually a long process of development, weirdly enough.
Why some sex positions don’t translate well into illustrations:
Sometimes we’ll try a certain design, but after doing an embroidery test it’s like, “Ah, it doesn’t work.” I’ll understand what I want in my head, but it just doesn’t come out the way I want it to. When this happens, it’s mainly due to the composition and how it’s built rather than the actual theme.
How being based in Paris has contributed to the brand’s sex-positive message:
Sexuality in Paris is very open and theres a real sense of freedom, especially now as gender barriers continue to break down. Other cities like New York and London have a strong sense of sexuality, too, but the way they talk about it is very Anglo-Saxon. Whereas here, there’s a sense of romantic Latin bullshit that gives a nice depth to our project. Every place has its own spirit, and I think Paris is very similar to Italy’s dolce vita lifestyle. That’s why we call ourselves Carne Bollente.
On juggling life as a fashion designer and a model:
I started modelling eight years ago. Back then I was still studying, so the whole idea of doing two things at once comes quite naturally. In this business [modelling], if you don’t do something on the side it’s easy to go crazy. It isn’t daily work; sometimes it’s good and I work a lot but other times I’ll go two weeks between modelling gigs. I can’t stand not doing anything, so it’s nice to keep busy with multiple jobs.
On his hilarious Instagram persona:
I really can’t stand people who pretend to be something they aren’t on Instagram. I think if you have to portray yourself on social media, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re a human being. If you create a persona that doesn’t correspond to you or represent who you are, it’s ultimately going to create some kind of neurosis. I work in an industry that’s all about image, and if you’re working with your image you might as well be funny about it. A lot of guys I meet who are huge on Instagram are actually really shy or different in real life. On the other hand, if you were to meet me in real life, it’s pretty much the same. Or at least I hope.
Why Dior Homme’s AW12 show is his favourite:
I closed the show, which had a super complicated runway. “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid was playing and I was wearing a massive cape. I’m not a warrior kind of dude, but in that moment I was like, “Holy shit, this is impressive.” When you do a lot of shows, it can become recurrent and it’s easy to lose the feeling where you’re super excited. But then, once in a while, a show comes along that has me thinking, “Oh my god, that was fucking amazing and so intense” and I go crazy inside.
On his personal style:
I basically only buy vintage things. My girlfriend Fanny and I are real believers in vintage stores and live in flea markets and thrift shops. My favourite one in Paris is called Richie’s Vintage.