Monsieur le Français

While ideas swirl between two cigarette drags, the smoke-laden air is further disturbed by the apparition of feline silhouettes. A glass of Sancerre meant to irrigate the imagination breathes, and a blank page awaits the crisp line of Monsieur le Français. Forgoing criteria as well as decorum, his criterium mounts here with a garter belt that catches desire, and there with a lace string climbing between waist and neck but not one bit higher: “Each time I draw, I do so without worrying about framework, without any preoccupation. Then we work to know whether or not it’s technically viable. Sometimes it is difficult to grasp, but no matter the risk or the reward, I’ll have chosen to do what I wanted.” Whether emphasizing the small of the back or wrapping the curve of the breast to appear like a snack, whether capturing hearts with a catsuit that inspires fantastical mischiefs or bringing bodies together with whimsical handcuffs, Monsieur le Français issues his creations with hope such to celebrate both vision and touch.

Even when this open invitation to play and jubilee will be for some where the shoe pinches, his sketches surpass simplified debauchery, its game of inches. Son of an activist, Monsieur le Français has less the intention of boiling femininity down to its power of seduction and more that of providing place for assuming it with incandescence and revendication: “I want my clothes to have an emotional impact. They are made for women who do not follow the Barbie doll mold; they are free, independent women who are not forced into anything. My garments are an armor that allows you to assert yourself while they serve femininity’s art of living. Each model carries with it a state of mind: in the same vein, it is difficult to choose a Maison Close piece at random.”

In his lingerie, Monsieur le Français instills nostalgia for a time that will always remain unknown to him. The 1920s and their scandalous excess, this old-fashioned signature and manner of dress, cheeky charm and brothels abound, social butterflies like Cocteau and Bernhardt, and as many women made into colorful icons by Alphonse Mucha’s posters stretching from the sky to the ground. The geometry and precision of Art Deco having become the basis for an old school structure, a conception thumbing its nose at not quite and all the way, while Maison Close has molded itself through undergarments with foundations that are prominent, clean, and clear.

[[image_2_landscape_small]]

Monsieur le Français, though, has sought his ravishing muse in an even more recent time. With a deep voice, Mugler and Saint-Laurent pant suits, an instinct for the beautiful and the elegant, his aunt instilled some explosive ideals in him; a smooth talking style that he immortalizes today in black and white that is as elegiac as it is enchanting: “A photo is like a window in a wall, it makes you dream of a slightly distorted reality. It is this phantasmagorical writing that I seek in my collections.” A freedom in gesture and in speech that the founder dares to pursue in business, opposing etiquette by following ways that many reproach: having too wild of an approach. A point he rectifies just up to abstaining from diplomatic techniques; he was exacting with his words when the time came for relating to the public what he is creating – “I don’t like repeating myself, sometimes I wish I could be understood without having to say a word ” –, he would always privilege matters of reverie to a revered career. That is how the boy with his head in the clouds, who never knew how to learn by heart, would prefer to work from his to become an artisan of exploring one’s senses with honesty and teasing at codes grounded in transparency: “I like to play with surprise. I enjoy showing what we are used to hiding. I create erotic lingerie in connection with a playful, jovial sexuality. Maison Close embodies this France, the one that is inseparable from sensory pleasure.” A bon vivant appreciation that is typical of his homeland, which leads him invariably to take on some organoleptic tests.

The Monsieur does not shy away from the clichés that make him the perfect Français. Of the ones on terraces drowning their time in cups of coffee, of those who feed, relish and cultivate the seed of making everything more complex – “this is what makes us French people at once exciting and utterly detestable, too.” Monsieur le Français invokes this stroke of arrogance that holds France’s border intact, while his nomadic childhood also finds echo in his activities abroad; it is what filled him with models of reflection for transcending his Azure mooring by way of flights that took him soaring. Beginning with the trip, a first in a long series, that would bring him across Eastern Europe and all the way to Bulgaria – “my parents were hippies who raised us tough. We would hit the road and camp out wherever we could. By fourteen years old, I had seen twenty-six countries. And I add those to the ones I visit regularly today.” First, there were windowfronts in the heart of London that vied to exhibit Maison Close before long, and the unmissable shop in New York on SoHo corner where crowds throng. Then a soft spot developed for the cosmopolitan motions of Hong Kong, and the certainty that Monsieur le Français would never be better established than when soaking up all of this destination’s predilections.

