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Stromae And Coralie Barbier Release New Capsule Collection

International pop phenomenon Stromae is known for more than his impressive pipes and knack for addictively catchy melodies; his infallible sense of style has always been front and center, making him an icon rather than just a performer. In that context, it only makes sense that the Belgian singer, whose real name is Paul Van Haver, would come out with a capsule collection of clothing designed with wife Coralie Barbier and called Mosaert. The aesthetic for the collection is built up of geometric shapes and notably bright colors, a combination that’s helped each release sell out quickly in Europe. The fourth collection drops today, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. We spoke to Haver and Barbie about working with one another, their creative process, and why they want to make clothing less gendered.

Peep the lookbook in the slideshow above, and check Stromae’s new song (his first original piece of music since his last album) below.

How did fashion go from being a hobby to a job?

Stromae: I guess I can talk for her. She used to draw a lot in class, and her mother decided to send her to a real fashion school in Brussels.

Barbier: Because in my mind, fashion wasn’t a job. I was in school studying mathematics and science. Nothing to do with fashion. In my school books, I’d draw garments and stuff like that. Thanks to my my mother, I started to actually study it.

Stromae, what about for you?

Stromae: For me, I’m still not a fashion designer, but it was almost the same story with music. Thanks to my mother, who gave me the opportunity to discover my passion, which is more music than fashion, but creation in general. But at the same time it was difficult because there were some stereotypes about dancing, for example.

What do you think is the connection between music and fashion?

Stromae: It’s been obvious for a long time, but I’m realizing it even more lately, that it’s possible to choose every detail of what you put in your video and not just choose like an outfit before you go for the shoot. For the video shoot, or even before I was rapping, it was important for me. Even if my clothes were baggier then, it was still important.

Barbier: He takes care of each detail in the clothing and he has a really good aesthetic sense. For me, when I started to work with him, it was easy because he already has a vision of fashion and has the confidence to wear stuff that nobody else could wear. He creates a persona.

This collection includes a unisex ballet slipper. Was it difficult designing something for two different genders?

Barbier: Sometimes it’s difficult, but I think you need some rules when creating. The things we find interesting is that we can look at what details men and women have in common with clothing, or if there’s nothing in common at all. We are used to seeing shoes like this on women, but not for men. It’s not as common.

Stromae: Sometimes, you want to buy feminine stuff to add to a masculine wardrobe. Maybe that’s too personal because that’s what I would wear, and sometimes I have to think and say, “Okay, maybe not everyone wants to wear that.” I have to make the effort to see how other people will see it. [Barner] brings me back down to earth when she says, “Okay, you know you are more feminine, you need to be objective with what you say.” We can sell this kind of shoes, for example, to more women.

Barbier: It’s the same shape for men and women, but not exactly.

How does the creative process work? Do you two conceive of everything together?

Barbier: We have graphic designers.

Stromae: She does the first version of the shoes, like a demo, and then we work together. For example, we thought that the best animal to represent ballet dancing was the flamingo. That’s why they are on all the shoes. So [Barner] does the first draft and then she sends it out with the colors and everything. She’ll give the designers some advice and direction, and then it goes very quickly. I have a lot to learn from her too and it’s better than just trying to always have control.

What has the evolution for the clothing been, now that this is the third capsule collection?

Barbier: In the beginning, I think most of our customers were Stromae fans. Now we have more art fans, and it’s not the same people. We just have more types of pieces now, like jackets and shoes.

Stromae: This is the first time that we did a full outfit.

How do you measure success on a project like this?

Barbier: It’s really difficult because as we sell our garments on the Internet. To keep it at a good price, it’s easiest to do e-commerce. So we don’t know exactly who our customer is. And we want to know them actually, because we would like to create not just stuff that we like, but stuff that everyone wants. And we don’t follow the trends.

Stromae: It’s really complicated to know what a success is. What works or doesn’t work, you know? But actually, for the brand, the thing I’m really happy about is the fact that we’ve been accepted into the fashion world. That was the most difficult thing for me. Inside of me, I was really scared about that, because I know how snobby fashion can be. Maybe not in the US, but in Europe especially, when you do something like music and then try something else, it’s not always accepted.

Featured image courtesy of Stephan Vanfleteren; lookbook images courtesy of Benjamin Brolet & Antoine Melis

Stay tuned to Milk for more multifaceted musicians we love. 

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