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My Fashion Life: Estelle Orilland, founder of accessories brand Stée

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Having worked at labels such as Saint Laurent, Chloé, Marni, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, accessories designer Estelle Orilland has launched her own brand – Stée.

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Estelle Orilland worked with some of the biggest names in fashion before striking out to launch her own accessories brand, Stée, in Paris in 2017. The brand is now preparing to launch into the UK market with its third season, and has so far gathered 35 international stockists for the collection including Antonioli in Italy, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Opening Ceremony in Japan.

With its distinctive metal hardware and clean lines, Stée is a brand to note for future seasons. Retail prices for the collection range from £350 for a pouch to £800 for a large tote. The brand declines to reveal wholesale prices.

What is your background? Where had you worked before setting up Stée?

Through my career as a bags and accessories designer, I have worked with several major luxury houses, including Chloé under Phoebe Philo, Saint Laurent under Stefano Pilati, Stella McCartney and Marni, and with Karl Lagerfeld.

I am very happy and lucky to have worked for all those major houses at amazing key times for accessories and bags, with amazing people. I helped to create bestselling bags such as the Stella McCartney Falabella and many more.

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What initially drew you to working in fashion?

My grandmother, who lived in Paris. I was born in Paris but was raised  between France and Germany. When I lived in Germany, I would go to Paris for holidays and visit my grandparents. My grandmother would proudly take us around the city, showing us the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées … As well as all the key monuments, she also showed us all the major luxury boutiques, such as Dior, Balenciaga and Hermès.

She was always very proud to live in Paris. She used to work for a famous furrier and sewed lots of her clothes herself. She loved fashion and was very fashionable herself, and that inspired me to work in fashion.

Even when I was 14, I was already sketching silhouettes. I would cut out all kinds of pieces from magazines and create moodboards and collages.

Why did you decide to launch your own brand?

After leaving Marni in 2017, my resumé helped me fulfil a lot of my wishes. I worked with all the houses and designers I really wanted to work for.

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Building my own brand was always at the back of my mind and it felt like this was a good time to do it, I felt ready, and so I went for it. 

How would you describe the ethos of the brand?

Bold, graphic, recognisable future classics, made in Italy.

How is running your own brand different from where you have worked before?

It is different in many aspects. Besides the design and development process, there are so many other things you have to work on: marketing, production, logistics, selling and so much more. But I really like it as it is a great challenge.

How do you see the brand developing in the next few years?

We would like to extend selling Stée worldwide – expanding into the UK market as well as the US market. We are also looking forward to doing collaborations in the future.

Is there anyone in the industry that particularly inspires you?

Many people that I have worked with. Phoebe Philo for her streamlined vision of an ultra-modern woman, Karl Lagerfeld for his diversity and incredible talent of multitasking, Consuelo Castiglioni, who I worked with at Marni, for her elegant feminine taste.

What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

It is important to pursue your passions, pursue what you really want to do in life, and don’t get influenced by other people’s opinions and advice. I believe what you like best, is what you do best.

Quickfire

Favourite clothing brand

Belize, a label from one of my best friends. We got to know each other at while we both worked at Chloé

Favourite places to shop

I love shopping at pharmacies and drug stores in Paris and Milan for creams, cosmetics and natural products

Last fashion purchase

A pair of old Celine shoes, that I got from a second-hand online shop, in brand new condition

Last holiday

Greece, on the Peloponnese peninsula: beautiful nature

Last book you read

Self-care for the Real World by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips

Last film you watched

Le monde est à toi, by Romain Gavras. A masterpiece

First job

I worked in menswear at Dominique Morlotti in Paris 1994 right after my studies. When I presented my final collection, he was part of the jury. He had his own menswear brand and was creative director at Lanvin men’s.

Dream job

Michelin-starred cook or a gallerist

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Spending time with my six-year-old daughter, Rosa, and family, having long dinners with friends, catching up after travelling days before

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