The Eleven Paris founder explains why Carnaby Street is the perfect stage for a label with rock ‘n’ roll aspirations.
It’s Eleven Paris’s 10th anniversary this year. What have you done to celebrate the premium men’s, women’s and kids’ brand?
We had a huge party at Bread & Butter Berlin in July. We invited lots of our wholesale customers as a way of saying thank you for helping us grow the brand over the past 10 years.
Where did the name Eleven Paris come from?
Our first offices were at number 11, so it was as easy as that for Eleven. As for Paris, at all the fairs we were attending people kept saying, ‘Where are you from, America?’, and we kept answering ‘Paris’. And then we’d see people’s eyes light up, so we decided to add Paris to Eleven.
Earlier this year you opened your first UK store, in London. Why London?
When you are a French brand and you have more than 25 stores in France, it’s seen as normal by the people there. But when you open a store outside of your home country, and especially in London, then you become an international brand - so that’s why.
And why Carnaby Street?
It’s a street that’s known around the world. On top of that, it has that rock attitude, which fits Eleven Paris perfectly.
What’s next for the brand?
More Eleven Paris stores in France and more stores across Europe. We are opening one in Berlin in January 2014, then other European countries will follow. We are planning to open in New York in 2016. We have more than 15 shop-in-shops in Galeries Lafayette in France and they are very successful. So we now have a programme to open shop-in-shops in department stores all over the world in the next two to three years.
What’s your favourite city in the world, and why?
My favourite city in the world is Paris because it’s a dynamic city full of history, where you can find many styles of architecture. As I’m getting older it’s a city that amazes me more and more.
Your brand is sold in more than 1,200 stores worldwide, but where is your favourite place to shop for fashion?
I love Selfridges.
It has such an amazing mix of brands that is really well-edited and it is always a great shopping experience.
Do you wear Eleven Paris?
I used to wear a lot of the T-shirts - and I still do of course - but these days I’m more focused on the whole wardrobe, like the shirts, jackets and knits.
Your adverts have included rock stars Iggy Pop and Lenny Kravitz. If you could have anyone else, alive or dead, to star in your adverts, who would it be and why?
I wish I could work with Kate Moss, because for me she is the fashion icon. She would perfectly stick to the image of the brand.
What has been your career highlight so far?
There isn’t one single event but these last four years have meant a lot to me, like the store openings, shooting with photographer Terry Richardson in New York and working with Lenny Kravitz.
What is the most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought?
The latest Saint Laurent biker jacket designed by Hedi Slimane.
What is the most cherished item in your wardrobe?
My Dior sneakers.
What fashion trend do you wish would disappear?
Whose style do you admire and why?
Hedi Slimane’s timeless rock style.
If you weren’t working in fashion, what would you be doing?
I’d be a musician in a rock band.