Confession: I have a not-so-secret girl crush on Morgane Sézalory, the founder of French clothing brand Sézane. (Her shoes! Her sweater!). She’s a super talented powerhouse, and also incredibly warm and friendly. She lives in Paris with her husband Thibault and their two daughters. Here’s a peek inside their gorgeous apartment and store…
On creating a home: We moved here last July, two months after the birth of our second daughter. I’m always looking for signs when making a big decision. We liked all the light from all the windows, but we didn’t fall for this apartment right away. We did like the idea of being able to transform it into what we wanted, though — we knew we could make our own story. And I must say, nowadays, we’ve never felt as good in an apartment.
On leaning art against the wall: I love it! I originally did it because I couldn’t decide where to hang the pictures, and we work so much during the week that we were too lazy to figure it out. It’s not too formal. Thibault likes it now, too.
On winding down: Every evening, we spend 45 minutes with no phone, no computer, just us and the girls. It’s magical. We read books and play music. My husband likes to play guitar, and my girls and I love to listen. We have so many wonderful moments thanks to this guitar! We sing happy songs and the girls listen with eyes shining and big smiles — I could cry of happiness almost every time.
On lamps: Lamps are like little jewels that can change a whole room. If you manage your light at night, and make everything feel warm and cozy, you can feel good anywhere. We found these tropical print lamps in a tiny shop in front of our flat. The owner is an artisan, and he found that great fabric.
Fruit bowl and pitchers: Astier de Villatte.
On black walls: I like white, but you can sometimes get bored with just white. So, we painted the island and cupboards black, as well as the entrance and one wall in the living room to make it feel special.
On open kitchens: When I was growing up in France, it wasn’t common to have kitchens opening into the living room. (Fun fact: In France, we actually call open kitchens “American kitchens.”) In most traditional Parisian buildings, the kitchen is at the very end of the flat, which I really don’t like. This was also a reason why we couldn’t easily find an apartment, but luckily, open kitchens are becoming more common. We still wanted a little separation from the smell of the food and the noise of the girls, if one of us wanted to read a book or work. This glass wall was a perfect solution.
On family time: We spend most of our time in the kitchen. Our signature meal is breakfast because Nina, our two-year-old, enjoys sitting on my husband’s lap and making a tartine with French bread, butter and jam. I cherish those moments so much.
On easy entertaining: We enjoy having people over, although our friends call us “tomate mozzarella” because we don’t have time to cook a lot. I do like baking tarts — they’re very easy and are always a success when I don’t overcook them.
On a pink and green color scheme: It all happened very spontaneously. I have had the green chair in my life for 10 years — it was a vintage chair that I never reupholstered, I fell in love with it as it was. Then my husband chose the beautiful India Mahdavi lamp we have in our bedroom in green and pink… I’ve always liked green, but before I had my girls I could not stand pink. It’s very curious, but now I’m really into it!
On jungle wallpaper: We had a hard time finding wallpaper before we moved in, but I wanted to put something up; otherwise we would have had white walls for life. This wallpaper is supposed to be for kids’ bedrooms, but I thought it might be perfect for us… sexy jungle in the bedroom! My girls are really fascinated by this wall — it’s crazy to see how drawn they are to the animals.
Booties and shoes: Sézane. Wooden table: flea market. Mirror: vintage.
On reading before bed: I always read on weekdays before bed — it helps me fall asleep after a busy day. I’m reading the very famous Elena Ferrante series. My sister suggested it to me, and I’m never upset with what she chooses.
White sofa: vintage.
On long hours: I work so much. I love it, but it’s not always easy to be everywhere all the time. It’s a huge responsibility for a woman like me — someone who is self-taught, who loves freedom and doesn’t like rules — to have 60 people in a company.
On lessons learned: Trust your convictions even when people don’t think it’s a good idea. If you deeply think it’s a good idea, you will make it work. Nothing is impossible with passion and a lot of work.
On children’s rooms: We wanted a soft, simple atmosphere for the girls. That way, they feel peace and we feel peace. When we’re in the kids’ space, we feel like we’re in another world!
On reading together: Nina loves books. She reads them to her little sister. It’s the cutest moment when I see her reading to her dolls and she doesn’t notice I’m watching; she acts like a little adult. She’s so full of temper and kindness at the same time — it’s really hard to resist her charms, I must say!
On naming Olivia: Olivia is eight months old and has been a sweet girl since the first day. We were going to name her Avril, but it means April and we were afraid kids would play too much with her name. Ten minutes before she was born, my husband came up with the name Olivia, and I said, “Why not?” But I was afraid to make such a big decision during the birth. So, 20 minutes after she was born, we wrote Avril and Olivia on the board and we decided Olivia. It was impulsive and crazy, but it’s perfect for her.
Sézane’s store is a clothing/lifestyle showroom, as well as a hang out space. You can shop, get a coffee, read a book, chill out, whatever you’d like. Hidden inside is a private velvet-seated cinema. It’s called l’Appartement.
On starting Sézane: I started selling vintage clothes on eBay 12 years ago, but I had no idea that it would lead me to Sézane. After high school, I was looking toward my future, and I ended up not going to university because the internet allowed me to invent this job! I launched my own website and eventually realized that I wanted to produce my own clothing, as well. There was no strategy, just the desire to make things differently. It was born online when no one believed that you could do fashion online. This gave me a lot of freedom and a close relationship with our customers. I’ve always had only one obsession: to offer the most desirable pieces at honest prices.
On working with family: Sézane is a big adventure. My sister made me start it. My brother, who passed away eight years ago, made me realize that life is not tomorrow but today, and that there’s nothing too lose. My mom helped with administrative things. My husband encourages me every day.
Does your husband work with you? We decided not to work together because we wanted to keep our love story very easy. He convinced me to find a business partner. Corentin joined us four years ago and we get along so well!
On favorite products: I have to admit, our bags and shoes are amazing. They are such good quality and perfect styles. I particularly love the Jack sneakers — it’s not easy to find feminine sneakers that you can wear with everything. And soon, after three years of working on it, we will have the best denim line on earth. I can’t wait — they are truly magical jeans.
On mottos: Samuel Beckett’s quote “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It’s always on my mind!
Thank you so much, Morgane! You’re so inspiring.
(Photos and styling by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo.)