Thanks to her willpower, Mathilde Lacombe ended up imposing on the market of online beauty with Birchbox. It was not that easy for this...
Isabelle and Anna, tell us about you.
I was an actuary in a reinsurance company where I was in charge of assessing risks from natural disasters. Suffice to say there was little room for creativity! I then followed my husband to London where we started our family. The richness of the city finally awakened my artistic sensibility which I have now invested myself in by supporting galleries such as Hayward and Serpentine.
I was a journalist in charge of lifestyle and culture. Then I had a consulting company for luxury brands including Dior where I was an artistic director of Dior Maison. I also advised Bon Marché for 10 years with private fashion and decor services. The passion for this one in particular brought us together with The Invisible Collection, a very innovative e-commerce project dedicated to exceptional furniture.
What have you been doing in London and for how long?
I’ve lived here for 20 years but since my kids are in university, I often escape to Paris and New York to go see them. The Invisible Collection takes up a lot of my time. The various Art and classical music organisations I am connected to have always been a backdrop.
I came to London 4 years ago for love. My two eldest sons, Charles and Mazarine, were educated in this city, as was my youngestt son, Adrien, who is preparing for his final exams dreaming of the United States. I spend a lot of time on the Eurostar and I love Paris so much – I rediscover it with wonder every time – that London always surprises me with its energy, gardens, courtesy of others, etc.
What is the idea behind The Invisible Collection? How do you source out the designers you work with?
The concept is simple: to offer, for the first time, an online store with exceptional furniture made by today’s big name decor brands with the desire to collect furniture as one would collect contemporary Art.
We like to meet them, visit their sites or workshops, immerse ourselves in their archives and choose what we want to offer on the website with them. We still dream that some big names wjll join The Invisible Collection. I hope this will happen very soon!
We are very sensitive about everyones’s sphere and talent. We have admired and known their sites for a long time. Adding their furniture discovered on location is a true collector’s passion that we satisfy on our website.
What are your best selling products?
The Asymetrie armchair by Pierre Yovanovitch or the Dumbo by Hubert Le Gall but in the end, the demand is very balanced between the different decorators and interior designers.
What would be the item from your wildest dreams that you would make for yourself?
I’m not a designer, my dreams come from what the creators show me but I admit to being insatiable, from the candlestick to the side table. Marc Angel’s Refuge,(our best seller in Milan and the most Instagrammed furniture from design week in April) is in the realm of fantasy!
This site is a crazy dream to carry out! Fabulously made furniture sold online to clients in love with European Decorative Arts.
Where are we now?
We are in the heart of Chelsea, in the house of one of The Invisible Collection‘s London clients who has been supporting us since the first few weeks. The architecture is minimalistic, facing the light with a beautiful garden.
Do you advise clients on the choice of colours and materials?
We work with a well-stocked material library and of course, we advise any client who asks us. However, we respect the decorators’ choices and always have their validation.
What is the colour of the moment for you?
Wallpaper: it is becoming more and more beautiful and sophisticated, a true journey.
I particularly like the time we are in right now which allows every trend to be expressed. From the maximalism of Cabana magazine to the sensual look of Pierre Yovanovitch Everything is possible, no trend, no diktat!
What are your future projects in the pipeline with The Invisible Collection?
There is always new furniture on the site and we are on the verge of going to New York very soon.
The United States! And most of all, staying close to the designers we represent. In my case, I would like to become a digital native (at more than 45 years of age) with the help of the exceptional teams leads by Lily Froehlicher – our millenial general manager – that have been with us since day one.
Any places to recommend to us in London?
The Harrys Bar (a classic) or the Chiltern Firehouse, the place to be right now, it’s very successful!
Chucs, an Italian restaurant on Dover Street on a Saturday for a family lunch before moving on to Thaddaeus Ropac, Carpenters Gallery or Kreo. Not all three, of course, the cultural alibi has its limits with my 17-year-old son who is more passionate about tennis!
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily