We met Cecilia Bönström, Directrice Artistique at Zadig & Voltaire in her fantastic apartment in Paris, in which she and her family just moved in to. We had a talk about the fashion industry, inspiration, interior and what makes a brand unique today. “The philosophy of Zadig is to be free to be who you are. The freedom gives you a cool attitude and spirit”, she says.
By: TWWP. Photography: Linda Alfvegren/Agent Bauer
Tell us about your new home, it’s amazing!
– Our new home is a 700 square meter haussmanien apartment in the 16 the arrondissement, 5 minutes by foot to the Zadig & Voltaire headquarters where I work. It s like a secret place cause when you enter this beautiful building, it seems like a very classic building but our place on fourth and last floor, you can only reach it with a private key in the elevator. And when you enter the salon you discover the surprise of a terrasse with an amazing view on the Eiffel Tower. Each time I look in that direction my heart actually beats quicker …
And so we have built this place with a lot of light coming through the windows and contemporary art everywhere. The fourth floor is exclusively for bed rooms for everyone.
What does fashion mean to you?
– Fashion for me is a way to express yourself and to exist. Style is something personal. Either you have it or not.
Is there a deeper meaning?
– Fashion is a fun way to create and shape your personality. It is a way to show who you are or also hide. Clothes are made for you to be seen and noticed, but also to give you self confidence. And sometimes just to wrap yourself into, to feel protected. For me fashion is my job but also my passion.
The fashion industry is facing a challenge with the environmental threat, is it noticed in the industry today?
– I am really aware about the environment and the issues we all have to deal with on a personal basis to try to make our planet a better place and with a better future. I also realise that the fashion world has to change to try to reduce the pollution while producing …
I have already started, so now we have recycled paper for our shopping bags, the buttons on our iconic Tunisien t-shirts are now in recycled polyester. For next winter my cashmere sweaters will be in recycled cashmere. But I will also work on a collaboration with an amazing person who started a company that cleans the oceans and with plastic from the ocean, we will produce a downjacket and sneakers. I also created a pin’s that was distributed to people to create awareness of this issue with the association called NOMOREPLASTICO. And some other ideas that I’m working on. It is a long process but we all have to start to do something in the right direction to reduce our water and plastic consumation and pollution.
What inspires you in life and when do you feel most motivated and creative?
– I need positive energy to move forward. But what inspires me, often is music cause it makes me dream. But also looking at people in the street or in a movie. I´ve been doing this since 2006 and what motives me is always to want to do better … so that means it never ends …
I feel the most motivated is often just after a fashion show and when I start a new collection and a new chapter and that I have the luck to express myself again and make new fresh ideas.
What are your life essentials?
– My life essentials is my children and my I phone. But also a good thick cashmere sweater and TataHarper day cream…
The philosophy of Zadig & Voltaire?
– The philosophy of Zadig is to be free to be who you are. The freedom gives you a cool attitude and spirit.
Your philosophy in life?
– Smile and the world will smile to you … keep repeating that to my sons ….
How much of you can you see in the design?
– I really think my destiny was to design for Zadig & Voltaire. It was meant to be! With my swedish background and esthétique I was already made for that company. Thierry Gillier founded it 20 years ago and invented a true style and universe. And it was everything that I liked!
I love simple designs but with good quality materials. I want to wear cool clothes but they have to be timeless and let my own personality come through. Today when I create a collection I always honour the inheritance and history of Zadig but it is totally ME in each design, cause I imagine myself in it. I had that all in me since forever I guess., The blazers, the hats, pure lines but with pop colors flat boots, a lot of masculine/ feminine contrasts. And Zadig & Voltaire let me express that and built a true wardrobe for active women out there .
What is it like to work with your husband?
– To work with your husband is great cause you can support each other, cause we both know what the other is doing. There is never a subject where the other is excluded from the other. We share everything. But I don’t say it’s easy either ….
What makes you feel balanced and in peace?
– To feel balanced I need to cut totally from my work on weekends. Go away to the country side and do nothing and hardly think of clothes …
And also do a lot of sports . I found this class that is a sportive dancing version of yoga. It s so tough that it’s like meditation!
Do you believe in fate?
– I think I believe in faith … The way I ended up at Zadig is a proof …