As proof, the artisan-entrepreneur is the product of an emigrant ancestry from Poland and Italy. If the details of this legacy built in the roars of history are hidden in the folds of memory, he knows how to pay homage to his grandmothers, come from other countries with plenty overcame, their stories the origin of his nickname – “the stakes were particularly high for them to have to integrate, and for their children to fully integrate into French culture. They have always refused to discuss their pasts and their own cultures; it represents something difficult that I know nothing about, but that I feel is quite present. It’s this lack of foundation that makes me want to build.”

[[image_3_landscape_small]]

In the eagerness to carve out his place on the market, this lifelong autodidact took on training in the applied arts to ensure that at any moment his imagination would attract employment. Odd jobs that saw summers pass by behind a gas station cash register, and the hours of razor trimming architects’ blueprints that he would have liked to carry out himself – mere accompaniments to a fuller daily regime: photography, vinyl records, books, and loves that came and left, the mirage in a dream. The grand years of advertising when submitted bids and pressing the toil of an artistic director, diverted, for a decade, all the efforts of the creator. Switching from freelance, emphasis on the free, he went on to open his own agency. Yesterday’s draftsman sketched solid identities for big companies, conscious that slowly, but surely, day by day he was letting his own slip away: “I had my head down and kept my feet moving. We worked around the clock, on every subject. It was as tiring as it was rewarding. I finished by packing up shop after realizing that one’s connections, and belonging to a current of thought, often counted more than talent.”

In the wake of this peak and an Anglo-Saxon rendez-vous, the designer’s delight rebirthed, leading to a sense of clarity and a first industrialized lust-enticing piece that would not be a singularity: “I was overwhelmed by its overnight success, it took me out of my depth! ” His entrance into this world, where taboo was still the norm in the early twenty-first century, shocked the idealist’s entourage: “I didn’t care about their issues! Maison Close was born by accident; it was basically a way for me to have fun. I designed the first collection to go with the accessories and learned styling on the job. Behind it, the trade press got carried away and I wanted to do things seriously, even if in the end this is not a serious activity because I’m not making necessities. It’s all pleasure, pure pleasure! ”

[[image_4_portrait_small]]

The creator cannot conceive of an existence in which emotion is only expressed in half-shades, nor one where the time for an embrace is obstructed by concerns and barricades. In addition to museum strolls and cinematic jaunts, impulses carry him to gothic and romantic haunts, uniforms fit for a visionary, inspired by female horseback heroes and those from the military, flirting with the eighties and neon-colored wit, as well as Gainsbourgian cool and hypersensitive texts that are just the right fit. Monsieur le Français, the unrepentant sentimental, finds inspiration in his relationships – “I hate not being in love.” These stories have the gift of carrying him to the highest bliss as well as burying him in the most profound and productive melancholy; tales of head over heels love and heartache that can provoke new designs: “I am on a permanent drip. I gather, I store, and then comes the moment when I squeeze and flush out all that I have seen, heard, and experienced.” And in spite of his enchantment with low cut necklines of increasing depth, restraint always ends up winning over the one who cannot be laid bare with the same ease as his clasps are undone. A desire for exile and discretion that marks the irreverent maker’s manner, shielding him from fast-judging outsiders who hasten to tag him with a banner. There are only muses and his two boys, and moments between these two joys, wherein Monsieur le Français reveals his raw in the voice of Nicolas. For the moment – and only just for that – underwear takes the upper hand in the image of this culture of confidentiality sealed by Maison Close, bidding Nicolas to step aside and give way to Monsieur le Français.

Shopping Cart

×

Your cart is currently empty.

Subtotal 0€

Checkout