Charlotte Balme is the designer behind the young Parisian handbag lable Yvonne-Yvonne. A graduate of the renowned Studio Berçot, Balme worked in the editorial departments of French fashion bibles Elle and Jalouse before branching out in to design. Recently Yvonne Yvonne’s classic looking ‘Gigi’ bag has become a cult item. Continue reading to view RDuJour’s full interview with Charlotte.
What inspired you to start your label?
It was not really thought when I started Yvonne Yvonne. I needed to create something, I needed freedom, even if having a brand is like having a baby, I wanted my own company and I wanted to take risks. My lover pushed me to start.
At the beginning, I wanted to do a lot of things. I love fashion, decoration, books and photography, as much as noch and meetings. Everything have to be part of my life to make me happy. Right now, Yvonne Yvonne is leather goods, but secretly, I’m dreaming of the opening of a place, where I can mix all those things I love !
How does the design process begin for you?
I always talk to my friends, my sister, my mother to define what does they need, the practical aspect of the bag is something that interests me a lot. My design process begin by their needs. After, I’m guided by colors, making the color rang is one of my favourite moments and I guess then more specifically the model, variations and details.
Also, I’m full of energy when I go to India, at least 2 times a year, I feel regenerated, i’m more creative, more enthusiast than in Paris, also because I’m less asked and more peaceful !
What inspired your latest collection?
For the colors, it’s actually the Autumn forests, the tree, the leafs on the floor, a cosy and colorful autumn. Even if neons colors reappeared, the most of the brands still propose grey, black, beige and black again last seasons…that’s why I am too happy when I come back to India, Color is the rule and it can change your mood . I need color to be happy.
For the design, I love vintage, I love Paris, I love all that is both sophisticated et cool. You can wear my bags with an old jeans, a men’s shirt and without make up, you will be élégant and cool as well !
Which piece in the current collection is your favourite?
Romy, for Romy Schneider, who is very inspiring for me. For me it’s the perfect bag, perfect size, soft leather, a lot of colors available and still this brass plate hammered by hand witch makes the charm of the bag.
What is the best part about working for yourself?
… And the worst? All the administrativ paperwork and moments of doubts unavoidable when you are alone and independent…
What is the most important thing launching your own line has taught you?
2 things actually !
Number 1 : Patience !
Number 2 : You can make friends in business, but you can’t make business with friends…
Advice for aspiring designers?
If you want it, you gonna have it, but you have to work every single day, now it’s your life, it’s not only your work.
How would you describe your personal style?
Jean slim or short, silk tee shirt, perfecto, boots or Pierre Hardy shoes, jewellery Honorine Jewels, and an Yvonne Yvonne bag, always !
You never leave home without… my phone, my moleskine, my bag Romy, and my scooter.
How do You Like Your Shoes and Bags?
Numerous, colored, black and white, big, small, in leather, in canvas. We must have some for every days : for sunny days, rainning days, for nights, for holidays, for work : as many bags as women sides and moods !
What are Your Favourite Pieces in Your Wardrobe ?
Mmmm ! Difficult to choose ! My Pierre Hardy shoes, my Honorine jewels, my Romy bag… Can’t choose !
What are Your Fashion Tips?
I love fashion but it’s not all my life. Kicking back is the best advantage you can have.
What are your favourite magazines?
The Word of Interiors, Elle, l’Officiel, Jalouse, Grazia, Be… I read everything thats falls in my hands.
Your Paris Address Book:
Restaurants: Moustache (75011), La Crémerie (75006), Frenchie ( 75002), L’Ami Jean (75007)
Hotels: l’Hôtel des beaux arts, Mama Shelter
Stores: Hod, Heimstone, Stéphane Verdino, AB33 for Roseanna clothes
Galleries: Galerie, 45 rue Madame, the best antique dealer in Paris !
The last thing you bought and cherish is … Burrata cheese at la Crémerie and my Heimstone boots !
The thing you’ve got eye on next … a photography from my friend Faustine Cornette de Saint Cyr
The last music you purchased was … Somebody to love me by Mark Ranson, How deep is your love by The Rapture