It was at Pitti Bimbo 88 in Florence, Italy where we first spotted Atelier Choux and I remember the exact moment! We were strolling through the maze of tradeshow buildings in between fashion shows when we stopped dead in our tracks. They had pretty bibs on display, dresses and blankets but the true show stopper was the presentation of their illustration as a huge wall mural behind their booth!
Atelier Choux embodies all the classic luxury codes while always injecting a bit of “tongue-in-cheek” humour in their prints, for a lighthearted approach to luxury. We were so happy for the opportunity to chat with the brand’s creators, Nicolas and Daniella.
What inspired the name of your label?
The name “Atelier Choux” has multiple nuances. Firstly, Atelier means ‘workshop’ in French. In 2009, on our first date in New York, we spoke about our shared passion for artisanship and making things, and the idea of one day having a sunny, creative space together. It took 7 years from that conversation to the creation of our brand, but we never let go of that goal!
Chou literally means puff pastry or a baby cabbage, and is also a way to say something is so sweet or cute in French (c’est trop chou!) All these different references perfectly embody our brand DNA. The x at the end of Chou makes it plural. A and C also happen to be the initials of our first two children but that was just a pure and happy coincidence! Call it fate!
What made you want to design for children?
Our desire to finally establish our “Atelier” in 2016 coincided with us becoming parents.
Like many first-timers, we were very idealistic and wanted to design a nursery with our own tastes in mind. We imagined a whimsical world inspired by the ornate architecture we see every day in Paris. We loved the idea of bringing this imaginative aesthetic into our home and to parents and their children around the world.
What is your brand’s mission statement or goal?
Atelier Choux was created to inspire storytelling and imagination. We are potentially a baby’s first exposure to art. On the product side, we strive to make perfect products that are functional and beautiful and choose to use organic cotton and local, Made in France manufacturing whenever possible.
On a larger scale and very ambitiously, we are working to build a new French “Maison” for families that will stand the test of time. We want to be around for at least the next hundred years!
What are the motivations or inspirations behind the designs?
Our detailed prints are inspired by architecture, history, nature and our own imaginations. Combining those elements with a touch of humour is the essence of Atelier Choux. Living in Paris and being surrounded by Haussmann-style buildings inspire us on a daily basis. We often take pictures of building facades to inspire our prints and packaging. French culture is also an influence, with a new print inspired by dining and etiquette up next!
Parc Monceau in Paris’ 8th arrondissement was Atelier Choux’s first “muse.” Many of our most iconic prints, such as Monceau Mansion, Hot Air Balloons and Carousel, are all inspired by our weekends there with our children.
Is there a style decade you are inspired by?
We draw inspiration from many periods but particularly love the Rococo style with the movement’s ornate details, sculpted mouldings, use of pastel colours and gilded details. You can see this inspiration in our Paris boutique – the space features ornate, wooden cabinets with painted animal carvings and clever Trompe-l’œil spaces.
What makes your label stand out in the industry?
We bring a unique point of view to our home décor, accessories, clothing and packaging. Our whimsical prints are distinctive and instantly recognizable, we will never do something simple or classic, that’s not Atelier Choux. We are also proud to produce the majority of our products in France, from the weaving of raw cotton through printing and sewing. This is (unfortunately) extremely rare in our industry.
How does your design philosophy change when creating for boys vs girls?
We always aim to create gender-neutral products with all children in mind. We do not follow the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys, although some of our customers naturally follow that notion.
We recently launched a blue-toned Carousel as the original was very pink – and both work perfectly well across genders. We definitely don’t want to push children into specific ideas or molds, Atelier Choux is all about the imagination and individual expression. We only have two dresses in our range, with all of our onesies, playsuits and leggings designed to be gender-neutral.
What do you have coming up that you are really excited about?
We are expanding our range to the whole family and into other rooms aside from the nursery and bedroom. We recently launched fine art prints and are now working on Made-in-France tableware – as in very “adult” porcelain dishes. We create products that excite us personally and go with our intuition.
We have been testing beach towels for a long time but have not yet achieved the level of detail we require on long towel fibers. We only release products when they exceed our expectations. Of course, we rigorously test everything at home!
What is/are your favourite item/s from the current collection?
The brand new “Atelier Choux Cirque” collection showcases a modern-day circus with no caged animals or show elephants. We can teach children a lot about kindness through our prints.
We are also proud of our brand new, gender-neutral “In Bloom,” collection, which is our first print made with adults in mind. We offer three colour palettes and all are meant to be gender-neutral. We are constantly pushing our own boundaries and refining our aesthetic to appeal to all members of the family.
Read the complete interview here.