More than any other designer, Isabel Marant has managed to export that hard-to-put-your-finger-on, relaxed brand of Parisian chic to the rest of the world. Her slouchy aesthetic goes even more global today as her collaboration with H&M, the clothing giant’s ninth guest-designed collection, hits stores. We met the fashion icon at the Westin hotel in Paris to talk about the collection, her personal style and whether a men’s line is in her future.
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How did you approach this collection? It seems that most designers choose to create more affordable versions of their greatest hits.
When H&M contacted me and asked if I would like to collaborate I felt it was a great honor. I didn’t know then what they wanted but I knew almost immediately that I wanted to create a collection with all my favorite garments. You know, the clothes you always pack, the ones you would kill yourself over if they disappeared.
What’s the key to your slightly grungy take on Parisian- chic?
All you need is nonchalance. Parisian-chic is about perfect imperfection, something a little deviant. You look good, but you don’t pay too much attention or spend hours in front of the mirror. I think the improper, slap-dash look is absolutely the sexiest and most charming look anyone can have.
How was it designing menswear, as this was your first attempt at it?
It wasn’t difficult to create a men’s collection for H&M, but it was a challenge. It was easy to create garment by garment, as I often use masculine elements in my female collections, but the hard part was to paint the big picture. I don’t care for men who are too fashion-conscious, so it was difficult to find a balance. It mustn’t look to be too much. But despite the fact that I’m very satisfied with the result, I don’t think it will be a permanent fixture in my design. But you should never say “never.”
There are plenty of basics in your collection — what are your personal wardrobe musts?
The trouser is my absolute favorite garment, as well as a well-fitted T-shirt. Basic garments are the end-all-be-all to me, but I don’t have any direct advice on how to style my clothes because I encourage a personal interpretation. It’s all about the blend, and I love when I see people mix my garments with others, old and new, feminine and masculine, creating their own identity through them. Personality is the ultimate accessory for me. If you have that, you have everything. C’est tout!