Gaëlle Lebrat Personnaz is one of the founders of the specialist beauty treatment manufacturer, Manucurist, which focuses on caring...
Chloe, Alexandre: who are you?
Alexandre and I were born and raised in Paris, him on the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th and me up in Montmartre in the 18th. We have been living together for nine years, and our little family expanded in March 2018 with the arrival of our son Côme. We were already sharing our happy home with our young cat, Tita! Alexandre has been involved in music ever since I met him: he has been DJ at the Baron for years, is co-founder of Radiooooo web radio and “Pan” in the duo Polo & Pan. For my part, I have eight years of experience in the fashion sector, and, nine months ago, I founded UNIO, a multi-brand showroom and consultancy, with my best friend. With two babies in 2018, it’s been a real challenge, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy and fulfilled!
Why did you choose this district of Paris – the 10th arrondissement – to settle down with your family?
As children of the right bank, we didn’t have to argue with each other on this point. Having lived in the 18th, 20th and 11th districts, it was the opportunity to live in this beautiful apartment – and the imminent arrival of Côme – that made us move here, to this very central district. We each have our own brands and a part of our childhood here. The area is constantly changing, and its “bobo” side mixed with its more popular edge suits us very well.
What have you put into this apartment?
The lower part of this apartment has an industrial look combined with a more traditional feel, which has given character to all our rather basic furniture. Our living room is on the ground floor. It is completely open and includes the kitchen and our living area which has large bay windows, from which you can admire a bamboo garden. It’s very calm and soothing. We love to settle down on the sofas, one plays with Como while the other one is cooking, and to listen to music and so on. Upstairs are our bedrooms and a second bathroom where Como’s toys have somewhat taken over my decorative scheme and beauty products!
Do you have a room each where you can get away on your own, to indulge your personal passions and your work?
That’s the advantage of a duplex! But generally, we still like to be together as we already have trouble keeping in touch with our frequent comings and goings… For me, work happens in the showroom in rue de Turenne and it‘s mostly in the studio in Asnières for Alexandre when he is not on the move.
We love to be together as we already have trouble keeping in touch with our frequent comings and goings!
Alexandre, what part does music play in your home?
My disc collection is surrounded by many memories of my travels and musical tours, mainly keyboards and synthesisers. We also have lots of paintings and drawings on the walls from the album covers for my records, which are made with love by the talented Noemi Ferst. Apart from that, the living room bears a number of traces which illustrate my artistic career. I studied and am passionate about cinema: so I have also bought lots of DVDs, cameras and photographic kit.
What do you listen to when you’re at home?
Our apartment building is inhabited by people of our age, sensitive to art and music. So we can listen to whatever we want without disturbing anyone. Ideal! I spend my life between my recording studio in Asnières and the different places where I perform all around the world. So our apartment is our sanctuary. We listen to a lot of jazz and classical music – our little Côme is very sensitive to it! We’ve also noticed that our child is quite receptive to techno. So I’m not going to skimp on this part of his education! (Laughs)
What about you, Chloe, tell us about Unio. Why did you specialise in fashion when you have always been with an artist?
I worked for a long time in fashion (leather goods and ready-to-wear) as a communication manager and artistic director before launching UNIO. Sabrina, my partner, has a more commercial background, which means we complement each other very well! It’s the artistic side of fashion that attracts me. My father is a photographer, and my mother is passionate about sculpture and art. I grew up in a rich environment, stimulated by a childhood spent in Paris. With UNIO, I can highlight the creative potential of each of the brands we represent and create a real visual identity for our showroom. Although at the moment we have prioritised the commercial development aspect of the brands, I am hoping in the long term to have the time to do more image consulting.
What is your favourite part when you work with a brand on its communication strategy?
Understanding their values, their DNA, and what they are hoping to communicate or promote. Searching for hours for ideas, the most impactful possible, while finding the team best transcribe the emotions and the message that we want to convey… I can spend entire days making mood boards!
Do you have any particularly moving memory from the early days of Unio?
Our first business trip in August 2018! It was our meeting with GHŌUD, our brand of sneakers in Venice. On the programme: a boat trip, accompanied by a good local Prosecco ( my first drink after my pregnancy and four months of breastfeeding) and a raw fish tasting menu in Pellestrina – the fishermen’s lagoon. Warmth and humanity, Epicurean values and a passion for the product (Marco, founder of the brand, explaining to us with a smile that he doesn’t sleep until his sneaker is perfect) made us realise why we left our permanent employment to embark on the UNIO adventure. Even though it may seem obvious and utopian, Sabrina and I attach great importance to the human being, and the relationships we can maintain with our partners. It is a booster that pushes us to fight and drive our brands as far as possible. After nine months of activity, we mainly remember the wild laughter, our suitcases frequently too heavy and filled with prototypes, the cold sweat brought on by accounting, the meetings, discussions, the difficulties we’ve shared and overcome together, but above all, this freedom, which we wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
Your jobs, both of you, are linked to image, to identity. Does this show itself at home?
We bring back lots of objects from our travels. Recently Alexander brought back a sculpted vase from Los Angeles, brass and glass pyramids from Mexico and a bottle of Mezcal. Personally, I tend to bring back pasta or olive oil from Italy, but I love to fill the apartment with flowers and add my decorative touches such as postcards brought back from our travels or a lamp discovered bargain-hunting in the flea markets (it’s a real cliche I know). At UNIO, I represent the June line of home fragrances by the artist Marine Edith Crosta It’s a sophisticated scent that reveals notes of mimosa, everlasting flowers, patchouli and a breath of sea breeze. I am a fan of the fragrance, and I spray it all over our house. We don’t really have any criteria or fixed ideas when it comes to decoration, but the advantage is that we often like the same things
Chloé, do you often join Alexandre during his concert tours?
Since Côme’s arrival, it has been much more complicated to join Alexandre even if, from time to time, we’ve managed to get ourselves organised. When Côme was three months old, we took him to the Solidays festival with us. It was his first concert (with noise-cancelling headphones and a paranoid mother!). Before, when I went away, I used to come home with decorative things for the house. Now it’s more likely to be gifts for Côme. It changes your life, and especially way your apartment looks when you become parents!
What’s new for the two (three!) of you in the coming months!
Our apartment is our sanctuary. We listen to a lot of jazz and classical music – our little Côme is very sensitive to it!
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily