Aude and Charles met in Paris, they set off on a trip to Mexico in 2015 where they scoured the streets in search of materials and workshops to launch their first mini-collection, and then officially created their handbag label, audette. Looking forward to expressing their personal vision of design, they began to shape a brand that blends elegance, futuristic lines and sophisticated colours. Producing their pieces in the south of Seville, where by the way many well-known luxury brands manufacture their bags and accessories, they’ve just launched their Spring/Summer 2023 campaign and collection.
Making ice the main element of this latest release, the handbag label that marries the French prowess for leather working with the colourful vibrancy of Mexico underlines that their creations do not belong to any genre, to any style, but are self-sufficient in any environment. Special mention should be made on the audette’s latest addition, the resolutely genderfluid Bellatrix, which now joins their bestsellers, the Nuit and the Baguette.

In this conversation, we not only ask them about the beginning of the brand, the international mix that defines the project, and their previous connection with design, but also about their upcoming collaborations. They’ll be presenting their collection in Paris at 7 Rue Bailly from June 22 to 25, teaming up with Spanish label Suot Studio!
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Many creatives dream of starting their fashion brand to be able to transfer their ideas to clothing or total looks in search of new formulas never before seen. However, you opted for an independent handbag label, why did you bet on these products?
When we created audette in Mexico City, we had just arrived from Paris. At the time, the streets of the French capital were full of sadly-coloured, shapeless bags, as if this object was intended to be as discreet as possible and match any outfit. The whole thing was often made up of a lot of complicated yokes and seams. So we decided to revisit this object with clean lines and strong colours, so that it would no longer simply be a storage space, but a piece of design that would elevate the simplest to the most sophisticated outfits.
What can you tell us about the first steps of the brand? Was it something you had always dreamed of?
We officially created audette in 2017 in Mexico City. After meeting in Paris, we set off on a trip to Mexico in 2015, but instead of visiting the beaches and classic tourist spots, we stayed in the centre of the capital, transfixed by the magical surrealism around every corner. At the time, Mexico City wasn't yet the design hotspot it is today, and creating a creative project required a lot of willpower. We scoured the streets in search of materials and workshops to launch our first mini-collection.
Then, after six months, without really understanding how or why, we were contacted by MoMA Design Stores in NYC, Tokyo and Hong Kong, offering to distribute our pieces in their stores. This marked the turning point from a fun test project to something more structured and sophisticated.
I don't know if creating a handbag brand had always been our dream, but being able to express our vision of design was. The meeting between Aude, brought up in French savoir-faire, and me, self-taught, passionate about beauty and emotionally ‘disturbed,’ made it possible to materialize this deep need for creativity.
Many people do not leave home without their handbags, being essential to store their most precious belongings. What were your favourite bag brands or models when you started to shape audette and why?
I’d have to ask Aude, but to be honest, before we designed our first handbags, we didn't really have a reference model. That's why our pieces had rather unusual shapes. We were more design lovers than fashion lovers.
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Then you started to define the identity of your most personal project, making the confrontation between femininity and masculinity, the unconventional shapes and vibrant colours some of your most characteristic symbols. What makes your brand different from other projects?
I believe that our uniqueness lies in several aspects. Firstly, our history. We're two young Frenchmen who launched our brand in Mexico, without knowing anyone, and then gradually saw our label grow back in other countries like France, Japan and the US. But when it comes to designs, we're always looking for a fine blend of elegance, futuristic lines and sophisticated colours. I think we're capable of developing some really strong, recognizable shapes.
As for our positioning, I think we have one of the best price/quality ratios. In fact, we produce our pieces in the south of Seville, in the same workshops as many of the top luxury houses, but we always try to keep our prices more ‘affordable’.
Aude, I read that your mother was a pattern maker at some of Paris's most prestigious luxury houses, wasn’t she? How has this influenced your design vision? What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from her?
Yes, that's right. She was a pattern designer for some of France's finest fashion houses, including 10 years at Chanel. My father designed planes and boats on his side. It may sound nice to most people, but the atmosphere at home was quite demanding. The interior of the house was sacred, and both were devoted to objects and architectural harmony, which is not always easy for children. However, despite a few constraints, they passed on to me a passion for craftsmanship, a rigour for a job well done, an understanding of proportions and a love of colour.
I was born and raised with this in mind, and then rejected it a little as a teenager, associating the creative world with something too strict. It was when I met Charles, enthusiastic, creative and sometimes unconscious, that I realized I had a lot of skills to bring to our duo.
As you've said, you're both French and based in Mexico City. However, your impressive pieces are handcrafted in Spain. Could you tell us more about this international mix that has also become audette's hallmark?
