This summer in Japan I got to know Emilie Casiez, the most recent addition to the Nigel Cabourn family and an absolute cracker of a woman. Born and raised in Paris, Emilie has been surrounded by a rich environment of much fashion, arts and culture (of course we must give the French some credit for this!) that spring-boarded her career and passion for fashion design from a very early age. She now spends her time between Paris, London, and Tokyo (not bad) for the new roll that finds her in charge of womens design for Nigel Cabourn Authentic and Lybro lines, and a great breadth of creative work it is indeed. I won’t spoil her life story before the interview below, but it has certainly been energising to watch Emilie serve into a very wild game of tennis to say the least.
In this game, she’s playing for the most animated, respected, energetic, and driven menswear designers in the world. It’s a roll that ain’t for the faint hearted, nor is it for someone who isn’t prepared to roll her sleeves up for the challenge. In my eyes Emilie has the experience and drive that has proven time over that she’s up for the match. So, I look forward to more goodness designed by an unbreakable Parisian woman who has her eyes wide open to the wonders of our sensory Universe, past and present.
I shot Emilie in Tokyo styled in the new Autumn Winter drop of Nigel Cabourn woman and the latest addition to the massive range, ‘Lybro’, authentic British workwear designed by Emilie herself. Get to know what makes her ‘her’, and what makes her tick.
Emilie Casiez’ Funnest Life Possible /
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into design.
I’ve had a step into fashion since a very young age, my french great grandmother had a lace factory in the north of France and my mother (who is Japanese) was working for Maison Grès in Paris. I was always drawing and making funny clothes for my dolls, and when I first went to watch a catwalk show with my mother, I was fourteen, the show was so exciting that it sparked my dream to be a fashion designer. I studied fashion design at the Studio Berçot school in Paris, and started a brand under my name while I was still in the second year; starting with jersey tops that sold in Maria Luisa and select stores in Tokyo. I ran it for 10 years, designed men’s and womenswear, and also had my store in Paris Haut Marais.
Then i decided to travel and to work for another designer to learn new skills and take on new creative challenges. I moved to Japan and worked for Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato in Tokyo for two years. It was amazing, and that’s where I met Nigel. Do you have any outstanding influencers in your life who have shaped your career?
I have always followed my heart. Since I stared working from such a young age, I never aimed to have my own brand so fast. I was designing what I wanted to wear, and it went well very quickly. I worked hard, and things came up naturally. My passion for travelling and exploring different cultures gave me a diverse backdrop of inspiration. Madame Grès was maybe one of my first major influences. Her designs where quite feminine, made like art pieces, and timeless. I admire Coco Chanel for her independence, tenacity, and the ability to transform menswear into elegant, comfortable and feminine clothes, with a hidden luxury rather than ostentation. These powerful people influenced my creative process. They taught me to focus on what I believed in, to always think about if I would wear them, and to incorporate utility and practicality into my designs. I am very much inspired by strong women, who’s style is still very matter-of-fact, and boyish like Lauren Hutton, Veronica Lake, Katherine Hepburn, and the talented and beautiful Lee Miller. She was a model, fine art American photographer, as well as an acclaimed Vogue and US army war correspondent during World War II. We took inspiration from her great life and career for the upcoming Nigel Cabourn Woman SS17 collection.
Do you think that growing up in France had an impact on your work and your career path?
I was born in Paris, I grew up listening to Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, Telephone, matching movies of La Nouvelle Vague, La piscine, and was a lot influenced by the 20’s designers like Paul Poiret, and all the history of France, the workwear from the 40’s… I love to mix all of these french classics, and i think we can find these influences in my designs. Paris is also full of creative people, who have inspired me and driven my desire to do things, to be active and to create. The fabrics and factories are of the best quality, and working with them made me appreciate the details and the importance of choosing high quality fabrics and finishings.
Are your a routine person? Tell us about a typical day in your world.
Since I work with Nigel, we train almost every morning when we meet, before working, and that in every city we go, Tokyo, London, Paris or New York. It’s very important for us, and that’s the only routine I want to keep when I am back in Paris. It helps me feeling focused and dynamic, to be able to work well, and to keep my mind and body healthy as we travel a lot. I do yoga or run in the morning before I go to my office, and I often do some vintage shopping, go to the flea markets at Clignancourt and love to see art exhibitions and going to bookstores for inspiration.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Now I listen to Massive Attack, the Ritual Spirit EP, I love also Glass Animals’s album How to be a human being.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Avocado on toast, and fruit!
What do you usually smell like?
Where would you escape to during a zombie apocalypse?
In my favorite secret spot in Japan!
What’s the best thing about what you’re wearing today?
It’s a Nigel Cabourn Woman coverall from the AW16 Lybro collection, in blue canvas, I feel good in it, it’s very easy to wear and comfortable, and people always ask me where it’s from! I am kind of addicted to coveralls now.
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee on morning and green tea the afternoon!
Winter or Summer?
What’s the most special vintage piece you own?
It’s hard to choose one! I would say a US baseball jacket from the 50’s that I bought in London, it has thick white leather sleeves and a black wool body, with red and beige striped ribs. It’s a bit big on me, and the leather on the sleeves crack which makes it cool. We will use it as inspiration for the next AW17 Lybro collection.
What is your ultimate jacket button made of?
Wool, very chic!
Draw us a portrait !
/ Words and photographs, Lauren Yates /