Don’t be taken in by appearances! Within this stylish interior, with its precise, orderly beauty, there are a few lively, imperfect details, just the way The Socialite Family like them. Fashion is everywhere, materials are luxurious and precious, and key pieces by twentieth-century designers take pride of place in the living room, adding a refined dimension to the overall look. The collection of teapots, the passion for good luck charms and the heaps of books and magazines offer an insight into all Serge Ruffieux, co-creator of the accessories brand 13 09 SR, and Dimitri Rivière’s many interests. A guided tour.
Serge, Dimitri, please introduce yourselves.
I’m of Italian origin, grew up in Switzerland in the Vallée de Joux and worked in several fashion houses before co-creating my own brand of shoes and eyewear, 13 09 SR. Soon after, I added other categories of accessories. I’m also a shoe consultant for Pucci with Camille Miceli, as well as for other fashion labels.
I’ve been a photo stylist for around ten years. After spending my childhood in Savoie and studying at the Berçot studio in Paris, I worked for a long time alongside Marie-Amélie Sauvé (Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton). But I’ve also worked in finance! Serge and I have divided our lives between Paris and Milan for the last three years.
How would you describe your interior?
We love Italy and Milan, but Paris is our beloved home. Being based in two capital cities means that we can draw on many different sources of inspiration, depending on where we’re living at the time. Here in Paris, precision is the order of the day, but the atmosphere is warm: a lot of the elements here are graphic and raw, with top-quality materials and a rather 1970s feel by Italian designers, including Mario Bellini (the sofas and the service in the kitchen). The lines and materials used are reminiscent of Art Deco: white, velvet on the sofa, neon in the entrance hall, organic materials… This mix is our style. One word comes to mind: masculine.
I hate having things on the wall: in our home, everything has to be on the floor or propped up.
There’s a definite penchant for photography. And good luck charms. And teapots!
Our world is elegant and very masculine, and you might think it’s a bit rigid and symmetrical, with these radical lines, but it’s full of little objects and good luck charms that we’ve found and that bring the whole thing to life. It’s a habit I’ve inherited from my grandparents, and I love these little objects. I’ve always had them around me. The kitchen is almost like a country house! We’ve always known kitchens as friendly places, full of life and with something practical and straightforward about them.
But out favourite good luck charm is Jack, our Chartreux! We’ve been collecting teapots ever since we first met. Because we love tea, but above all, because the teapot makes drinking tea a special occasion. As for fashion books and photographs, of course, they’re all over the place, in the corridors and in the rooms. Our profession is a determining factor in our lives because it is a passion; it defines who we are, and it makes its presence felt in our apartment.
It’s our job to be as inspired as possible by everything. We read a lot, we look at a lot of images. After a while, our eyes become sharper. You may have noticed that we also have a lot of archives (laughs) just about everywhere: this visual culture is the basis of our profession.
How did you become interested in the arts and collecting? How did you develop your taste?
I discovered I had a ‘three-dimensional’ instinct when I was studying at HEAD in Geneva: dressing the space and decorating, and I was able to put this into practice when I had the chance to design shops for the brands I worked with. I started to be attracted to certain designer pieces at that time. Ultimately, I think we’re always drawn to the period in which we were born. The effect on us of the first forms we knew, perhaps…
My mother and grandmother loved crockery and beautiful glassware. We weren’t necessarily aware of design, but rather of a more traditional taste. In fact, in Milan, we tend to accumulate more in this vein; we have a lot of paintings, for example, which is less the case here in Paris. But they’re fixed to the ceiling!
There are very few paintings here.
I hate having things on the wall: in my home, everything has to be on the floor or propped up, on a chest of drawers, for example. And what’s more, you’ll notice that nothing here is fixed at eye level: everything is either very low or very high. The idea of contrast and linear graphics is what drives us. So we had a few works that we liked framed in American Plexiglas boxes, and paintings on the mantelpiece… There’s some fussiness, but it’s controlled: that’s what we like, controlled chaos.
Ultimately, I think we're always drawn to the period in which we were born. The effect on us of the first forms we knew, perhaps...
Could this be due to the mix of backgrounds in your family, Serge?
My great-aunt was a seamstress at Schiaparelli. My father was a watchmaker at Jaeger-LeCoultre, but he was also a football fan (laughs). Watchmaking precision mixed with creativity and street culture, perhaps…
How do you buy the items in your apartment?
There isn’t necessarily any thought involved; it’s entirely instinctive and spontaneous. But we know our taste. Few contemporary objects appeal to me. It takes time to find each piece. Besides, it takes time to build an interior; you have to live with it. There’s still a lot missing! We’re always waiting for the right moment, the right find.
We saw a superb teapot in Florence, in metal with a wooden handle. Not to mention the fact that we always fall in love with chairs!
If we hadn’t bought this sofa, we’d only have chairs. And flowers from d’Alexis Maillot, of Memento Fiori in Paris. And that’s it!
Photography : Constance Gennari – Words : Elsa Cau @thesocialitefamily