MEETING DEATH IN PARIS.
Death In Paris is minimalist, modern and functional. At least that’s how its founders describe it. It’s an accessories label that’s been on my periphery for some time now. Once discovered, I instantly fell (hard) for the clean-lined aesthetic, edgy editorials, and undeniable quality. So, in attempts to learn more, I got in touch with the two #GIRLBOSSES behind the brand.
Mélusine Roussilhe started Death In Paris as a graphic design studio while still living in the French capital, but always knew she wanted to do more with her creative disposition. A friend, Natasha – who was in the city studying French – would come round on rainy afternoons and they began to work on side projects, eating Korean food and watching old movies, and soon discovered they had very similar tastes. And so, on one Saturday afternoon, they began to design some bags.
“I got a call from Natasha,” stated Mélusine. “And she said that she’d met with a factory in Thailand that would be able to make the bags we’d designed, and asked if I wanted to have them made. Definitely, I said. Of course!” After heading back to Thailand once her year of studying was up, Natasha had got in touch with said manufacturers; skilled workers at a family-run business, who would be able to tailor the products to their exact specifications. “We didn’t have the technical training,” continued Mélusine. “So it was a good year and a half to get the first product perfect.”
“If I can imagine it I can make it,” thought Natasha, but they quickly learnt this wasn’t the case. They had very distinct ideas of what they wanted, and so both girls were happy to wait until everything was in keeping with their vision before launching. But what about the designs themselves? “We’re both really into organisation and see-through things,” answered Mélusine. It’s a commonality the girls’ share that’s certainly evident, and one that’s easily visible with a quick glance at their first collection.
A streamlined clutch, transparent, with a luxe leather-lined slip inside with card slots and a phone pocket – it was this bag that caught my attention, and that of many others. But their process hasn’t changed since then: “it’s basically the same,” said Natasha. “We just start thinking about the form of the bag, fundamentally how big it will be, how you will carry it. But by the end, after prototyping, it’s usually morphed into something quite different.”
And it’s this back and forth, between the two girls, and the two continents – Mélusine is based in London, and Natasha is still in Bangkok – as well as the factory, that makes DIP a product of a new breed of design start-ups. “Our day-to-day is filled with Whatsapp, Skype, emojis, emails, and Line, the Asian Whatsapp, every day,” continues Mélusine. “It works because the brand never sleeps. If I’m awake, Natasha’s asleep,” and then vice versa.” Someone is always on hand to make sure DIP is ticking away.
Having initially designed handbags the two of them would want themselves, they’ve now started to think about the DIP girl: “she’s young, and fashion-forward,” states Natasha. “Oh and Kiko Mizuhara,” finishes Mélusine. “She’s the ultimate Death In Paris girl; a Japanese ‘it’ girl. Definitely a muse. That would be the dream – Kiko in Death in Paris.”
What about the future? “For Autumn/Winter 2016 it’s the first time we are doing something totally different. And all I will say is that we want to show real people doing real things. So watch this space.”
Photography: Laoye and Beeson.
Model: Isabel Ulatowski, founder of THEFAKETITFUND.COM