Fine Fashion Meets Funky Furniture: An Interview with Marie Saint Pierre

Montreal-based fashion house Maison Marie Saint Pierre, which is helmed by designer and namesake Marie Saint Pierre, has just opened its first US boutique. The doors were thrown open during Art Basel Miami Beach, tempting the hoards of fashion forward art-lovers who’d flooded to the seaside city for Miami art week.

825

So what connects a fashion-house with a design fair, you might be wondering? Well, design, that’s what. Marie Saint Pierre weren’t just debuting their Spring 2016 collection, opening their flagship boutique, or hosting a VIP cocktail party, during Art Basel Miami – they were, the brand and Marie Saint Pierre herself, debuting a line of quite funky furniture. Saint Pierre’s unique designs lined the lobby of the very slick Mondrian South Beach, where the chic ‘do was co-hosted with Objekt Magazine; and to the sounds of tunes spun by DJ Lola Langusta, the fashionable crowd mingled and enjoyed the beautiful art and design of the night. A live art installation by Brooklyn-based collective Dawn of Man was projected in and onto the party, an interactive sight cast all over the façade of the Mondrian, as well as a preview of Marie Saint Pierre’s Spring 2016 collection.

I recently had the chance to chat with Marie Saint Pierre herself about her design diffusion, how she manages to balance fashion with furniture, and some of the finer details of those funky seats:

Outlet Magazine: The ties which bind Marie Saint Pierre with art and design appear to be quite strong and quite vital – from the location of the Miami boutique, to the designs of the clothing, and even your gorgeous and sculptural perfume bottles – so, in a way, unveiling your furniture designs and celebrating the opening of your US boutique during Art Basel Miami Beach, seems like the perfect fit. Was it always planned to coincide?

Marie Saint Pierre: I was born in a family of art collectors and I grew up surrounded by art and beauty. I fell in love with Miami and then with Wynwood for its open-air museum quality. Unveiling my boutique and habitat collection during Art Basel seemed evident as Basel serves as a meeting point for the world. It is all about merging art and design, with all forms of expression.

O: The cocktail party co-hosted with ‘Objekt Magazine’ at the ‘Mondrian South Beach’ featured a live art installation by Dawn of Man. How did that collaboration come about? And apart from the façade art, were the rest of the projections also an element of the collaboration? Because from what I can tell; the strong, minimalistic, vibe of the Spring collection was brilliantly complemented by the vividness of the colourful lights.

MSP: The event innovative live art installation by Dawn of Man and The Mondrian aesthetic complemented the essence of my SS16 collection. It featured a montage of creative projections and vivid lights, adding to the sartorial dialogue of contradictions.

It included our new campaign featuring the dancer Celine D’Hont from the New York city based Gallim dance company. This campaign finds Maison Marie Saint Pierre at the height of its boundary-breaking powers.  Presenting an allegorical collection of seeming opposites. It is stoic yet emotive, refined yet playful. Deliberate yet unpredictable.

O: The names of the pillows, KARWAI and KIAROSATAMI, are quite unusual. Do the seats have names, also? And could you tell us a little bit about the origins of the names?

MSP: I name all my creations, whether they’re fashion or furniture. For this collection it is a nod to film directors. Karwai is for Wong Kar-Wai, Kiarosatami is for Abba Kiarosatami. I also gave the name Hirakawa and Kubrick.

826

O: What was the inspiration behind the colours you’ve chosen to use in the designs: black, red, midnight blue, turquoise, and navy?

MSP: It is a transgression of the norms. They might be considered classical colors in fashion but they translate into a bold statement when it comes to furniture.

O: And what of the fabric? What is that lovely, lush-looking fabric? Because, being a fashion house, I would assume that the fabrics and materials which you use in your furniture designs, are equally as important a facet as they are in the clothing.

MSP: Materials are key in my creative process. I like to find unique ways to transform or bond them, giving the pieces new properties. The poufs are a mix of stretch velvet and techno jersey. This combination gives them dry fit, breathability and antibacterial properties along with the enhanced support that makes them so, so comfortable.

O: How involved are you in the manufacture of the pieces? And were they made locally (either to Canada or America), or elsewhere?

MSP: Every Marie Saint Pierre piece is crafted in Montreal. Therefor, I can overlook every step of the production, from the idea to the delivery, ensuring the highest quality standards.

827

O: How have you noticed people interacting with the furniture? Because the shape of the pieces seems to suggest quite a few different reclining options.

MSP: The poufs are like clouds that enhance the beauty of anyone that sits on them. There is no point of tension, as if the person was floating in the space. It embraces the body. One can sit in infinite positions and still be enveloped. The Karwaï cushion plays the role of additional support, allowing to transform the pouf into an armchair.

O: When you are designing furniture, do you find that the process is influenced by the clothing you’re designing? Or do you distinctly separate the two processes?

MSP: The fashion and furniture lines are closely connected by aesthetic and technicity. Both processes are born from materials and volumes, they feed each other. The expertise that I gained in my collections thought research and development is applied to the furniture design, allowing innovations, such as the unconventional use of stretch fabric in mobilier.

O: Now that Marie Saint Pierre has a home in Miami, can we expect to see more of you and your furniture designs during Miami Art Week, in the future?

MSP: Yes, I’m excited to be part of the Wynwood artistic community and I wish to explore new collaborations opportunities in various fields. I’m particularly interested in collaborating with architects on hotel or condo projects in order to evolve and find new applications for textiles.

828

Many thanks to Marie Saint Pierre for taking the time to chat with us.

You can find more information about Marie Saint Pierre, and her many and diverse designs, over at mariesaintpierre.com

Credits
All images courtesy Tiffany Bloomfield/BFA.com