MODERNIST ATTITUDE: Monographie, the new Paris-based label that focuses on shirting, has launched in the contemporary department at Harrods.
The label, founded by Aude Casteja, offers different iterations of the classic shirt: There are minimal sleeveless versions in baby blue and white, feminine ones that come with contrasting pleated panels and more conceptual, deconstructed pieces that are sliced and buttoned back together.
Casteja, who has previously held press and marketing roles for luxury brands such as Céline said that she wanted to create a brand with interesting, identifiable visual handwriting.
“My background broadened my instincts and helped me create a strong identity for my collections, from the concept, to the story and the campaign images. Céline is a great example of perfect branding, so it was a good school, but it didn’t affect the identity of my brand directly,” said Casteja, citing minimalist artists such as Agnes Martin as her main source of inspiration. “It’s about lines and graphic contrast.”
She was drawn to shirting because of the freedom of interpretation it allows. “Shirting speaks to everyone, people can wear the shirts in their own way and style. It gives a lot of freedom, you don’t need to tell the customer how to wear it, it’s a product they can personalize” added Casteja, who has a woman with attitude, who can make a piece her own, in mind when designing.
Given the brand’s focus on a single category, Casteja aims to offer the most competitive type of product in terms of quality as well as price point. She sources 100 percent cotton fabrics from the long-established Italian cotton supplier Thomas Mason and manufactures the full range in the Paris-based atelier LCC, which also works with the likes of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
“We have created a real partnership together, which allows me to develop the perfect product I intended for,” Casteja said.
By carefully controlling the brand’s profit margins, Casteja has also ensured she can maintain “honest price points” and market the label within the contemporary space.
Prices for Monographie shirts range from $270 to $620.
The launch in Harrods is in line with the brand’s strategy to start retailing with a major department store and go on to grow its network of stockists. “We want to secure top-level international distribution to really establish the brand and we might then start thinking of alternative channels as well,” the designer added.
The label is also stocked online at Moda Operandi, which recently hosted a digital trunk show of its resort 2017 collection and also stocks the brand in its boutique section. “All the pleated pieces were successful because of their strong play with volume, so it’s something we certainly want to develop further,” Casteja said.
There has been a general trend for monobrands as of late, with a number of young labels having started by focusing on a single product before branching out; from Hannah Weiland who began Shrimps by designing striped faux fur coats before expanding into full ready-to-wear collections, to Marques’ Almeida who first became known for Nineties-inspired denim and unisex embroidered shirt label Bruta, which launched earlier this year.