DA/DA: a great name, very sweet to hear, just like the very infectious laugh of Diane, the soul of this new and different French brand. Diane has fun and plays with the codes from the male wardrobe in order to create more adapted velvet coats and wool cardigans for us. Men inspire her, but she creates, assembles forms and colours and plays with the traditions for women. The result is gorgeous, the finishing touches are perfect and she always uses high-quality fabrics. It’s a bit cheeky, and we like these silhouettes, where originality and quality meet. When dressing becomes (again) something funny, far from logic and propriety, a mix of extravagance and derision: maybe that’s it, the Dadaism in DA/DA’s way.
Diane, could you introduce yourself?
I’m a fashion designer. I work as a freelancer for several brands and I have been giving fashion design lessons for three years, in Studio Berçot, where I used to study. In parallel, I launched my collection of high-end female prêt-à-porter, DA/DA, a bit less than one year ago. Products “Made in France”!
How did you get the idea of becoming a fashion designer?
I don’t really know. I have always loved getting dressed, being a bit different and having fun with clothes. I loved drawing as well, but I was not really a fan of magazines: it was more instinctive. I was hard-working and did not know what to do, so after school, I studied in a preparatory class to enter business schools. Then I left to New York, where I met a lot of people who made me want to draw again. Then, I heard about the Studio Berçot, so I thought I could try fashion design!
I start from men’s clothes and adapt them to women. It came from a very simple analysis: we often steal the clothes of our men, but they don’t always fit. And, in the collections for women, when we want more masculine clothes, the cuts are strange and the fabrics are not that qualitative. With DA/DA, I wanted to combine beautiful fabrics, great cuts and creativity. The oversize coat in pink velvet is a great example: I turned the velvet around. I wanted to play with the codes, to have fun and add something fun to this coat.
Will it be the governing principle of your brand?
The “boy appearance” is really the governing principle of my collections. But it doesn’t prevent me from creating feminine clothes. For summer, I have a very Japanese-inspired long wrap-around pleated skirt for example. All my clothes are not manly, but there is an overview and an identity, always with the idea of men’s clothes.
What are your favourite fabrics?
I love cotton, rather it is raw or not, under all its forms. I love velvets, flannel and wools of course. Let’s say I like fine and natural fabrics and I use them for my collections. The wools come from Italy and the cottons from England. There are a lot of colours; there is no black in this collection. Sometimes I’m close, with anthracite grey. I think the Dadaism is also in colours. Which is good for me since I never wear black. I prefer fake blacks, dark greys, navy blue, etc.
Who are the women who wear DA/DA?
There are multiple! Women looking for something chic but comfortable often like my collections. They often have taste and know exactly what they want, which is quite disturbing. There are also younger women, who completely twist my clothes. Finally, men want a collection especially for them. It’s a project I’d like.
For how long have you been living here?
Not even three weeks! It’s still a bit empty but we have the ideas. My boyfriend is passionate about decoration. He knows what to choose. We like hunting for antiques. We like several periods, such as the 50’s and 70’s. We like mixing design pieces with unknown things, such as this sofa we found on Leboncoin.
What’s missing at your home?
Still a lot of things are missing. We want a beautiful work of art. We have been thinking about the Leap into The Void, by Klein, or a work of art by Roman Opalka. We also want to have the wonderful 1957 Quad speakers called “singing radiators” and considered as one of the greatest hi-fi products in history. It would be perfect with a very rare vinyl turntable, seen in the movie A Clockwork Orange and in the contemporary art museums in New York and Amsterdam.
What are your inspirations?
A lot of things. I am very curious, I spend my time watching people and the daily life. I often go do some research at the library, I read archives… The travels also have a great influence on me. I come from the Reunion Island, it may come from this. And cinema inspires me as well, especially some specific periods. For the first collection, it was the 20’s in England, with all these well-dressed bandits, the colours, the warm browns. I love movies about mafia. For summer, I got my inspiration from the jazz period in the United States, with faded colours, yellows, beiges, sky blue. Yes, well, a lot of cinema!
Is there a place you would recommend us?
In rue du Cherche-Midi, we discovered a tiny Italian restaurant, the Altrove. It’s typical: there are three dishes of pasta, some starters and it’s delicious. It’s our local canteen.
Photography & Text: Eve Campestrini – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily