Unveiled two weeks ago exclusively at Le...
Between The Socialite Family and Coralie Marabelle, an obvious fact. That of the work brought to the material via stunning plays on contrast, applied to the silhouettes at the fashion designer’s shows until this original collection. By the way, it’s Coralie’s Autumn-Winter 2017 collection, directly inspired by portraits by photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta, that served as the point of departure for our association. The colours too. Red, blue, white, black: the primary colours are strong and enhanced by a brilliant enamel. Fascinating, almost piercing, all the ceramics here are born from the fire of the kilns of the legendary Manufacture de Digoin. Awoken from its torpor by the courage and determination of Corinne Jourdain – former Parisian publicist – the factory thus ensures that this historic savoir-faire lives on in 13 original creations. Bowls, small jugs, pots for butter or flowers, tumblers and even spoons: the ancestral art of tableware is brought up to date via these everyday, but far from boring, culinary objects that Constance Gennari and Coralie Marabelle are telling us about. Accompanying the photos taken at the planning stage of the collaboration between the fashion designer and The Socialite Family, they both confide in us their own way of immersing themselves in these grandmothers’ utensils reinvented. With the festive season approaching, let’s turn the big bowls into generous serving dishes for a colourful Christmas, let’s free up our imaginations and create floral arrangements for the little jugs and pair the tumblers with our glassware, or just give them as gifts.
Constance, Coralie: how did you meet?
After I had won the Public Award at the Hyères Festival in 2014, Constance contacted me for an interview and to write an article on The Socialite Family. The magazine was just getting started, as was I. She came to take photos in my first workshop at the time, in the Obkerampf area of Paris’s 11th arrondissement. I remember that we got on really well. Since this first meeting, we’ve seen each other regularly, discussed our lives as creative people and entrepreneurs together, which is something that brings us together.
Coralie has been producing some highly intricate, highly “designer” work in the fashion industry for quite some time. I like her personality and her temperament enormously, and in fact, it was when I interviewed her for The Socialite Family that we really got to know each other. She is a different kind of person and conveys her work and her world with such generosity, and she is just overflowing with creativity! She is truly extraordinary in terms of her sense of humour and the way she looks and dresses. Her black and white checked down jacket (in her current collection) is a perfect example of that.
Why have you chosen to work together on this project, and how do the worlds of fashion and interior design cross over?
The idea was to bring my autumn-winter 2017 clothing collection to life via a collection of ceramics. For each collection, I’ve often needed to extend my concepts and ideas into the scenes that we create specifically for our spreads and shoots. Each time I’ve done that, it’s really made me want to develop an interior design concept. At the same time, the idea of working with an interior decor brand seemed totally natural. Being creative, as a designer, means telling stories with colours, shapes, and materials – no matter the medium.
The worlds of fashion and interior design are intimately linked. Since its very early days, The Socialite Family has drawn a lot of inspiration from that, in terms of images and style. “Lifestyle” in everyday living is an end in itself. A way of wearing a blouse, choosing the colour for the day, choosing its print and its cut. With Coralie, we share a common approach to interior design: we’ll like the lines of a chair, the light of a velvet fabric, a detail in a print or the finish of matte brass.
What do you like about each other?
Constance is the sort of woman I have in mind when I design my garments. Curious, creative, independent, dynamic, and an entrepreneur. Someone who believes in what she does and who follows her dreams. And Constance has great taste. I like the world that she has developed with The Socialite Family, the interiors that she design, and even the way that she dresses.
I like her way of renewing herself and, above all, to surprise and delight in the way she cuts her clothes. Coralie brings out the best in women, understands them, and encourages them to wear designer pieces on a daily basis. She is so daring in her approach to things. She loves to select fabrics that sit perfectly, and her skill in working with lace is remarkable. She is all about finding perfection in the details, textures and well, and that’s what I like so much! She is truly passionate and she conveys a lot of emotion in what she does.
What has brought you closer together when working on this project?
