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Serge Bensimon has just presented his painting collection at Ressource and has given us a bit of his time to take stock of his affinities with the house.
Tell us about your background.
For over 30 years, I have been advocating for a certain vision of fashion. Clothing, much more than a mere pageantry, is the reflection of a certain art of living. This famous "lifestyle" is a concept that the brand has always defended. With legendary tennis, we could have stopped there and let the magic of fashion operate but Bensimon is much more than that. At the end of the 1980s, the Autour du monde boutiques, brands of our collections, developed in France and abroad. We base our identity on the theme of travel, the collections consist of simple and comfortable basics to wear in all seasons. You can find shorts in winter and parkas in summer. Our clothing crosses the ages and is passed on from generation to generation. We opened our first "concept store", Home around the world, in 1989 and set the tone: fashion, beauty, decoration, everything blended harmoniously. The "transversality" between these different universes becomes our trademark, clothing does not stop at the borders of textiles. "Timeless fashion", a term that defines us in a world where fashion is evolving very quickly. In 2009, we opened an art and contemporary design gallery and bought the Artazart bookstore. The brand continues to take off and constantly proves its difference.
You are a fashion designer but also own decoration shops, how do you go from one to the other?
In France, we are in a pattern where, if we do fashion, we do nothing else, unlike the United States, much more open. Our diversification was made on the world of the house, with first the storage (the House Case, Wall Case, ...) then the decoration (chests, cushions, chairs ...) because the fashion does not stop just fashionable: there is a way of living around ... I wanted with Home around the world to offer an "ideal" store which combines in a transverse and coherent way the worlds of fashion, beauty and home.
How is your interior?
When I chose my apartment, it was a ruin, located in an old furnished building from the 60s with a predestined name: "Around the World"! I was inspired by American architects whom I adore, and I redid everything in a modernist spirit, with large functional spaces where I put what I like: Lots of design - Charles Eames, Serge Mouille, Shiro Kuramata, Florence Knoll, etc… -, Amish furniture, Japanese fabrics, some pieces from the Gallery and a "shambles" of objects brought back, found or offered by friends from all continents. More a touch of Scandinavian spirit brought by my wife of Swedish origin… I reserve "the choice of art" because I need to meet the artists and to bond with them before hanging their works to my walls. I like to say that I am not a collector but an accumulator. Accumulation is real life!
You have just signed a painting collection with Ressource, why this choice?
For many years, I have used Ressource paints at home and in my shops. I share with this house the love of quality and colors. Indeed, we never work black at Bensimon, color is essential for us. When I met Patrice de Ramel (artistic director of Ressource) and Daniel Chauvin (CEO of the Blancolor group), I wanted to create with them a collection with bright and warm colors. To design its new colors, I made a great trip to South America this year. It is the encounters and places discovered in Mexico that inspired me for these Resource paintings.
Your palette is very daring, what advice would you give to use it?
When you design a piece of clothing, an object, or something else, you put an emotion into it. Each time, we are crossed by a new vibration, we give something. I think I have transmitted with this collection a desire and a desire for vitality and lightness. It is then up to everyone to transmit their emotion by dressing their walls in these colors…
What will be your next projects concerning the world of the house?
I always have plans… I travel a lot and I meet a lot of people with whom I want to work or who inspire me. It is during these meetings, these trips that my projects take shape.