Camille, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m the mother of two boys, Merlin and Jules, aged 6 and 9, as well as to a company that’s 59-years-young.
Tell us about Victoire, the multi-brand, ultra-selective fashion chain that has been in your family since 1965 and that you recently took over.
Victoire is indeed a family story. My grandfather, who used to pass Place de Victoire every day, discovered and bought the shop, Victoire, in 1965. Then my father developed it, and today there are 14 of them! Two years ago, it was only natural that I should take over, and I’ve stayed faithful to the spirit of the early days, which was to find and introduce designers that we love. Most of the time, these creatives love colour, speak Italian – very loudly – and don’t take themselves seriously… a bit like me! Going into Victoire’s is still – as it was in the crazy years at the Place des Victoires – a plunge into the unknown. A Parisian temple of fashion – we shopped at Victoire Gucci, Prada, Alaïa, Comme des garçons and many others! Today we can scarcely imagine that they were unknown yesterday! What has changed? We’ve created and added our own brand to our selections and favourites, opened new shops in beautiful locations (because fashion is not only in Paris but in Portofino, Saint-Tropez, and so on, too), developed the e-shop and continued to do this job with wide-eyed, passionate enthusiasm!
How would you define the Victoire style?
Uncompromising fashion with lots of colour, high-quality materials and always with that “twist” that makes our style unique.
What is your vision for your brand?
Continuing to make sense! That’s a given. Nowadays, when you are 20 years old, you look for a job that has a purpose. For me, it happened when I was 40. When I took over Victoire, I didn’t just change jobs; I gave my professional life a meaning. Carrying on my father’s legacy, developing it while staying true to ourselves: a family atmosphere, people-focused, always listening to our customers. For example, my personal mobile number is everywhere on the site. Customers are always surprised when I answer them in person, even at the weekend. But that’s Victoire!
I think about my apartment the same way as I choose my collections: pieces with personality that coexist alongside each other in a joyous mix of genres.
You come from a family of aesthetes. Tell us about your education in ‘beauty’. How have your tastes evolved?
I could tell you about my great-uncle, who was a photographer and my grandfather, who was an art collector, but the one who really gave me a taste for beauty was my grandmother Lucette. I started going to exhibitions with her when I was very young. I’ve travelled the world. I was at the Universal Exposition in Seville in 1992! And it was she who enrolled me in the drawing workshops at the Arts Déco when I was five. That shaped my life. I owe my first job as a creative director to it!
You were already working in the creative field before you took over Victoire. In particular, you went through the Penninghen school. Designers, artists: whose work has influenced you and your work?
I’m probably stating the obvious, but in no particular order, I love Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Pierre Alechinsky, Sophie Calle, David LaChapelle… Colour, diversion and humour. Recently, I’ve been learning about street art, courtesy of my husband, who works at Artoyz. I don’t have a choice! We have Bearbricks everywhere, and works by Kaws and Alexone are regular additions to the house.
Your apartment is characterised by the generous use of colour. How important is colour to you on a day-to-day basis?
Colour is vital! At home, on me, everywhere! It brings style and joy. As you can see from the photos with this lovely chocolate cashmere. (Laughs)
Careful selection is at the heart of Victoire’s DNA. At home too?
Exactly! I think about my apartment the same way as I choose my collections: pieces with personality that coexist alongside each other in a joyous mix of genres. I have some furniture from my grandmother’s house, including my Babeanu coffee table (he was a friend of my grandparents) and my Knoll. It makes me feel that she’s still here with me in a way. The rest is what I’ve found bargain hunting. It’s a habit I’ve carried on from my father and my mother-in-law Florence who love it.
What does your apartment say about you?
I live a stone’s throw from the Place des Victoires; it was predestined! Other than that, we live as a very close-knit family and rarely do things separately. We use the main room for everything: working from home, homework, meals, games and, above all, it’s a gathering point for friends. The more of us there are, the happier I am! I’m really looking forward to having our ping-pong tournaments on the dining room table again.
Which room (space) most embodies your personality?
The kitchen, without a shadow of a doubt. We love cooking. Especially my husband! Me, I enjoy eating it. There are also “my hints and tips” scattered around the house: the step drawer in the kitchen so that everyone can get their hands dirty regardless of age, the cork wall for the children’s works of art, the super-nifty clothes horse and the Japanese-style toilets.
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
A source of inspiration and contacts. I’m always amazed at how apartments reflect the personality of their inhabitants; it’s like dogs and their owners!
Where will we find you this year?
In one of the Victoire shops, in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Tropez, Megève, Biarritz or Portofino… I’m there as often as possible! Otherwise, my roots are in Annecy, my favourite place in the world.
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily