I met Manuelle in Paris for the first time at the beginning of March just as the virus was starting to become an issue. I'm actually surprised I made it to Paris but I'm glad I did. It was a treat to see one of her incredibly charming stores (she has 4 in Paris) and to meet her and her lovely staff in person. While I was there I was able to learn a bit more about her brand story. Her work is very much a family affair. Her husband is a sculptor but also handles all the photography for the brand. She has three sons. Her oldest Sinann works with her in the shop and is married to Yasmin who models for the store and also works in shop. Manuelle's son Isaiah is a model for the men's collection and also is a jewelry designer. Her youngest son Sumai is also models for the collection and is active in the business. The Parisian charm and warmth of her collection is clearly a reflection of this famile's creative collaborative spirit. The collection emits a certain whimsy which is timeless and vintage in feel. Relaxed, artistic, low-key and chic without pretense. Why am I drawn to this line? I love how the fabrics feel on your skin. I love all the layering and wrinkles and painterly color options. It's easy to integrate into an existing wardrobe. You can also buy a piece this season and then add a piece next season - it all works back into the same aesthetic mix.
How did you get started ?
I began by designing a children's collection in 1987.
Where do you find your inspiration? and how as this changed over time since you began to design ?
I began the women's line in 1991. I always begin the collection with a selection of fabrics. i work with suppliers to produce my own fabrics. i need to feel an emotional connection with the materials. i always design the collection pieces in relation to the fabrics. I work in collaboration with my longtime pattern maker of 18 years and the collection is always an evolution of the previous collection. When i design the collection i always consider that what is most important is that women need to feel in confident and comfortable in their clothing.
Where did you learn your craft?
Designing meaningful fashion has always been a passion of mine since childhood. I studied design at Esmod in Paris.
In the current collection which is your favorite design and why ?
The oversized short Mali and the jacket Mali. I wear these 2 pieces almost every day and am totally in love with this linen/viscose fabric!
What is your hope for the future ?
I hope this terrible crisis will help motivate us to change and create a better world
What is your main source of calm/distraction during these stressful times ?
I work, I dream, I do yoga with my daugter in law Yasmin, watch movies...