Caroline, Claire, France and Justine are four girls with a fantastic energy. Together they have created Maison Nue, a unique hybrid structure gathering all their activities including a visual studio, a music label and a connected webzine… They are insatiable. Audacious, they took by themselves something they could have waited for years for someone to offer them. With more and more prestigious but still fresh collaborations, they earned their place in a tough milieu, and they're a part of this "North Parisian creative new generation", growing and working from Pigalle.
How did you decide to start working together?
When we were younger, we used to spend hours in cafés, setting the world to rights. As students, we promised ourselves we would work together in the future, so it came naturally! After a few collaborations, we decided to join our forces and we created an hybrid structure: Maison Nue was born.
Are you doing everything together, or are you a crew formed by very different identities and skills?
Everyone has some special skill and favorite working categories, but the most important is that we manage to set up connections between all those. So, in the end, we try to work together on most projects, when links between us are possible in some way or another.
'Nue', for "nueu" as some sort of new avant-garde… or would it stand for naked, in a literal transcription?
"Nue" is about something that exists, that is there, nothing less, nothing more. We fight against everything that is superfluous, and we don't want to establish any manners. We are resilient. Nudity and fragility are not for us.
"Maison" is a french world meaning "House" that we can find all over the world nowadays, for brands to justify their history and savoir-faire. It is a very strong term. How do you deal with it?
We consider it with a lot of self-mockery. We are a small team and most of all we are young! So, we chose it as a contrast we wanted to play on.
This is definitely a very interesting name. How did you decide to pick it up, at first?
We can always put many images and meanings behind a simple name. Let's say we had fun playing with the two terms ambivalence, and that both represent us very well. First, the house is a welcoming place, a place for gathering. Plus, it became an institutional word in France, and so it immediately sounds and says we are Frenchies. Mixed with this strange term "nue", our house can be a place where anything gets possible. This reveals a lot about the way we work.
France, and even more Paris, is known as a very special place for creation. But it has two different sides: on the one hand, everyone is dreaming of this legendary city, and on the other hand, people keep saying that it has gone out of fashion, that it’s almost over… How do you live and feel your city?
Whatever people may say, Paris still keeps its fabulous aesthetic and is a city full of mystery. The creative field in here is very demanding and getting to impose oneself here is a real challenge. Even more if we consider the fact that life here has become very expensive, and that people have to work really hard to make a living there. Anyway, every day we see how young people have not deserted their town, and they keep on coming up with new projects and exciting ideas in every discipline, from music and art to events or even catering. A real new stage is growing, and it is an important factor of what we can call the "new Parisian way of life". It is not obvious, but it is there. However, for the four curious personalities we are, taking a glimpse at other countries is very important. Paris is our home town, and as Woody Allen said about New York: "it ever will be"! But we tend to internationalize our work step by step.
That's beautiful to hear. But what about the nightlife? We often say that the legendary Parisian nights died a few decades ago. What do you think about that?
It is true that Paris is no such thing as a giant party board game. The best places to go are those we secretly exchange, and the good events are those you have to be on list to get in. Everything is now pretty secret, but it’s becoming a new sort of game. People have to ride this city, and to be daring because it is worth it in the end. In the end, we do get very good times here.
What are your Maison Nue non-negotiable rules today? What do you deeply believe in?
Independence is something we cannot go without. The studio, label and webzine are Maison Nue's cornerstones. With those, we keep working on our own "trademark". Later on, we might consider creating our own products. But the most important issue for us at that point is to share our creative point of view, discussing, exchanging views, meeting people...
"Act like a lady, think like a boss", is another principle of yours. Iron fist in a velvet glove… or is it the contrary? How do you manage to deal with this duality?
This little catchphrase came from a bad joke and became an animated GIF for our website opening. The formula is not to be taken too seriously; but it summarized our spirit in a very simple and funny way, for a start. After having experienced working for agencies and art directors and having travelled a bit, we realized that if we had something to say or do, we should not wait for someone to give us an opportunity. We felt we had to take it by ourselves, right away. And luckily we live in a world where almost anyone can imagine and start a business. But in fact, being a whole-girls crew was not something we intellectualized, neither something we wanted to play on at first. It just happened to be a DNA mystery that we were four girls who simply wanted to work together. But it is interesting to see how important this issue has become for those who follow us, it's funny to see it matters so much!
Books, music, visual identities… You are insatiable! So, what's up for the next months?
With the studio, we recently signed the new Sonia by Sonia Rykiel identity. We just can’t wait to diffuse all this on our website. We also created a new art direction for L'Herne edition's art books; the first publication was released for the Fiac, and is about the Chinese painter Yan-Pei Ming. Our label just launched Mickael Klasson's new EP: Forever EP and we exposed a piece in the Gamut Gallery in Minneapolis, lately. But for now, our main issue is the launching of our new website. Studio, music label and webzine will all take the important place they deserve, so stay tuned!