BEACH LIBERTY: Eres and Bonpoint have teamed up on a collection of swimwear for mothers and daughters, bringing a modern breed of French, bourgeois elegance to the beach — or poolside retreat.
The collection, which drops Monday, includes one- and two-piece bathing suits made with the signature Eres fabric in solids — coral pink and sky blue — and accessories in Liberty fabrics, including a light pareo and a canvas tote bag. Prices range from $60 to $300.
“It’s an alliance of houses to make our clients dream,” said Marie-Paule Michelli, creative director of Eres.
Also, Michelli and Bonpoint artistic director Anne-Valerie Hash have known each other over the years; their families even vacationed in the same, Corsican seaside town.
It is the first time Eres has ventured into the children’s realm and Michelli said she learned about the intricacies of the territory.
“We learned a good deal of rules that don’t exist in ready-to-wear — norms for children’s wear — it’s very meticulous,” she said, using a French expression that refers to work by an ant.
“The norms are pretty strict — that’s why there aren’t so many fashion players that operate in children’s wear,” Hash chimed in. She ticked off some examples: ribbons need to be kept short, elastic is often not allowed and pajamas have to be close-fitting.
Michelli just celebrated a dozen years at the label, and previously worked at Princess Tamtam and Chantal Thomass, and trained at the French fashion school ESMOD.
The pair began the project a year ago, shortly after Hash joined Bonpoint.
A graduate of the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, Hash won the ANDAM Prize in 2003 and was known for dressing mothers and daughters at Comptoir des Cotonniers through a series of advertising campaigns.
Her first women’s collection at Bonpoint entered stores as the coronavirus lockdown measures set in in March.
“There’s always an evolution when the artistic direction of a house changes. We still need to understand who the Bonpoint woman is, in order to draw her in,” said Hash.
“I’ve always liked this mother-daughter relationship in clothing — even if they don’t always dress the same, it’s natural to have this kind of connection — a wink at ties between mothers and daughters,” she added.
As France slowly emerges from a strict lockdown, the pair stressed the reflective nature of the period.
“It allowed us to reflect — this virus will help us reset certain things, like our way of doing things and consuming things,” offered Michelli. “It was almost as if time was suspended,” she added.
Hash, along with others in her family, fell ill with COVID-19. Over the period — “We were zombies!”—she said she gained a broader perspective on life.
“Time didn’t change — we are the ones running around. And then we stopped. That did some good,” she said, noting she hopes the post-COVID period is not too traumatic in terms of job losses.
The first time she presented a collection on Zoom, she cried.
“But by the time I got to the boys’ clothing, I was no longer crying — I was euphoric because everything was OK,” she said.
“Human beings adapt to everything because life is stronger than everything,” added Hash.