Artistic director Cecilia Bönström came into the world of fashion via modelling, bringing with her on camera experience and knowledge of how the clothes should fit.
With her husband Thierry Gillier, who founded the French fashion house Zadig & Voltaire, the brand quickly gained a reputation as a destination for edgy Parisian girls who want to dress like the original cool girls.
One of the coolest girls in fashion is Kate Moss, who coincidently is the handbag collaborator for the SS20 collection. The latest line served up various personalities of the British supermodel. There’s the biker girl Moss dressed a leopard print sweatshirt and styled with leather trousers; tailored chic Moss strutting out in a sharp two piece suit paired with a wide collar pink shirt; and of course the bohemian Moss delicately dressed in frilly white mini dress and boots.
Putting this cool girl wardrobe together may seem like an easy task, but it’s a theme that can easily go wrong. Luckily in the hands of Bönström, Zadig & Voltaire pieces feel timeless, effortless and fabulously edgy.
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What does the first 30 minutes of your day look like?
It depends on the day of the week! Every Tuesday and Thursday, I wake up at 7.25an to have an online Kundalini yoga class on Zoom. It gives me such a positive energy to start off the day. On other days, I will have a nice cup of coffee and an amazing breakfast with grilled bread. Always accompanied by good music.
What was your first job?
My first job after graduating high school that summer was modelling. I thought it was just a summer job, but my modelling career lasted for another 15 amazing years. One morning in 2003 at the age of 33 I woke up and realised I needed to try something new, that’s when I called Zadig&Voltaire.
What drew you to the world of fashion?
I do believe the love for fashion design was always within me. My mother had an incredible taste and would dress me up for school every morning, as if for a big occasion. During my modelling career, I would use my free time to style all my friends, always on the search for ‘the piece’ while travelling.
What are the key elements of your role?
The key elements of my role are to give the direction for the collection and to lead the studio. I always start the season by creating a moodboard inspired by a special muse and deciding on a colour palette. Then my team, my stylists will draw it out and to make it all come to life I will choose different fabrics for the season.
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How is Zadig & Voltaire evolving?
In September we will be launching a new bag line “Initiale” with our new logo. The leather is Italian, the jacquard is made in France, it’s so beautiful! Zadig&Voltaire is famous for its pure designs, but also unique fabrics, whether it’s a loose jersey from India or a chic wool from Italy, all are part of our identity. We are moving forward to a more and more sustainable production and I am always on the lookout for new eco-materials. We have a new line of recycled cashmere sweaters; our iconic “Tunisian” T-shirt is made of cotton with recycled polyester buttons. I am also developing an eco-friendly denim line.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Attention to detail is the most important aspect for me. Eyes are like a muscle; you need to train them. For the past 10 years I have taught myself to have a sharper eye and see every detail.
Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
Celine, Balenciaga, Gucci, and Zadig&Voltaire.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was from my mother, to never compare yourself to other people and be grateful, concentrate on what God gave you and try your best.
And what is the worst?
Someone once told me to stop smiling!
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Gaining my confidence has been the biggest challenge. Leading such an incredible team is a big responsibility.
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Images: Supplied, main image by Mark Rabadan