Nestled within a beautiful 18th century building at Paris’s 7th arrondissement, there is a hint of wonders contained and created behind the studio doors of Géraldine & Victoire D’Estrëe.
Victoire, the eldest of the two, greets me at the door, finely dressed in a blue chemise and black pants. She is petite, and her blonde hair is tied back. Her sister Géraldine is away, the designer of the two, and it’s Victoire whon takes me through the studio where rows of an evolving collection of D’Estrëe pieces are scattered about, belonging to a brand that is only a year old.
What kind of family do you come from?
Our parents are contemporary art collectors. When looking at our brand, there’s no denying that they imparted their creative flair and enthusiasm on to us! They promulgated crucial principles such as generosity, curiosity and hard work. We were encouraged to go above and beyond, strive for excellence, and find value in every opportunity. We try to inject positivity and a “make-it-happen” spirit both in our lives and in our brand!
What do you remember most about your childhood and adolescence?
We have always been surrounded by contemporary art and artists, thanks to our parents’ professions, mostly. It’s truly a privilege to bask in such a creative environment and to frequent museums and art galleries all around the globe starting at such a young age. I think that developing an eye for color and design was a natural progression for us.
Did you wear hats as children?
When we were very young, it wasn’t really common for children to wear hats. Geraldine started wearing them frequently as a teenager. We quickly fell in love with hats, mostly because of the way they can pull an outfit together!
Did you both want to be “milliners”? Did you both sense you would be?
Both of us have always loved hats. Geraldine started curating an amazing collection while she was studying at Central Saint Martins in London. It was during that time of style streamlining that she saw an opportunity – instead of constantly searching for quintessential hats, why not create them? Naturally, Victoire was on board!
What would your dream hat be?
Hmm. We would say “The Sorting Hat,” from the Harry Potter books! Who could say no to a one-night trip to Hogwarts?
How do you design each collection? Where do you go? What do you look at? Where do the ideas come from?
We infuse the designs with ideas that we draw from art works and exhibitions, especially in terms of color patterns.
We were encouraged to go above and beyond, strive for excellence, and find value in every opportunity.
What was the first hat you designed?
The first model that I conceptualized was the Sigmar, for our Fall/Winter ‘15 collection. I can’t stop wearing it! It so happens that it’s also our best-selling item from that season.
Do you admire other hat-makers?
We admire Nick Fouquet’s work – he is a French milliner based in Los Angeles. Our brand’s aesthetic and vibe is completely different from his, but we really respect his creations.
Do you prefer a dress or a pant suit to wear with a hat?
Our hats can elevate any type of ensemble – there are no rules!
What is the importance of wearing a hat?
Just like some might opt for a statement red lip, we choose to make our looks more distinguished and refined by adding a hat. We believe that the right hat can take any outfit to the next level, regardless of the season. It’s just a matter of finding what suits you!
Hat-making in three words?
Handmade, details, hues.
Three golden rules according to Géraldine and Victoire?
Never underestimate the power of a hat! Don’t overdo it. Less really is more. Three colors max.