Yes, we have different homes, which sometimes makes us a bit schizophrenic. Let's just say that we met young in Paris but really grew up together in Mexico. Mexico City was the cradle of this project. This city is our main source of inspiration. The constant movement, the bright colours, the street sounds and the young Mexican art scene gave us the energy and inspiration we lacked in Paris. However, it may be a cliché, our French roots gave us a certain taste for clean lines and a quest for harmony.
For the first few years, we started producing with a good, highly professional Mexican workshop, and when it decided to move on, we were lucky enough to be contacted by Spanish workshops reputed to be among the best in the world. We hesitated for a long time, but when we saw that our orders in Europe were becoming more and more numerous, it seemed healthy to work with Spanish craftsmen in a village that has been entirely dedicated to the production of high-quality leather goods for decades. Today, our creative studio and boutique are in Mexico City, and our two partner workshops are in Spain.
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Charles, you are the artistic director of the brand. How do you manage to give fresh air to leather goods through campaigns and treatment of the image?
Indeed, as with our creations, it has always been important for us to move away from the traditional worlds of leather and fashion. I love paradox and confrontation, and I want to show aesthetics in its most hidden forms. Right from the launch of audette, we liked to have our handbags reflected in car wheels, on bodywork, for example, and organised photo shoots in the middle of markets specialising in plastic objects. I’m constantly trying to find that balance between audette, an elegant, feminine, fairly classic brand, and a more committed project that seeks to question good taste and show the paradoxical visual beauty of our consumer society.
In terms of technique, we work as much with renowned film photographers like Pia Riverola, as with digital artists like Tibor de Laminne and Evan Loxton. On a day-to-day basis, I often have to look like a madman as I wander the streets with my ten bags, looking for materials and everyday objects to create scenes and bring our designs to life.
You're now presenting your Spring/Summer 2023 campaign and collection, in which ice becomes the protagonist par excellence. Could you tell us more about the symbolism and meaning of this element?
At audette, we always work on a certain ambivalent duality, which is our essence. We hate to stay in conventional frames. So, when we launched the brand, we wanted to move away from the traditional French leather goods we are from and propose timeless, gender-fluid shapes with strong designs and colours. Our latest campaign is in line with this.
Since we wanted to be inspired by natural elements to present our summer collection, we chose water in its hardest, coldest form: ice. In terms of aesthetics, ice is for us the strongest way to bring out our bags with their pure lines and bright colours. Associating our futuristic collection with the world of skating, resolutely kitsch, allows us to find a balance and to underline that our creations do not belong to any genre, to any style, but are self-sufficient in any environment.
You’ve said on previous occasions that your creations do not belong to any genre. And if we look on the street, we see more and more men with bags of different shapes, in bold colours and prints, blurring the boundaries of the genre, don't you think?
Exactly, and it's great to think that we can create not just bags for men or women, but objects for design lovers. It would be a lie to say it was always like this at audette. Like most labels, we started out focusing on women, but little by little, men began to appropriate our bags and influence our creative process. However, what has always been in our DNA is to focus on the object rather than the use, and in this sense, we have always broken away from the straitjacket of the classic women's handbag.
At the time, I was often asked ‘Why don't you make leather goods for men?,’ to which I replied that I didn't like it. Indeed, the leather goods that were considered masculine were everything I didn't want: rough leather cases and objects with coarse lines. Today, Aude and I are proud and happy to offer collections that we both like, without once raising the question of gender;
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What are the best-selling bags?
Our three bestsellers are the Nuit, our iconic model imagined before we even thought of the name audette; the Baguette, which revisits the silhouette of a classic baguette bag and turns it into a resolutely avant-garde piece. Any superfluous details are removed as the bag is only cut from a single, finely designed pattern. And our latest addition, the resolutely gender-fluid Bellatrix.
Since you don’t cater to men or women specifically but rather design enthusiasts, who is your target audience?
Our primary audience is urban men and women aged 30 to 45 looking for differentiating, high-quality products.
And where can we buy your handbags?
Online on our website! We are also distributed in various curated stores around the world, in 12 boutiques in Japan, Simonett (Miami), Genero Neutral (LA), Now or Never (Phoenix), Centre Commercial (Paris), Gaia (Italy), and we have our own flagship store in the Roma-Norte district of Mexico City.
Last question, what can we expect from audette for 2023? Do you plan to collaborate with any other brand or artist on your next releases?
We're always on the lookout for collaborations, and this year we'll be offering a phygital collection with a Mexican NFT collective. From June 22 to 25, we'll also be presenting our collection in Paris at 7 Rue Bailly, where we'll be teaming up with Spanish label Suot Studio.
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