We share the same creative vision. We are always looking to express our creativity and to bring it to life in different ways. We both think that design and creation involve a process of dialogue, sharing, and building bridges between different worlds rather than being trapped in a bubble of your own. We are both quite daring. We don’t set limits once we realise that we like the people we’re working with.
We probably have the same way of working. We share a passion for what is beautiful above all else: the aestheticism of a line or a cut. We like it when things are simply elegant, without overlooking femininity at any point in time.
Why did you choose to work in ceramics rather than developing lifestyle accessories? And why did you select Manufacture de Digoin to produce the finished product?
We were both full of admiration for Manufacture de Digoin and its story, as it had recently been taken over by Corinne, who used to work in advertising in Paris and who had left it all behind to bring this old family factory back to life. All three of us – Corinne, Constance and I – were fascinated by Manufacture de Digoin, its expertise, its incredible history, its infinitely rich archives and its utterly magical setting. That’s the reason why we chose to develop a range of ceramics – to be able to work with Manufacture de Digoin.
I thought that it was interesting to translate the autumn-winter 2017 collection by Coralie Marabelle into ceramics. Building on the prints from her collection in a medium where the material is almost alive, where you see the traces left by human hands, and where the uniqueness of each piece is what makes it so special. Manufacture de Digon is an absolute gem of the French market and you need to use it to make sure it lasts. It was taken over by a woman who gave up everything to relaunch it – which took a lot of strength and courage. It’s important to support them and to ensure that their expertise sticks around for as long as possible.
More generally, what inspires you? What’s your starting point?
My autumn-winter 2017 clothing collection was inspired by the black and white photography of Seydou Keïta, a great Malian photographer, working in the 70s, whose photos I am totally obsessed with. They feature graphical prints, black and white checks, and stripes. This collection really appealed to Constance, so we naturally took it upon ourselves to translate my clothing collection into a new range of ceramic objects. I wanted to reinterpret these graphic themes by playing with asymmetric placement of colour on the ceramic, while creating an interplay of texture by mixing the raw clay mixture with brilliant enamel.
The prints and the graphics of the Coralie Marabelle collection.
What is the meaning behind the colours you have selected (red, black, matte and gloss blue)?
Black and white refer to the photos taken by Seydou Keïta in Mali in the 70s. Blue and red are colours that are an obsession for me and that I like reinterpreting in my collections.
Ultra-modern and starkly graphical, the lines flow freely, while the colours are deep. Above all, we wanted to make use of the light effects of enamel and the depth of matte finishes.
Artistic tableware and Manufacture de Digoin – these are a family tradition and typically French. How did you reinterpret everything?
We started with traditional objects that reminded us of our childhood. The big salad bowls and earthenware pots of our grandmothers that I reinterpreted and modernised with new shapes and colours to bring them up to date. In addition to that, this theme of family and tradition is highly prevalent throughout Seydou Keïta’s work, which the collection is inspired by. He took photos of families and groups of friends who came together for the occasion, immaculately prepared, and it was a great moment of sharing and celebration.
The idea was to go a little further and to build on the iconic lines of Manufacture de Digoin. In fact, without knowing, we had both grown up with it. These salad bowls recall our childhood memories to an extent. Giving them a new lease of life and seeing them differently was something that we both wanted to do.
Any ideas for combining these thirteen products?
The idea was to make use of them, both as a decorative object and a functional, everyday item at once. The jugs are wonderful together, as a family. Putting them all together on a sideboard, a fireplace, or a dining room table will add an artistic touch to your interior, like a graphical sculpture with a trace of different countries. You can also use them as vases and add a few branches of dried flowers, or lay them out separately. Putting one in the bathroom could also be a stylish and colourful way of bring your decor to life.
What if you could only choose one? And why?
It’s tough! It’d choose the big, matte and glossy salad bowl for a big couscous party.
I wanted to reinterpret these graphic themes by playing with asymmetric placement of colour on the ceramic, while creating an interplay of texture by mixing the raw clay mixture with brilliant enamel.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily