Meet Sézane’s Morgane Sézalory, A Female Founder In Fashion

We are at the end of July and Paris is buzzing. Not with the buzz of Fashion Week or other celebrations, it’s the start of August’s summer vacation that’s buzzing around the city. There is an atypical pressure on the devilish atmosphere of Paris, but not enough to deviate too much from the norm. This is Paris, after all.

I’m sitting in Morgane Sézalory’s office. The founder of French fashion brand, Sézane, like many other Parisians at the moment, is delayed for our interview as she ironed out details before her own summer plans begin. She has an annual summer party to organize and two little girls to accompany on their holidays.

In her office, it is easy to understand what makes the founder of the first online fashion brand in France vibrate. The space is elegant yet accessible, comfortable yet elevated, textured yet clean, just like the clothes she designs for Sézane.

There are books stacked neatly everywhere on a wide range of subjects, but they’re not just stacks for display, it’s obvious Sézalory is flipping through them for inspiration. There are several books on James Barnor, a book on nudes by Matisse, tomes laden with photos of Los Angeles and Las Vegas alongside a text on African textiles, and there is a book on the exhibition of the Peggy Guggenheim collection entitled Surrealism and magic.

For being one of France’s most adored cult brands, known for its contemporary femininity, wearability, desirability and, above all, its accessibility, it is curious to see how Sézalory translates its high inspiration into the whimsical creations and vintage inspiration from Sézane.

“What I love in life is to put a little magic in everything. Because I can see it in everything. I think that’s my gift,” Sézalory says when asked about these inspirations.” This is how I connect the highest beauty and artistry in everyday life, it is this ability to see the magic in everything.”

Sézalory’s upbringing in fashion is hardly traditional. Indeed, it is not even formal. She left school at 16 and chose not to pursue a university education. Instead, she started a business by acquiring and selling high-end vintage pieces that she sold through e-Bay, which eventually evolved into an online store called Les Componentes.

“I learned so much about fashion from the vintage beauties I sold. It was the best design school because when you have to rebuild or repair or fix a vintage piece, you see how it’s made and have to work with the little complicated details,” explains Sézalory.

Thanks to her innate eye for the unique and the art, Sézalory selected 100 pieces each month for Les Componentes and published them in what she called a monthly rendezvous that would sell out in minutes. It was a business that earned her a legion of customers who eagerly awaited her latest selections and was also the ancestor of Sézane, which she launched in 2013. Today, Sézalory leads a team of 400 people. spread across Sézane’s head office and stores and she holds a coveted spot on the BoF 500, the definitive list of the world’s most influential fashion professionals.

The Components also helped Sézalory lay the foundations of its business strategy. She saw firsthand how, as her vintage business boomed, her customers’ frustration grew in tandem – there simply wasn’t enough supply to meet their hungry demand. The experience informed the realization that monthly drops of random, one-off pieces did not meet a woman’s daily needs. So when she launched Sézane, she continued to offer 12 drops per year, but with a much wider selection to satisfy customer needs. It’s a concept that is normal today, but she was the pioneer in this practice when Sézalory started doing it more than 15 years ago.

“At the time, it was very special. I was just being really honest about the season and the needs you have each month of the year at a time when most brands only released two big collections. You came in February, when it’s still winter, and you would find dresses and summer clothes. She smiled with a slight nod. “Which was crazy.”

Her voice elicits a sense of pride for her practicality.

“Smart,” she said. She goes on to explain: “It’s Dégourdi. I have two daughters, and they always say, that. “Oh mom, it’s going to be fine, you’re so smart.” That basically means finding a way to make things happen, a skill that Sézalory says was fostered by his family.

“I was brought up with a lot of confidence, but also a lot of pragmatism. What my mother always wanted in life was not for us to go to the best schools or get the best grades. In fact, we did, because we were – my sister, my brother and I – were good at school, but my parents were simple, in a good way.

They come from a very modest family and lived with nothing but love when they were children, and they know how to do things with and beauty, and not much else that gave them a good meaning on everything. And my mother wanted us to be happy and she wanted us to find our way, to find solutions. Cheeky! To find a way,” she laughs.

By founding Sézane, Sézalory was the embodiment of this French word. She was self-taught, self-funded – and not to mention young – and through her parents’ values ​​and honoring her sensitivities (she says she does more business by picking up cues and empathy than relying numbers alone), she’s been able to build a business that spans the globe from Paris to New York with a myriad of pop-ups in major international cities. The latest of these pop-ups opened in San Francisco last week.

The stores, called apartments, aim to bring the essence of Paris to the world of Sézane commerce by enveloping the customer with interior design that brings a dreamy Parisian apartment to life. Nestled in the heart of San Francisco on Fillmore Street, the store merges the Sézane universe of handbags, jewelry, clothing and even a selection of menswear (Sézane’s diffusion line called October Editions) with pieces selected from the local businesses and San Francisco artisans. for the ultimate marriage between the Left Bank and the West Coast.

Growth begs the question: how big is it? Where does Sézalory want Sézane to go? After all, not every fashion company wants to become Chanel. Many are happy to be at the level of a Dries Van Noten – consistent, clear, with sales respectable enough to know your worth.

“I never wanted anything except to be an independent woman and be happy. I think that was my only goal, to be honest,” she explains. very good baker, who wants to make the best bread, who loves his customers, who wants to make a very pretty shop, a welcoming place for his family, and who wants to welcome people in the best way, with a smile. sometimes the kind of baker who will give you a present, with leftover crusts.

“And that’s really my way of doing things. There’s so much common sense, common sense, quality, love and respect for consideration. And I’m totally obsessed with making the things better than yesterday, every day. So loyalty is there, and that’s the only secret. Because that’s how it is, with no real intention to grow and grow, so it just grows on its own. It just growing up.

The conversation turns to his 6 and 8 year olds who are going on vacation in a few days. “I will miss them too much,” laments Sézalory. “So I’m going to hang out with them at home tonight.” But first, I have to design. Then my girls, then the party. All in one evening? Of course. She is clueless.

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