PARIS — Joining the growing ranks of fashion designers with a sideline in homewares, Alexis Mabille is launching his first furniture line.
Buoyed by his thriving business as a designer of restaurants, including Le Boeuf sur le Toit in Paris and Cipriani in Saint-Tropez, Mabille has produced a mix of one-of-a-kind pieces and limited-edition items under his own Beaubow Editions imprint.
Sofas feature unique tapestry panels that Mabille unearthed on one of his regular thrifting excursions. Depicting tarot cards, they were made by Assia Granatouroff, a former model for artists including Aristide Maillol and Charles Despiau, during the latter part of her life in the 1970s. Only 18 were recovered.
“I like the idea that they’re exclusive pieces. I’m not going to launch into a massive production right away, or do collaborations with big brands. That doesn’t make sense for me, so I wanted something very personal,” he explained.
Mabille grew up around interior designers and architects, including his great-uncle Patrice Nourissat, known for projects such as renovating the Rocabella villa on the French Riviera. Having started his career in costume design, Mabille worked at Dior under John Galliano before launching his namesake label in 2005, going on to dress everyone from Dita Von Teese to Zendaya.
He first started creating items for his apartment, beginning 14 years ago with a couch covered in tapestry samples. “I think that what’s on the market today is very uniform, especially when you’re talking about sofas,” he explained. “Since they take up a lot of space, I wanted to make my own.”
He joins the ranks of designers, including Rick Owens and Hedi Slimane, who have created their own furniture designs, even as luxury brands such as Fendi and Elie Saab expand their homewares collections to cater to a rising appetite for interior design in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mabille’s inaugural collection, Interior Games, was already in the works before COVID-19 hit. In addition to one-off items, it features items such as marble side tables, available in limited editions of eight. Prices range from 18,000 euros to 50,000 euros.
Inspired by Art Deco furniture designer André Sornay, and antique French petanque balls, Mabille has made bronze nails a signature of his line. No fewer than 28,000 were used on a modular coffee table, and they frame the petit point tapestry tableaux on sofas and chairs.
He calls the style “clean maximalism.” The designer is represented by Aurelie Julien Collectible Design, whose clients also include Virgil Abloh, Martin Szekely, Harry Nuriev and Joseph Dirand. Julien said she was impressed by Mabille’s encyclopedic knowledge of design, from antiquity to the 20th century.
“His references are much more classical than the people I usually work with. He loves antiques, so he’s more geared toward the decorative aspect than the conceptual side,” Julien said. “For me, it’s very new territory because I’m used to working with people who are radically minimalist. He takes me in other directions.”
Next up for Mabille is designing the Los Angeles outpost of Caviar Kaspia, which will feature an outdoor restaurant. “I’ve always been interested in interior design, but it wasn’t my main career path. Now, with all these design projects, it’s catching up to me naturally,” he said.