Friday 20 April 2012

CINABRE: The neck dresser of Paris bringing bow-ties and scarves back to Singapore

French label CINABRE has been wowing visitors to Singapore Men's Fashion Week with its playful but chic bow-ties and exquisite silk scarves.

Pictures really cannot do justice to the wonderful tactile experience of the scarves, and quite how massive (and therefore) versatile they are.

Likewise his bow-ties which really are fabulous additions to any men's outfit with a quirky red detail on the back and some wonderful tailoring and fabrics.

Now you see why he's called the neck dresser of Paris

Almost every man, woman and child who has walked past the CINABRE pop up shop on their way to a show has stopped for a closer look.

And rest assured, he does also have beautiful womens accessories. He just had to leave most of them at home because it was the men's turn in the spotlight.

I was lucky enough to corner label founder Alexandre Chapellier to chat to him about his inspiration, his plans for conquering Asia and the lost art of neck-dressing. Here's what he had to say.

CINABRE's bow-ties are insanely stylish and fabulously well priced

CINABRE is a new label to people in Asia, tell us about how you started and your background?
I actually used to have a great job, working in equity funds for five years and travelling the world to find talented entrepeneurs to work with.

It sounds crazy but I decided to quit my job one day so I could do something with passion, namely fashion. It was a step that is very much back to my family roots, as my Swedish great-uncle was a renowned tailor in the small town of Filipstad. In fact, I still use my great-uncle’s big scissors and tape measure.

In 2009 I was lucky to meet the Couturier Michel Goma (Jean Paul Gaultier used to be his assistant), who offered to share his experience and knowledge of colours and fabrics with me.
Soon afterwards, I started travelling all over France and met with over one hundred craftsmen, gathering together a team of young and talented designers along the way. The result of this collaboration was a capsule collection of bow-ties designed for the famous Pin Up Fashion
Studio in Paris. I then went on to officially found CINABRE in 2011.

I couldn't help notice every tie and bow-tie had a red detail, is this your signature?
That’s right. Actually CINABRE is a red mineral. I was working on colors with Michel Goma and I discovered the red cinabre. I found this color powerful and the name original. Indeed, it was a grinded ore in the ancient Chinese medicine, which used it to brew potions of vitality. When I tested the name, the first person who knew what cinabre was was an American specialized in old French language and the wear phenomena in the Middle Ages. I thought it was “chic”!

Do you ever get called the louboutin of neck tailors? And if so, does it annoy you or make you laugh?
It happens sometimes, that’s true. Actually it makes me laugh. Being compared with Louboutin is rather pleasant.

CINABRE: The Louboutin of mens accessories?

How did you get involved in Singapore Men's Fashion Week?
I presented my collections to Frank Cintamani and James Tulley during Paris Haute Couture week in January this year. They were seduced and wanted to promote Cinabre's creativity and craftsmanship in Asia.

I particularly love your men's silk scarves. I've been telling my husband for ages he needs to buy one. Yours range from galaxies to lobsters. Tell us a little about the inspiration for them?
Anything can inspire me: people, art, colors, nature. I’m a fan of science fiction and UFO, and from there came to me the theme of my first collection, an interstellar travel to another solar system where life is possible. This was inspired by GLIESE 581, a solar system discovered in 2007 where life could be possible. I saw a new planet - inhabited with herds of tattooed impalas, chameleon - like deer and flying trees - comes to life within the patterns. For the Barbier collection (a tribute to legendary French illustrator George Barbier who produced many Haute Couture fashion illustrations), it’s something totally different. I found my inspiration in a little parisian boutique specialized in old books and fashion illustrations that I read when I was a child.

I heard your collections kind of transition into each other and have links. Can you explain a bit more?
The 2 collections are quite different but one scarf/pattern makes a great transition: Homards laser (Lobsters Laser). This scarf is truly a link between the 2 collections: space/science fiction
of Gliese 581 and the tribute to George Barbier. We drawn lobsters involved in a kind of space battle or vintage video game. The illustrator of the 20s’ touch comes from the colors mainly and the border of the scarf.

And what is the best thing about your scarves? What makes them better than normal?
Well, the size (more than 94inches long), the colors, the unique patterns (all our patterns are hand drawn in our creative studio in Paris and then printed in the same workshops as Hermès in the South of France). The fabric is also very important: we use either crepe de chine silk (when brands usually use twill silk, too bright I think) and very soft silk/modal fabric.

Beautiful fabrics, patterns and long enough too style in a number of different ways

Do you think Singapore men would take to wearing silk scarves? They're quite a casual lot as you may have noticed?
I think that neck accessories make a huge difference. Today it’s very difficult to differentiate yourself with cloths as everybody tends to be conservative in their way to chose their trousers, shirts. A nice and large scarf can bring a touch of style and personalisation. The colors and the patterns can be a great way to express yourself without being too “crazy”.

Speaking of which - what are your thoughts on the stylings of the people you've seen so far in Singapore?
Right now I’ve had only time to be at the Fashion Week events, I found the people’s style very colorful and innovative.

Away from fashion week, will you be selling your neckwear in Asia? Any plans for a store?
In Singapore Frank and James will open a pop up store right after Mens Fashion Week, with their favorite pieces from the brands presented during the week. I should be at Isetan in Tokyo for the next season.

What's the best piece of advice anyone has given you in the fashion industry?
Be yourself...

CINABRE'S bow-ties start from 75 euros, ties from 105 euros and the silks scarves from 210 euros. Both his mens and womenswear collections are available from his website . His men's collections will be available at a pop-up shop in Raffles Arcade after SMFW 2012 ends. You can follow his updates on his Facebook page.