Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Family - Paris

The Carel Brand Owner's Flat

/

at

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria

We enter Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria’s flat through the kitchen. The main room, both in the layout of the interior and the heart of its owners, features a very high ceiling, and immediately suggests they have a tendency to accumulate belongings! As busy as its inhabitants are lively, this space, with its herringbone parquet floor, is located in a district of Paris that the owner of Carel loves for its ubiquitous artisan workshops. Framers, retouchers, dressmakers: a joy for the woman who values tradition and the work of the human hand, placing it at the heart of her strategy for reviving the heritage of the shoe and leather goods manufacturer Georges Carel, as she brings the business up to date. A challenge she has tackled brilliantly since taking over the brand 12 years ago, catapulting the iconic models worn by, among others, Françoise Hardy, onto the feet of a whole new generation of young women following in her illustrious footsteps, from Alexa Chung to Clara Luciani. This ability to continually renew herself results from an overwhelming curiosity that ensures she is constantly stimulated and encouraged. Whether that’s by her own sons, her teams, strangers she encounters or objects at home. From floor to ceiling, each one has a story worth telling. Each is a souvenir of a bygone era and the skills associated with it. The antique rugs have been picked up at auction. The pieces of turn-of-the-century chinoiserie have become receptacles for another passion – plants – while the collection of crockery is ready and waiting for the next dinner party, and the collection of drawings, paintings and other photographs spills over everywhere in sometimes delirious proportions. Instinctive marriages of objects that grow and evolve to suit her world. The dining room, reminiscent of a banqueting hall with its massive convent table and its super-sized work by the artist Joël Degbo, evokes the aura of royal receptions – the ante-chamber, the country house sitting room: in this property, totally lacking in corridors, the scenes she has set succeed one another in the manner of a tracking shot. Our host provides the voice-over for the shots in the film, which you can find in this article.

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria

Over and above creation and communication, I firmly believe a family spirit exists in all Carel's departments. This gives it that extra soul that generation Z is looking for.

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
  • Frédérique, Bernard: could you introduce yourselves, please?
Frédérique

I’m a true Parisian, and yet I’m not quite. That is, I lived abroad, in Asia and Africa, until I graduated! But I have a deep-seated love of Paris, and I cycle through the city from the Rue de la Roquette to Place Clichy or Neuilly several times a day. I think I could become an old-fashioned taxi driver one day, the kind with ‘the knowledge’ who knows all the little shortcuts to save time. And that’s why I love moving house and getting to know a new area. I get very excited every time. I’m a seven-day-a-week business owner, but my passion is plants, gardens, balconies and, by extension, pots and garden decoration.

Bernard

I’m a photographer and coach. I’ve had a highly unusual career, from the theatre at the Carré Silvia Monfort to advertising at Saatchi and Saatchi. The period we have just lived through has profoundly changed my perspective as a photographer, as my book On ne ferme pas le ciel (You can’t close the sky) shows.

Frédérique, you took over the general management of the Carel shoe and leather goods brand 12 years ago. How is that going now?

Frédérique

The company is in the midst of a revival with a really inspiring creative team and a very predominantly digital development model, which puts us at the feet of both young women in Beijing and the very cool young women from LA. We’ve got a special thing going on at the moment with the brand involving Jacques Dutronc and Françoise Hardy, the iconic French singers. That couple has inspired so many young talents today. Singers like Sasha Spielberg in New York, Vanille, Angèle, Barbara Pravi, Carla Bruni, and Clara Luciani… They love performing in Carel because our secret 100% Italian manufacturing process gives our shoes a flexibility that goes beyond the ultra-French brio and elegance you expect.

What was your biggest challenge? You often talk about reviving the brand’s heritage, keeping it contemporary. How have you done that?

Frédérique

Carel has an incredibly committed team behind it, even though we are 70 years old – we’ll be celebrating the foundation of the company next April. We all behave as if we were a young start-up. We ran errands in a deserted Paris without a second thought in 2020 and packed boxes at the Rue de la Roquette warehouse because the Covid was knocking at the door. Carel is a real family. And I’m not saying that because it was my two sons who started us on Instagram five years ago, and they have a very particular style. They’re still doing the photoshoots and bringing their own signature look to them, and I believe that’s what makes the difference. But over and above creation and communication, I firmly believe a family spirit exists in all the departments. This gives it that extra soul that generation Z is looking for. We’ve kept our perfectly Parisian cool, but actually sophisticated look that thirtysomethings all over the world love.

  • What is there still to do?
Frédérique

We want to go even further in meeting the eco-friendliness challenge with alternative materials and working even more with committed artists.

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria

Tell us about your education. What sort of environment did you grow up in – and how did that affect the way your tastes developed?

