In honour of International Women’s Day 2019, we tribute to the inimitable Isabel Marant as a fearless female designer championing the pieces women want to wear since 1994.
Paris-based designer Isabel Marant’s global success is celebrated for her ability to create a bohemian uniform of effortless pieces that exude French feminine elegance, creating an immediate desire of necessity. Heralded as the creator of ‘French-girl chic’, Parlour X was the first and continues to be the largest boutique stockist in the Asia-Pacific region for the label. During this time, director Eva Galambos has formed deep, personal relationships with many of the Isabel Marant crew. With an intimate knowledge buying the brand for over fifteen years, Parlour X is proud to represent the Isabel Marant instantly recognisable aesthetic.
X Files celebrates the social, commercial and cultural achievements of this formidable female designer through an exclusive interview with French fashion designer, Isabel Marant. De rien!
Talk us through a typical day-in-the-life of Isabel Marant:
In the morning I drive my scooter to the pool in St. Germain. It is where I set up my mind and breathe. I really enjoy swimming, It’s the only moment where I’m alone and it’s a very precious moment. Then I stop by a juice bar. I don’t have a juice ritual. It really depends on what I am craving – lately, it’s carrot and ginger.
When I get to the studio, I check my e-mails and organize my schedule. I work with my team on designs and prints then do fittings. We’ve all worked together for a long time, so it’s quite peaceful and cosy. It’s always the same process, the same habits and combinations. There’s a thread of common elements between the collections and I am making sure it has a certain contrast of different ideas. In the evening, I spend time with my son, have dinner. When my husband (accessories designer Jérôme Dreyfuss) gets home, we chat and watch TV. It’s wonderful to share your life with someone who understands you — your stress, and your nights and weekends at the office. But we rarely speak about work at home.
What is the defining characteristic of ‘French style,’ for you?
French style is about understatement. Actually, French girls spend a lot of time pretending like they’re not paying attention, while they’re doing just that. It’s all about balance—appearing both done and undone at the same time; it’s about creating an effortless look. French style is above all an attitude: a nonchalant and cool attitude. The laidback Parisian chic girls have an insouciant air that gives them all the style: la dégaine.
What is more important when it comes to finding one’s own personal style: consistency, or experimentation? And how did you find your style?
My style is not about perfection but more about perfect imperfection. When I have an idea, I try to balance it with something totally different. If I do something feminine I try to work it with something boyish. I love to have a certain contrast. I hate things when they are too literal. I like a little roughness or when something is slightly wrong. That is what makes the pieces real and great, it creates a sense of openness.
There is the garment, there is the way I style it, and there is the way that the person is going to wear it. I encourage people to experiment, to dress each piece up or down as much or as little as they desire, to reflect their personality. I want them to buy my clothes and have the impression that they’ve always owned them. It’s this kind of poetical patina that I am looking for.
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Do you think it’s possible to balance family-life with work-life? Do you have any tips for what works for you?
I’ve always loved those feminist women that were strong and fighting, proving that they are equal to men… I’m a woman—I’ve got a kid, I’ve got a husband, but I also have my company.
That being said, fashion is not the only thing in my life. It’s what I love and what I do well, but I have many other things beside this. Although I work hard during the week, in the weekend, I escaped to a cabin in a forest outside Paris with my partner and son, Tal. We have a huge military tent where guests can stay. There is no electricity and no hot water, but you realize you don’t need a lot to be happy in life. And that’s very reassuring to me.
Your brand has such a recognizable DNA. How do you continue to creatively evolve, without losing sight of your roots?
What challenges me creatively is the frustration in not having the feeling that I’ve totally achieved what I had in mind. Starting something new is an opportunity to better grasp what I was reaching for initially.
When I seek inspiration for new collections I quite try to let myself go as much as possible. I try to be relaxed, instinctive and organic. I try to see what attracts me naturally – a gesture of a women I see, a piece of fabric laying on the floor. I feel what’s around me.
What are your 3 favourite places in Paris that you’ll always recommend to friends when visiting?
When I have time to get out of the office for lunch, my favourite restaurant close by is Chez Georges (1 Rue du Mail, 75002 Paris), a totally Parisian OG brasserie!
I also recommend Le Marché des Enfants Rouges food market on week-ends (39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris), and for vintage fashion shopping the best place in town is Thanx God I’m a VIP (12 Rue de Lancry, 75010 Paris).
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