Limited editions are a dime a dozen with many designers, but agnès b. has literally cooked up a new idea for fashion week.
The Paris-based designer has handed over her mother’s recipe for tarte au citron to Maman Tribeca, which will make the lemon tart be available at the West Broadway location from Feb. 8 through Feb. 28. The 40-year-old company has been working to bolster its business in the U.S.http://wwd.com/markets-news/designer-luxury/agnes-b-seeks-to-reboot-u-s-business-10294171/
“My mother was great at making what we called the ‘Bonne Douce,’ a nickname taken from a Romain Gary book. She would cover the crust with beans, so that it wouldn’t curl and put in the oven until golden and crunchy. She then added the filling, a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, lemon and flour. She cooked it for 15 minutes and added the beaten egg whites on top. She also added zest to give it acidity and enhance the taste of the lemon.” she said. “It’s a recipe that all the women in my family – my sisters, my daughters, my nieces – pass on.”
Agnès b. has also designed a signature T-shirt for staffers at Maman’s TriBeCa restaurant and bakery, and its SoHo cafe and bakery. Customers have asked whether they are for sale, but as of now “they are customized pieces that only the staff wears,” said cofounder Elisa Marshall. “Our brands align well with one another and the exclusive dessert that agnes has made is from a family recipe. That carries on the tradition of what we do here.”
Benjamin Sormonte, who cofounded Maman with Marshall and Michelin chef Armand Arnal, said at “Maman, we love to merge fashion and food.”
“Our cofounder Elisa Marshall worked for years in the fashion industry and is something we are mutually passionate about,” Sormonte said. “When it came to finding a designer to collaborate with on the uniforms for our new location, we were looking for someone that matched the ethos of our brand — French roots, a New York presence, detail-oriented aesthetic, and apart from my love for her collections and having grown up wearing the brand — having a person and a ‘maman’ behind it all gives it the heart and soul that sets it apart from many other clothing brands.”
The company also has a Toronto, Canada, location and a pop-up shop on Saturdays at the Alliance Francaise on East 60th Street. There are also plans to open a fourth restaurant and bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in April.
Maman’s cofounders Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall are also ironing out two new plans for collaborations. At the end of the month, Maman will become an in-house food supplier at PencilWorks, which offers a variety of workspaces – virtual, actual and temporary – in a former pencil factory in Greenpoint. Maman will provide coffee, which is included in PencilWorks’ rentals at no extra charge, and it will have a kiosk selling specialty drinks and food. In May, Maman will unveil another pop-up in a downtown museum that Marshall declined to identify.
Unlike at Papa Poule, “the more masculine-designed” French rotisserie Marshall owns in SoHo with Sormonte and Arnal, Maman TriBeCa’s decor is more feminine and fashion inspired.
“Papa Poule is more of a meat-and-potatoes kind of space,”Marshall said. “There is a lot of bone broth going on there. With Maman, we try to create more detail-oriented, thoughtful environments as opposed to the very cold, sterile, hipster, industrial-type elements that are popular in other places.”
Marshall also serves as Maman’s event planner and designer. Maman has catered and done special events for A.P.C., Alexander Wang, Aritzia, Paige, Tiffany & Co., Rebecca Taylor and Banana Republic, among others.
After studying fashion design at George Brown College, Marshall worked at Paige Premium Denim and Scotch & Soda before opening the first Maman in 2014. Her design sensibility can be seen in the six-week-old Tribeca location décor, which includes mismatched chairs and Candice Kay’s textiles-fused wallpaper. That eye for detail has won over a number of fashion clients for catered events such as A.P.C., Alexander Wang and Rebecca Taylor.