Hi Sylvain, could you tell us more about yourself ?
Originally from Grenoble, an average city close to Lyon, I left at 20 to pursue my study in Nice and for shorter periods in Toronto, Shanghai and Roma. Then I lived in Milan for 2 years and came back to Paris in 2012.
Les Belles Heures, where does it come from ?
I got literally filled up by all the places and different atmospheres I have been exposed to these last few years. I knew that, somehow, that material would come to life in some kind of a creative form that I couldn't picture at the time. When the idea of launching my own brand became real, I knew that was it. I wanted to tell a story about places. That's how it all started.
What are those places that inspired you the most ?
Italy has been key in fine-tuning my sense for color. In Los Angeles, I had a lively experience of that Californian laid-back attitude you can find in Ed Ruscha's work or all over the West-coast hip-hop production from Snoop Dogg to Kendrick Lamar. Paris, Corsica, Portugal, Morocco, the list goes on and on and draws as much from the impressions and feelings as from the particular scents, colors or textures that make all these places so vibrant.
Are there any people out there that inspire you through their work or style ?
I admire the effortless elegance of all-time style icons such as Gianni Agnelli or Orson Welles but I also find a great deal of inspiration from the next door elegance. That's the beauty of it, everyone can access that touch of flair. That's a matter of attitude, not fashion. If you're feeling comfortable, then you will inspire charisma. It's a far too common mistake to consider that there is only a handful of chosen ones out there who have it all.
On the work front, I admire pioneers, groundbreaking artists that make the sublime look easy and reachable. Josef Albers, Paul Klee, Mark Rothko mean a lot to me through their work on colors, which is also true for Saul Leiter, Bernard Plossu or Claude Nori in photography. Italian contemporary writer Erri de Luca is a daily source of inspiration through its blazingly simple writings which I consider the perfect balance between frugality and sophistication.
Your scarves are weaved in Italy and all the pieces of La Collection N°1 are inspired by Italian places. Would you please tell us more about the ties you have with this country ?
I have always felt close to Italy. My home town is a place crowded by a lot of Italian families where I have been exposed to that culture early on. I lived in Roma and Milan. I speak the language and been extensively fed by this aesthetic. Italy owns a secular textile savoir-faire. It felt natural to source part of the production there.
Why have you chosen to work on squared scarves ?
The scarf is one of the most versatile and effortless piece of our wardrobes. Obviously chic, it often carries a bourgeois and uptight form of elegance but it was also worn by the workers and farmers from the earliest 20th century, toning it with a touch of French canaille flair. Our DNA lies in that casual chic and effortless elegance. It seemed all natural then to build La Collection N°1 around a range of 9 iconic scarves as some kind of our inaugural statement.
Could you tell us who designs the prints ?
I design the prints myself from my current inspirations. I do not have a proper, rigid creative process that I would follow no matter what. I always work in relation to the tone of the collection but then the ideas can come from a color captured in the street, the combination of various textures, the cut of a piece of clothing, a piece of art, a book. Here we are talking more about impressions that I try to put on fabric than about real, practical inspirations. The idea is mainly to have fun and not overthink the whole process.
Important thing, are your scarves for men or women ?
I like the idea of a wardrobe made of basics in which anyone, men or women, could pick from. It is obviously easier for women to wear men clothes and accessories but, above all, it suits them so well. What could be more glamour than a woman wearing men's clothes ? I would say that our scarves are designed so that our girlfriends want to steal it from us.
We love the idea ! I know so many girls that would do it !
It would be great, we would be so proud to seduce girls as well.
What are your strategic ambitions going forward ?
We put great care in the 3 pillars of what Les Belles Heures is all about, that is design, quality and price. Offering our customer a unique blend of the best quality available in the market with a combination of the best textile savoir-faire from Italy and France, iconic and timeless designs articulated around a sophisticated work on colors and shapes at a premium yet accessible price range. Our main strategic ambition is to become the reference of the effortless, modern and chic scarf to wear on a daily basis. Success stories such as Mansur Gavriel and Common Projects are really truly inspiring to us. We would be delighted to be able to follow a similar path in our market.
It is everything we wish for ! Thank you so much for all these interesting details, we can't wait to follow the evolution of the Maison.
Many thanks to you, this is just the beginning.
Interview by Viola Marella Bisiach
Vogue Italia – L’Uomo Vogue