Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Aug 29, 2022 03:42 PM

What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?

I have worked for the past 15 years as Creative Design Director for global & luxury brands in Paris and globally (Shanghai, LA, Rio, Montreal & Vancouver). Since 2014, I also consulted as a textile industry expert for Private Equity, Edge Funds, Unesco, BCG, McKinsey, and Fortune 500 companies including Eastman – Naia.

I founded Brand Creatives Paris in 2020, a creative design agency focused on innovative technology and sustainable materials serving global brands (3D, AR, VR, sustainable sourcing, and 360 collection development) .


“Thalie is a pioneer in sustainability for new gen French luxury leather goods.”


What obstacles did you face launching a brand during the pandemic?

It was more of an opportunity for me, I used this time to create the brand Thalie, imagine its manifesto, design the first collection, establish relations with factories, trademark our name, test our concept, constitute a luxury advisory board, recruit our team, get our design perfected, launch Instagram & our e-shop... the list goes on and on. It’s been quite a ride so far and in such a short period. Luxury requires time but luxury leather goods require a lot of specific know-how, plus we wanted to produce in the best ateliers in France and Italy. We did a good 18 months of R&D on testing new sustainable materials like recycled salmon leather or cactus. It also took us a little longer to get to market as professional buyers were not traveling to France until the end of 2021, but we still managed to get a lot of international press and open some of the most prestigious accounts like Bloomingdales Dubai or L’Exception in Paris.


What made you decide to design handbags?

I was formerly trained in fashion design, haute couture, and millinery. For most of my career, I designed products across all categories from dresses to tailoring, jeans, knitwear, small accessories, jewelry and bags, but never luxury bags. I have always been very admirative of French “Savoir-faire” & craftsmanship in leather goods, and while I had launched my first brand in my early twenties around evening dresses, I decided this time to start with handbags, a hero category for most luxury brands and a category who needed some urgent sustainable alternatives.

I realized during 2019 as I was consulting for a major French retailer in France that there was little offer for truly sustainable leather goods. I had tested recycled leather from garden gloves and pineapple leather, but I did not like the hand feel. In 2019, I met three engineers from ICTYOS who were working on recycling discarded skins of salmon from sushi shops. I found this material so luxurious and thought it would be exciting to test it as a replacement for exotic leather on handbags, it resembles a lot of python skins. The first LIVIA made of recycled salmon was created, and the result was stunning! We presented it at Première Classe in Paris in February 2020, and it was an immediate hit.


What did you want to accomplish with Thalie Paris?

Thalie is a pioneer in sustainability for new gen French luxury leather goods. With Thalie, we can bring fresh ideas to the world that are scalable and show that luxury craftsmanship can venture into recycling, upcycling, and testing low impact & vegan materials, yet with the look and feel of traditional luxury leather goods.


Where does the name ‘Thalie Paris’ come from? What does it mean?

In ancient Greek mythology, Thalia is a muse. The name comes from Thaleia which means “the flourishing.” Thalia is also represented in major art from the Italian Renaissance as she appears as one of the 3 Graces or Charities. It is said that Thalie brought beauty to the world and through her nature revived. Thalie is also an endearing nickname, short for Nathalie her father used to call her as a child.


Who is the Thalie Paris customer? How would you describe her?

At Thalie Paris, we create daring handbags for women who do not want to compromise on styling and functionality but understand the importance of not over-consuming while using available resources. Our clientele is international, well-traveled, and shares a passion for Paris, art, and fine luxury leather goods.


“Redefining ‘waste’ through the upcycle of a high-value product like leather is a very important part of our strategy in our efforts to make the fashion industry more sustainable.”


What does Thalie Paris offer that other handbag brands don’t?

Each Thalie bag is designed to sublimate women, privileging ergonomics and movements, sensual and durable materials. 

At Thalie Paris, we foster the creation of a more sustainable luxury by ensuring our raw materials are sourced in eco-friendly ways by using environmentally certified suppliers, recycling materials, and plant-based textile innovations. Thalie has been featured as one of the top vegan leather handbag brands of 2022.

Thalie's cactus handbags collection has received the PETA vegan-approved label. The material is made from cactus fiber, a plant-based material supplied by the Mexican firm Desserto. This vegan material is OEKO-TEX certified organic vegan material, developed and produced in sustainable farms in Mexico from the native nopal cactus.

While the “Marine leather collection” is made of Squama Lux, a recycled marine leather from discarded salmon skins of French Sushi restaurants developed by ICTYOS in Lyon France – a startup incubated at Maison des Start-ups LVMH. This collection is entirely made in France.

Finally, our "Upcycled" collection is manufactured from dormant stocks of leather from the luxury goods industry which otherwise might end up in landfills. Redefining ‘waste’ through the upcycle of a high-value product like leather is a very important part of our strategy in our efforts to make the fashion industry more sustainable.


What inspires the brand's aesthetic and designs?

The brand's aesthetic is inspired by 30's Modern Art, Paris 16th & enigmatic Parisians who have inspired fashion photography and art throughout history like a patron of the arts Marie-Laure de Noailles at the "Le bal de la mer" wearing a dress made of marine leather or a series of photographs by Helmut Newton shot in the late 70s in Paris 16th. 


Why is sustainability an important value for your brand?

Sustainability is a must; it protects our ecosystem and preserves natural resources for future generations. Thalie was conceived as a brand strongly oriented towards sustainability in all its phases. From concept, sourcing, production, and packaging to distribution.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

In the near future, we would love to open a Thalie concept store in Paris. A place to express the brand’s creative territory, where our clients can come discover our materials. For the longer term, to value the brand’s IP and material innovation, we aim to make a substantial contribution to the future of sustainable luxury leather goods.


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

Thalie handbags have a definite signature, yet they are practical & minimalistic with a twist. I hope one day I can say that at Thalie, we created iconic bags which will pass through generations.


What should consumers expect to see next from Thalie Paris?

We are currently working on spring 2023 and we are very excited to launch the organic vegan cactus capsule.

Our bags made in France will also be equipped with a blockchain QR code. Our aim is to communicate our commitment and unique approach to material sourcing and craftmanship on each product: the inviolable digital passport guarantees traceability and transparency. No application to download for customers, everything is intuitive, easily verifiable via public blockchain, with a very low energy consumption process.


Do you have a passion other than fashion or design?

I particularly enjoy traveling, seeing art exhibitions, taking walks in Paris early morning, discovering new areas, looking at architectural details I had never seen near my home in Paris. Paris never ceases to fascinate me. When I have time, I do yoga, swim, and spend time with nature. My life is very connected to my passion, so I try to combine it all in a healthy and seamless way.


What other brands or designers inspire you?

For handbags, I quite admire the quality craftsmanship of Hermès’ Kelly, the metal pieces and rare leathers, the Constance is my favorite, although Chanel’s 2.55 with its double flap is really a masterpiece! I’ve always been admirative of Balenciaga’s 60’s architectural dresses or Chanel’s timeless designs, especially from the ’30s. Also visiting Yves Saint Laurent‘s Haute Couture Atelier and office before it definitely shut was a privileged moment; I also saw his last haute couture show at Beaubourg when I arrived in Paris in 2002. I always found YSL’s collection full of colors and energy; I love his quotes on women & couture, very pure, sensitive and elegant. More recently, I met with Spanish designer Arturo Obegero from the Federation of Haute Couture, a rising star designer whom we are collaborating with on developing a special bag for Spring 23.


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be? 

Enjoy the ride and keep dreaming big!