For our next instalment in our Meet the Designer series, we’re chatting with designerextraordinaire Fabienne Chapot. You may recognise Fabienne’s work from recent new collections in the boutique. We just adore the bold prints and bright colours in her designs and they have already gone down a storm this summerin the boutique. We also hear on the grapevine that homewares may be appearing in the collections……Watch this space!
We’re so excited to introduce Fabienne today and can’t wait to dive right into his engaging interview!
1) When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
I always knew that I wanted to have my own company, but I wasn’t exactly sure how and what. It was during a trip to Bali when I knew what I wanted, my own fashion company. I started with beautiful coloured bags and purses with heart shaped patches, and later on a shoe collection. Launching my own ready-to-wear collection was always a dream, but I lacked the knowledge. It’s a different ballgame. But with the years I gained experience and built a really amazing team around me with whom I dared to make this decision. In 2016 we launched our first clothing collection.
2) What is the story behind the name? Where are you based?
When I started the company it was called Fab., like my nickname. In 2016 we did a complete rebranding, now it’s named after myself, Fabienne Chapot. We are based in Amsterdam.
3) How do you describe your signature style?
Fabienne Chapot dares women to dress in a way that’s more outspoken, through a strong use of colour, pattern and imaginative details. Boldly feminine – and always highly wearable. The recognizable Fabienne Chapot signature gives you an instant upbeat feeling.
4) What is your theme/influence behind this seasons collection?
The Paradise collection takes us back to sultry Hollywood celebrating the glorious fifties with a lazy lagoon sea breeze coming through. We bring femininity back in our swinging silhouettes and vibrant colours. This summer is all about bold prints and soft fabrics. The Lobster and Papaya print are at the heart of this SS18 collection.
5) How do you want women to feel when wearing your fashion?
I want women to feel good. Good about themselves and good about the way that they look. Our pieces are uplifting, so I would love that everyone who wears Fabienne Chapot feels strong, powerful, outspoken, sophisticated and a little bit cheeky.
6) What has the biggest challenge been in your career?
When building a brand, you live from challenge to challenge and we are constantly looking for new ones. But the rebranding and the success of the ready-to-wear collection was an absolute dream. It was a risky step, and a challenge, but with hard work from the team we made it into a success.
7) How is working in fashion different today from when you started?
It is totally different. I started with accessories only and now we have a complete ready to wear collection and lifestyle brand. I gained much more experience since I started, but I am still learning a every day. Furthermore there are so many brands, you have to differentiate yourself from other brands in quality and creativity.
8) How do you keep yourself motivated and creative every season?
The themes of the collections are created by our creative director, who is also one of my best friends, Sophie van Bentum. The design team will work from there. Together with Sophie I get inspiration from everywhere. My environment is my biggest source of inspiration. This comes from the smallest things, beautiful trips, different cultures, the streets, art or conversations with inspiring people. Sophie is a true visionary, she’s has an innate understanding of the current zeitgeist, how to tell stories and translating them into a collection.
9) Do you get to travel with your job?
Luckily, I travel a lot because of my work. For inspiration trips for example. But I also go to our suppliers in Bali, China, Portugal and India. When I go to Bali I call it a ‘work holiday’. Lying on the beach in between meetings and having lunch at amazing places. It’s long days with lots of meetings, but certainly no punishment.
10) Whats next for Fabienne Chapot?
Currently we are focusing on building the brand in the European market, but my ambition is to grow Fabienne Chapot to a global industry-leading and visionary fashion and lifestyle brand. This year we are launching a new homeware collection, opening a second store in Antwerp and we are moving to a bigger office along the canals in Amsterdam as the team grows so rapidly. This is certainly just the beginning though… we have great ambition!
Quick Fire Round
Last Holiday: To Turkey with my son, Hugo and a group of friends and theirs kids.
Best meal you have had: I love a good meal and tried many restaurants in Amsterdam and around the world. I must say we also serve amazing lunches at our office, it’s always a feast. I think it’s so important to have that moment with the whole team, keep them connected and energised.
How do you relax: Once a year I go to a retreat in Thailand with my girlfriends to really recharge. Furthermore I spent a lot of time with my son Hugo, which isn’t persé relaxing but does give me so much energy.
What is your favourite FC piece: The Mia dress in the Blue Lagoon print, I wore it during the final of our first show. A very special moment.