good news #22
Maison Labiche: Embroidery, pure and simple
It’s almost no longer necessary to present Maison Labiche, as the aesthetic of this Parisian brand is anchored in the collective imagination.
When they launched the brand in 2011, Marie Welté and Jenny Richard, joined shortly thereafter by Jean-Baptiste Richard, took a bet on bringing back some glory to a simple product, while also avoiding the traps of trends and inaccessible luxury products.
They won their bet: their first, and now iconic t-shirt with an embroidered message in chainstitch script quickly became a cult item. Unless you’d been living under a rock, it was impossible to miss the “amour toujours”, “paradis”,”crazy in love”, or “99 problems” that popped up all over the chests of Parisians, and plenty of others, in the childlike writing that we love so much.
While she prepares for back-to-school, I mean back-to-Fashion-Week, Marie took us on a little tour of the basics of Maison Labiche.
How was your vacation? What was in your suitcase?
It was southward-ho for us... Books, a stack of bathing suits, Maison Labiche t-shirts and shirts, our sarong-skirt, and shorts.
Since we’re about to put our summer clothes away, let’s talk about the basics. What is your definition?
At Maison Labiche, we have 4 development poles: quality, eco-responsibility, [currently, 50% of our products carry the GOTS label], embroidery and personalisation. We want to make products that last for our clients, pieces that they will always want to wear, or go back to. Pieces that also allow them to express themselves. A good basic is a garment that allows itself to be appropriated by the wearer and makes them look good.
At Maison Labiche, our aim is to provide the right product that our clients can make their own, with their personal style and personality.
How did the Maison Labiche adventure come about?
Maison Labiche was born of the frustration of not being able to use my hands to create, in my work. I was working in a luxury goods studio and most of my time was spent in front of a computer screen creating exceptional products that were clearly not for everybody.
I had always loved trying out and mastering textile techniques, and when I started embroidering on the heart of unisex t-shirts, I was able to bring together couture-level craftsmanship with a popular product, and it became an overnight success. The Maison Labiche t-shirt was the fruit of a journey through craftsmanship. We made a lot of tests and tried out different techniques... What was important to us was that the result be easy and something that could be worn every day, while also representing a high level of quality. We wanted to produce products that would last, a t-shirt defined by embroidery that would never fade away.
Where does the “Maison Labiche” name come from?
The Maison part came right away. It was important because there is a lot of skill and knowledge at the heart of our brand, and it was a collaborative effort. We wanted a group project rather than highlighting one person. And Labiche is the family name of someone close to us.
Why choose a style that recalls school and childhood penmanship?
We worked a lot with this typography because, as a lefty, I really have to apply myself to write nicely, and learning perfect penmanship as a child must have traumatised me somewhat… It’s a penmanship style that looks like a drawing and takes every single one of us back to our childhood.
Speaking of moments that leave a mark on you... What kind of year is 2020 for you?
2020 is challenging.... There’s a comfort that comes from validating certain past choices, but at the same time it’s rather alarming for the future...
I must take off my hat to the Maison Labiche team, who were formidable during confinement. Every single person showed mutual support and a will to adapt that was frankly exceptional.
Our planning was really thrown upside down: our collaboration with Captain Tsubasa (the manga also known in France under the name “Olive et Tom”) that was supposed to come out during the Euro Cup was delayed. We were supposed to do an event at Easter with the Yann Couvreur pastry shop, where we had created uniforms for the whole staff, but that was cancelled. Our collaboration with the Picasso Museum for the Picasso Poète exhibit (which will now last through July 3, 2021) was also impacted.
Suddenly, we found ourselves working a lot on the essence of the brand and now that things are inching back to normal, we have plenty of brand new embroidery techniques to propose! And we are also introducing our new characters in the first Maison Labiche advertising campaign.
The collaborations are coming fast and furious! Are they a necessary step for today’s brands?
It really depends on the brand’s DNA, on the collaboration, and on the result. If it’s successful, yes, that can bring a bit of "cool" to a brand or a “tribe.”
As for Maison Labiche, we have an anchor product that can be personalised, which naturally attracts collaborations, and we prefer to work with brands that don’t work in textiles or don’t make clothing (Air France, Pokemon, Converse, Picasso Museum, PSG Soccer Team).
Maison Labiche on VIEW:
Maison Labiche sur VIEW
Photography : Maison Labiche