Jérôme Dreyfuss doesn’t look like someone who has made it into the Parisian fashion industry. That is meant positively. With slightly worn white sneakers, jeans and a simple sweater, slightly graying curls, but with the facial expression of a teenager, the 48-year-old looks like the nice boy next door. And that’s how he behaves when he invites you to an interview at his company headquarters in the heart of the Parisian Marais. Dreyfuss immediately breaks the ice with his disarmingly personable manner and appears down-to-earth from the ground up. That cannot be said of many of his fashion colleagues.
Part of Paris
The Jérôme Dreyfuss brand handbags have cult status in France. They have been part of the Parisian streetscape for almost 20 years, as have bistro chairs and the magnificent facades of urban planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann. There is hardly a Parisian with an awareness of beautiful things who does not have at least one model of his own. The French only started to design bags to keep his wife’s back free. She was pregnant with the couple’s son at the time. And by the way, she is none other than the fashion designer Isabel Marant.
What both are amused about today, but hardly anyone knows: At that time she was the wife of Jérôme Dreyfuss and not the other way around. Dreyfuss ran a very successful label itself between 1998 and 2002. It was more successful than that of Isabel Marant, whose international campaign began much later. Dreyfuss was considered the child prodigy of fashion, had previously worked as an assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier and was seen as the new enfant terrible. He put on his first fashion show when he was just 23, and two years later Michael Jackson called him personally to ask if he could make him the stage outfits for his “Invincible” tour.
“Too much success too quickly”
But then he quit from one day to the next and discontinued his label. “I’ve had too much success too quickly,” he says today behind his large desk on Rue Charlot. “Every time I was invited to some fancy event, I wondered what I was actually doing here. I think I was afraid of burning my fingers. ”An amusing idea how young, down-to-earth Dreyfuss in jeans and sneakers must have been sitting next to Lagerfeld or Galliano.
At that time, in 2003, it was unusual for a man to quit his job for a newborn. In France anyway, where fathers usually take a maximum of two weeks off after the birth. “All of my friends were amused by it,” he says. “But I said: It’s okay, I’ll just make handbags, then there will still be enough time to take care of the little one.”
What does the better bag look like?
That his collections are very successful and that he is on the spot Working dad he hadn’t expected that. He had, as it were, shaken his first drafts out of his sleeve on a convivial evening: “We had a couple of friends over for dinner, and they all came with very hideous handbags, huge things that were way too heavy and with large logos on them. They said there was nothing else on the market. So I asked myself: How can you do that better? “
He jokingly called his first drafts “Transformer”. They should be changeable in order to accompany women in all everyday situations. “You can carry it over your shoulder, there are small extra pockets that you can take out, and when you come home in the dark and have had a glass of rosé too much, there is always a small flashlight with you to find the keyhole. “It was the time when not everyone had a smartphone that gave off brilliant light with a swipe and a tap. But what many wearers still appreciate about the bags to this day is their comfort. They are made of buttery soft, flexible leather that adapts smoothly to the body.