Isabel Marant thinks Hailey Bieber is the new Kate Moss

The mood is out in Paris, at least according to the city’s high priestess Isabel Marant.

“The summer was quite joyful,” she says. “But soon it won’t be so happy. There is a feeling that people will struggle with the rising prices of electricity and gas and restrictions [on fuel use] happens. I am not sure it will be a very peaceful winter.”

Another industry leader—someone who’s more of a showman than a badass—may here chime in on the healing power of fashion and the need for an upcoming runway show. But when I ask how the style community can face this moment of turmoil, Marant is smart enough to keep her point of view as sharp as her pointy heels. “The most important thing we can do is manage our consumption,” she notes. “And isn’t that a funny thing to say in the middle of a store?”

paris, france march 03 editorial use for non-editorial use only please seek approval from the fashion house adut akech walks the runway during the isabel marant womenswear fall 2022 2023 show as part of paris fashion week on march 03, 2022 in paris, france photo by peter whitegetty Pictures

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The store in question — Marant’s second store in New York City, which officially opens on Madison Avenue this week — is a pretty amazing store. It is lined with wood in the same blonde shade as the Marant muse Rianne Van Rompaey, and filled with eternal bestsellers such as Knives out shirts and black cowboy bootsalong with some recent hits like hot pink sunglasses and leggings with sequins. “It’s very exciting to be here because no matter how big you get, it feels like such an accomplishment to have a location in New York City. It means you’ve made it. It means we’re not just speaking to French girls – we speak to everyone.”

Of course, “speaking French girl” is sort of Marant’s MO. The lifelong Parisian began her career as a teenage seamstress before attending French institutions such as Chloé and Martine Sitbon. Launched in 1994, her eponymous line gained steady traction in the industry—design awards, crowded catwalks, rejections from cheaper brands—along with a steady stream of “it” fans like Anja Rubik and Halle Berry who catapulted her boho coolness into mainstream. “I realized what one person could do for my clothes because of Kate Moss,” she says. “She was wearing my sweater, and the sweater is going to be huge—everybody wants it. We can’t keep it in stock, and it’s just this super normal sweater! But when Kate Moss wears it, it makes a difference.”

paris, france march 03 editorial use for non-editorial use only please seek approval from the fashion house gigi hadid walks the runway during the isabel marant womenswear fall 2022 2023 show as part of paris fashion week on march 03, 2022 in paris, france photo by peter whitegetty Pictures

Peter White//Getty Images

Fashion is about joy.”

—Isabel Marant

Admitting to Marant that I was in my 20s, I bought too that sweatershe replies with a confession of her own: “I thought [the sweater craze] was a bit silly at first,” she admits. “But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are a lot of women who are not that confident or not that natural in how they style themselves. So if Kate Moss – or Hailey Bieber, now Hailey Bieber has that too effect with our clothes – if they can influence women to feel like the are amazing girls, I think that’s amazing, because fashion is about joy.”

Fashion is also about acquisition, but Marant is thrilled if you buy her stuff second-hand. (You can buy a pair of her famous wedge sneakers for less than $100 at The RealReal.) “I think reselling is really great, very smart…[shopping] brings a lot of happiness, and I understand that, but you don’t need it new. I’m always more excited to go into a vintage store.” That said, some fabric innovations is a brand new thing, including a pair of coated silk pants that look and move like leather, but feel significantly lighter and avoid the liquid plastic dullness of more common “vegan” change. “We know that fashion has to build things that last and things that are made in the smart way,” she says. “Otherwise it’s just a bunch of crap.” (Reader, I touched these pants. They are definitely not bullshit.)

Back in Paris, Marant has delved into household items and created ceramics in his studio. “I’m obsessed with making things by hand,” she explains. “You know, because I have such a big business, I don’t have time to do things with my hands anymore. And that’s what I really, really love to do. Also,” she smiles, “I’m starting to get good at it. Well, I mean, I’m not starting to be so bad.”

Marant gets ready for his store’s grand opening dinner-slash-rave with Blackstreet, Stretch Armstrong and 40 percent of Queer Eye cast, along with a steady stream of American models like Carolyn Murphy, Lily Aldridge and Hari Nef. “Style is more universal now, of course,” she says, “but also, French style, it’s not going away. It’s the idea that clothes are kept and lived in, and laid back, and that you don’t try so much. You can’t pretend to be who you are, you know? You have to find joy in who you are, and fashion is one way we know that joy.”

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