January 26, 2018 3 min read
A wander through Paris, far from its postcard-like archetypes, from dawn to dusk. Bathed in natural light, a gang of hat-wearing kids strolls through the hallways of Studio Berçot School and throughout the East of the city. An oversized bucket hat or a minimalist beret, these gender-neutral designs operate as signs of belongings to a secret society. And for those who wear them, these creations evoke another dream: one of a unified and diverse future, where style is both a vector of acceptance and singularity.
Photographed by Dexter Navy, a close collaborator to today’s prominent rappers, and under the artistic vision of Priscilla Royer, the house’s creative director, these images symbolize better than ever Maison Michel’s will for a form of luxury synonymous to savoir-faire as much as progress.
Since 1936 Maison Michel has imagined hats that are anything but an accessory. A reflection of its period, a dialogue with trends, a product that evolves as rapidly as the head it will dress: thus is the mission of a fashion-house with a savoir-faire unaltered, yet constantly reenvisioned.
As a part ofChanel’sMétiersd’Artshouses, Maison Michel collaborates with a selection of prestigious brands; since 2006, it also offers its own eponymous label characterized by the most cutting-edge creative approach.
Priscilla Royer, as its Creative Director since Winter 2015-16, engages in a pragmatic reflection reaching beyond the hat to the head that carries it, geared towards the individual and his or her style. The aura of Maison Michel is carried by strong personalities–feminine as well as masculine—, products that combine innovative technologies, alternative cultural and historical references, wearability and attitude.
At the Parisian ateliers, vocabularies are turned on their heads, and norms are shaken up. These desacralized objects–in form as well as in function–are versatile and adaptable, and reinjected into a multi-facetted daily life. This way, Maison Michel perpetuates what hats have always achieved: to be a frame as well as a celebration of all faces.
Priscilla Royer leaves Paris for London to complete her course at Studio Berçot in the “experimental fashion design” department of Central Saint Martins. She collaborates with several local young designers and soon joins the studio of Vivienne Westwood. The house’s namesake founder and Andreas Kronthaler have her take over the direction of the Red Label.
Priscilla reunites with her sister Deborah Royer in Paris to start their own label, Pièce d’Anarchive. Specializing in high-end ready-to-wear, the house sets out to test the boundaries of the fashion industry in the 21st century, from design to distribution. The pair's concise, singular collections reference both the rule-breaking anarchy of Anglo-Saxon culture and the classicism of French artisanal savoir-faire. Paolo Roversi masterminds the house’s image from the outset.
Pièce d’Anarchive is named winner of the ANDAM First Collections Prize. Priscilla joins the academic staff of Studio Berçot. She is charged with guiding students in their approach to clothing design through to the elaboration of their identity as a designer.
The fifth and final collection: Pièce d'Anarchive stages its swan song presentation in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Raynaud, with as its backdrop the artist’s iconic work “La Maison”. The label brings the conversation to a close and shutters.
Not long after, Priscilla Royer is approached to become Maison Michel new Creative Director, starting with the house’s Fall-Winter 2015 collection. Across the collections she instills a reappraisal of headwear in a pragmatic and holistic way, from the hat through to the head. Maison Michel with its new aura sees a cast of strong characters – both male and female – enter the scene, sporting head accessories encapsulating the very things that make Priscilla tick: constant quest for innovations, alternative cultural and historical references, wearability, and freedom in attitudes, her obsession being to serve and promote pride in individuality.