Interview with Camille Omerin of MAISON PÈRE
Founded by Camille Omerin in 2015, Maison Père pays tribute to the legacy of French couture, mixing classic menswear inspired cuts with exquisite fabrics and modern details. The debut Fall/Winter collection features Italian wools, cashmere, silk and fur. The Maison Père woman is free, loves to travel, and appreciates a sense of easy elegance – in other words, she’s Plan de Ville’s girl. We sat down with founder Camille Omerin to hear about launching her first season, her internships (Lanvin! Balmain! Chloé! Chanel!), and how she faces her challenges as an emerging designer.
CAMILLE, TELL ME ABOUT LAUNCHING YOUR FIRST SEASON OF MAISON PÈRE.
“Well, it’s been a long journey! I started the company a year and a half ago, and I am so excited to have my first collection available for sale now.”
TELL ME ABOUT GROWING UP IN FRANCE. WHO WAS YOUR FIRST STYLE INSPIRATION?
“I grew up in the French countryside, dreaming of Paris and Miuccia Prada. I have always known that I would start my own label, and my icons were Renzo Rosso and Miuccia Prada for as long as I can remember. I respect Rosso for the business empire he started, and Prada for her taste for beauty and details.”
HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE STYLE OF THE MAISON PÈRE WOMAN?
“The Maison Père woman is defined by simplicity, finesse, details, refinement, emotion, and a sense of timeless elegance.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TIME AS A STUDENT – WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
“I went to a fashion business school called Mod’Art in Paris, and then I went to FIT in New York for a semester. I wasn’t an assiduous student, all I could focus on were the chance to experience all the internship opportunities; I full realized myself when I was working and learning as an intern.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT NEW YORKERS STYLE?
“I like the fact that New York women have the ability to be either very casual, or very, very fancy, while the Parisian is more consistent with her style. A New Yorker would definitely dare to wear en embellished dress or a fur coat, and I like that approach to fashion.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR INTERNSHIPS.
“I did so many internships, it is ¾ of my resume! I started as sales assistant at Pucci, then went to Lanvin, Balmain, Paul Smith. I interned in marketing and public relations at Fendi, then leather goods production at Chloé, and ready-to-wear production at Chanel. Finally, I spent two years working at Chloé in the ready-to-wear atelier and development department.”
DO YOU HAVE MENTORS?
“I do. I realize I have a lot of amazing mentors and keepers around me. I have three mentors, and lots of people from the industry who believe in me and Maison Père, who are always there to offer advice. I am very grateful.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST SALES SEASON. WHAT DID YOU FIND CHALLENGING? REWARDING?
“We were ready really ahead of time,” said Omerin, referring to the official market calendar. “I wanted to have a longer window to sell the collection, with more markets. That was a great decision, because starting from season one, we were able to show not only in Paris, but also in New York and Tokyo. It was challenging though! It’s not easy to convince buyers to take on a brand new line, because the market is so saturated.”
WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR BUSINESS?
“The most rewarding part of my business is building a team who are motivated and proud to work for Maison Père. Maison Père is a family.”
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE IN YOUR BUSINESS? HOW HAVE THEY EVOLVED OVER THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF?
“Well, there are so many challenges in this industry for beginners. From sales and production to facing minimum unit requirements from suppliers, to working with factories and managing deliveries – every step is a challenge. Every project is a challenge because I am doing everything for the first time. Looking back on the past year and a half, I realize how oblivious I was when I started, but I knew it was the time to take the chance, and I couldn’t wait anymore.”
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
“I am motivated by the chance to bring my own DNA and identity to the current fashion landscape.”
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO ASPIRING FASHION DESIGNERS AND FASHION STUDENTS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“I would tell aspiring fashion designers to first learn in fashion studios. After, if their wish is to start their own label, to know that the key to success – after talent – is being supported by others in the industry. So, it’s crucial to build a network before launching a brand. Starting a fashion business is 10% about design, and 90% about production, sales, logistics, and human resources. It’s critical to find the right partner, who is ready and strong enough to support a designer from a business perspective.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MAISON PÈRE?
“We just moved to a stunning showroom in Madeleine, and that was quite a big project. We just launched our e-shop, and we’re opening a pop-up store in Paris this fall. Stay tuned!”