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The consistently vibrant neighbourhood of the 10th arrondissement of Paris is where Alexander Chapellier opened his premiere boutique, Cinabre, The name is the French translation for the scarlet mineral rock, Cinnabar. Bold and elegant in style, the collection consists of lapel pins, bow ties and pocket squares among other pieces, all housed in what resembles an accessory temple for men. The space itself is both boutique and design studio, with its lay-out created around the centred workshop sideboard containing no less than 70 drawers. Upon visiting be sure to discover Alexandre’s impressive collection of vintage robots and library of science-fiction. The ambiance is reflective of the brand vision, refined and humourous, epicurean in spirit and characterised by Alexandre’s collection of city photography guides. The place is a treasure that’s worth its weight in gold!
Cinabre, 20, rue d’Hauteville 75010 Paris.
Alexandre, how did you get to where you are today?
I’m half French-half Swedish and I live in Paris. Before I created my brand, I was a headhunter for five years, working for banks and rich families. I spent my time flying around the world looking for talented entrepreneurs. It was a great job and it gave me a taste for entrepreneurship. Later, I met the great fashion designer Michel Goma, who was the genius behind Jean Patou and then Balenciaga, and he became my mentor. It was a eureka moment – I visited workshops and met artisans all over France. To cut a long story short, I learnt my trade from the bottom up and ended up by creating Cinabre.
Why did you choose the name Cinabre? What does it mean to you?
I worked with Michel Goma on colours and I really liked cinnabar red, which is a deep colour and an original name. Most people don’t know what cinnabar means, but it’s a pigment derived from a red mineral. When I tested the name, the first person who actually new what cinnabar was was an American academic who specialised in old French and usury in the Middle Ages. That pleased me.
Which is your key piece?
The “Londres 3D” bow tie was our winter bestseller, but ties are starting to overtake bow ties and we’ll soon be launching our ultra-slim coin purse at the request of many of our clients, so it’s something that changes all the time.
And your favourite piece?
Our Hawaiian ties, which are made from vintage Hawaiian shirts. You get really lovely mixes of colours. Each piece is unique. I wore one at my wedding a few months ago…
What’s the philosophy behind the brand?
To create accessories that are different and “Made in France”. Everybody buys their fabrics from the same factories and follows the same trend books. Right from the start, I wanted to bring something fresh and new to a market that has always been rather conservative and very standardised. I love looking for new fabrics at the well known houses, but I also like poking around in antique and vintage clothes shops. The world of the brand is in the rare and original fabrics that I find and that will be made into ties and bow ties, but also into our gloves, small leather accessories and belts. The concept of “Made in France” is also very important to me and the excellence of the savoir-faire with which our pieces are made is part of the brand’s DNA. And we are proud to be opening our own tailoring workshop today in the Loir-et-Cher department.
Who is it aimed at?
Our clients are very different. We have the fashion week die-hards who are looking for a lovely and original accessory, clients who come for a special occasion and people seeking a one-off, handmade piece. We also have all the passers-by who spot a bow tie in the window and stop to snap one up!
Who’s responsible for the very quirky look of your shop in an area that’s on the up?
I worked with the Swedish architect Anna Englesson on the design of my shop.. Anna has been in Paris for 15 years and worked for Le Playtime and Le Pigalle. She also introduced me to the artist Thomas Fontaine who designed the wallpaper for the shop based on one of his photos. Anna’s taste and Thomas’ gorilla plus my collection of vintage robots give the shop real character. We didn’t want to just copy the Pinterest look-book and go for the marble – concrete – neo-industrial combo. We wanted to design a Parisian shop that was a bit different. That’s also why we wanted to set up shop in the 10th arrondissement, where I lived for many years. It’s a neighbourhood with lots of positive energy…there are restaurants opening, shops and shared working spaces popping up everywhere, in line with a tradition of “makers”. Historically, it was a neighbourhood of artisans. I find that there’s a coherence in establishing Cinabre here, so that the brand can also bring its own sense of the handmade and the authentic.
photos : Eve [email protected]