Frédérique

I grew up in Algeria and Laos in a very arty family with a great sense of resourcefulness, lots of DIY and mixed genres. And then my mother, who is no longer with us, became disabled, so we always had to do all the little things in life without her help. When she was entertaining, she would tell me how to cut the flowers, choose the right vase and place it on the table so that it would look beautiful but so that the guests could still talk to each other. I loved preparing for guests with her. It was wonderful, and I learned a lot about the art of bringing happiness into the home. The joy a silly little bouquet in an unexpected place can bring. It’s one of the essentials of life. In short, my upbringing was the opposite of the way some mothers act nowadays, sometimes tending towards doing everything for their child.

Bernard

I grew up in an environment where art and culture were fundamental. I was very much influenced by my uncle, who knew the greatest artists of the 20th century. He organised dance performances and concerts and staged large-scale theatre productions. He had unique paintings in his home.

Tell us about when you first saw the apartment.

Frédérique

We’d lived in the third arrondissement for a long time and could see it moving increasingly upmarket. The old Chinese shops in the Eiffel Tower have gradually been transformed into trendy art galleries and concept stores. We both wanted to live in a much more Parisian area, not too touristy, with a mix of people, artisans, and small, simple, grass-roots restaurants. In short: with a real community life. What I liked about this apartment was the two flower-filled internal courtyards (it’s always about flowers!). There as soon as I opened the door. And on the first visit, the proportions and the high ceilings which immediately provide elegance and breathing space.

Bernard

I love the pre-Haussmann style of this apartment and the neighbourhood, with its internal courtyards and apartment layouts that allow for great depth of perspective. It’s somewhere between Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and a window within a window.

Which is your favourite room?

Frédérique

The first living area as soon as you come in, which is the kitchen. It’s where everything is discussed and settled in the family.

Bernard

Our bedroom where everything is beige and white. Even pictures, photos and lamps! I can lie on the bed and meditate while looking at the sky.

How did you furnish it?

Frédérique

Most of the lighting and a high proportion of the paintings came from the Saint-Ouen flea market!

Bernard

And some of the photos as well! (Laughs)

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria

This flt tells of my clutter, my way of always mixing everything up because I believe that order is deadly and leads to entropy.

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
  • We are surrounded by accumulations of various objects. What is it that inspires you in your idea of a collection? What was your latest fancy?
Frédérique

My latest fancy is the silver goblets we used to give for christenings, engraved with the name of the newborn child. They greeted the new arrival on earth, and sometimes it was that of the grandfather. Very touching! They are beautiful, solemn, silent objects that mark the passing on process.

What is your proudest find?

Frédérique

An Accumulation by Arman, in an artist’s edition in a small local second-hand shop.

You also have a great many works of art. How do you choose them?

Frédérique

I have three themes that I am constantly looking for in flea markets, in studio visits, at Drouot or at boot sales (absolutely everywhere). The first is trees, in particular the leaning pines I remember from my childhood in Tipaza, near Algiers. Looking for them is nostalgic. Then pencil or ink drawings of French-style gardens, crazy and untidy like those in Provence where I often go, and, finally, portraits. Masterly art for me. For example, Jamel Tatah’s man-sized profiles are, for me, magnificent quotations straight out of the Italian Renaissance tradition with their first layer of primer on a red background that runs slightly at the side. I’m also thinking of an Algerian’s head from the pen of Foujita, that most Parisian of the Japanese painters, and I’m thinking very strongly of my Ukrainian friend Tahar – especially today – who tells the story of the Marseilles people and their Gitane-smoking demeanour in a way that nobody else can.

  • What does this place say about you?
Frédérique

It tells of my clutter, my way of always mixing everything up because I believe that order is deadly and leads to entropy.

Bernard

Continuous movement. It’s a home you can walk around, I need to keep moving, and I think better when I’m walking! And then there’s the double shift between inside and outside, between intimacy and the outside world, which is made possible by the open layout.

  • How would you describe The Socialite Family?
Frédérique

A way of making a link between the outside and the inside. People’s intimacy and sociability. It arouses curiosity.

Bernard

The link between a couple’s journey together and their unique way of creating their living space.

  • Where will we see you in the coming months?
Frédérique

In our house in Bandol, where we’ve built a magical place.

Bernard

Ah, the Southern light! It makes every room and every object resonate in a different way from morning through to night.

Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria
Frédérique Picard and Bernard Soria

Inspiration déco...

Marianne Fersing and Cédric Charbit, <br> Loulou, Anouk 4 months

Marianne Fersing and Cédric Charbit,
Loulou, Anouk 4 months

It was love at first sight. This apartment was an evidence for Marianne and Cédric. Windows with beautiful bronze espagnolette, doors with mouldings and very detailed handles, marbled fireplaces: a real treasure of history was there, within easy...

You may also like

Marie, Pierre and Florence Poncet
Family - Paris

Marie, Pierre and Florence Poncet

Paris and its streets are full of treasures! Hidden doors, tree-lined courtyards and private passageways that never cease to...

The Incredible Metamorphosis of a Former Painter's Studio in Pigalle

No comment

Add your comment