The secret trade


Precise and passionate, Cecilia Bönström take stock on goals, DNA and challenges of her collections. In few questions, Zadig’s definition summed up.

Where does your leather come from? 
From India. We choose lamb leather, very flexible and we gave it a ‘washed’ effect to look more ‘chic’. For ready-to-wear, they must be as comfortable as a second skin.

What particular attention you give to cashmere mesh, which is part of Zadig’s DNA?
In fact there isn’t just one cashmere. It’s a living material, more or less fragile, that ‘works’ according to the person wearing it and to the way it is knitted. We wanted to give it a new allure: the way we use it forged a style. But behind this look, there is a real technic competence. In our fabrics, Thierry (Giller, brand’s founder) and I custom and dye the wools. Our quality teams study all our pieces sometimes during months. In this field we are precursors. We wanted to test the limits of this mesh that was never been treated that way.

Those cashmeres have the particularity to be as light as a feather. What are their secrets? 
The way they are knitted, more open, more aerate. This mesh is an almost historic will of the brand, the idea is to offer a pullover that you can wear as a tee-shirt… After long researches, we found a technic to twist the thread, to knit it specially.

For eight years, Zadig & Voltaire is enriched with a parallel collection, Zadig & Voltaire Deluxe. What is different with this collection? 
Deluxe favors a chic attitude for the evening, where Zadig & Voltaire is more dedicated to the active women at day time. In both cases, the perfect balance between rock and chic must exist. One piece, even a Deluxe one, must never evocate outrageous sophistication.

For few seasons, shoes also have a particular place in your collections… Accessories are the future! 
As a brand, we bet a lot on this. I am an adept of “Less is more”: to my mind, the personality is more important, a jean and a tee-shirt can be enhanced by a bag or a sublime pair of shoes. The accessory signs a silhouette, but also the DNA of its creator!

Your biggest manufacture challenge? 
We manufacture in many strategic points in the world, each one has its own specificity. Italia for luxury leather goods as the Candid or for a specific mesh, born from an old know-how… Our cottons are made in Portugal or in India, depends on the effect wanted: Portugal for chic tee-shirts, to the more structured mesh, typical of the country; India for the “used” effects. In China, we work as a lab: we test ‘scissor cut’ styles, dyes, prints… We play and push limits but we stay in an ‘easy luxury’ approach - this style that incarnates a new luxury French style, whom we are the creators and the guardians. We have to stay on a noble fabrication and keep a certain price in mind. We are the only brand that has created this concept.

One Zadig piece that requires real technical skills and that you are really proud of? 
The Candid! A structured bag with perfect finishing, special details and a real choice concerning leathers…. It is the perfect Z&V bag, made in Italy, conceived to last for generations and to endure the everyday life of an active woman. It is chic and cool, useful, with a lot of pockets of course! It is the brand’s future classic. In another hand, I’d say the frayed cashmere: it is the result of many years of work to get this living fiber that we can cut with scissors and that remains still… A noble material with a used effect. A real challenge!

Zadig it is also iconic pieces that you can pass on… 
To me, this is an essential notion: to offer out of time pieces, easy, trendy but non-perishable, made in noble materials… They must tell a story more than follow a trend. And our clothes generate affect: I heard a lot that our pullover are blankies. It is the case of the “Cambi”, a jacket without buttons that you can wear under a blazer, a bit like a scarf with sleeves that protects you… The evolution of our style happens softly like in every luxury house. Our clients must recognize themselves and still be surprised by our clothes. It is a delicate balance that requires a lot of reflection but sometimes I also change the details of a piece at the last minute, it is a matter of feeling: there is something magic in this that reflects in our collection.

What are your secrets to make these pieces last a long time? 
Respect washing instructions. A temperature, an adapted wringing are the best ways to conserve a pullover for years! Taking care of a cashmere is like taking care of your own skin.

What is a clothes that lives well? 
It is a clothes that you wear every day and knows how to adapt to every situations… The stretch leather Evron pants for example or the Tinoy blouse that you can wear from the morning till the evening. A piece that lives well can naturally follow you everywhere.

The python is really present in your latest fall / winter collection. Is it your new predilection material? 
The python, it is magic! To me, is it a material that evokes as Catherine Deneuve in ‘Belle de Jour’ as pure rock’n’roll… It is the symbol of a non-ostentatious luxury, unique, that you can decline in lot of styles and in many shades as you will see in Zadig’s new collection… It is a material that we are going to use more and more… To be continued!


Photo: Alexandre Tabaste