Show + Tell: Sézane Designer Morgane Sézalory

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Parisian Morgane Sézalory’s designs for her line, Sézane, reflect her personal style ethos. First, every piece must have a “this was made just for you” effect and second, a well-stocked wardrobe shouldn’t include a million versions of any one thing. Her determination to create “the perfect black dress, the bag for all seasons, things that are both practical and quality” has garnered her a cult following in France. Her now-iconic La Superbe sweatshirt sold out within days when it was first released (do a quick Google search and you’ll see it on style bloggers, French editors and the like). Partnering with her on a 14-piece capsule collection—including a reissue of that very sweatshirt—felt natural for us, and we quite honestly can’t wait for Madewell et Sézane to arrive on Tuesday, October 21st. We went to visit Morgane in her hometown to understand the feverish obsession her designs provoke and the woman behind them.

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Growing up in Paris, Morgane was filled with curiosity. “Old movies, the city—I found inspiration everywhere,” she says. “As the youngest child in my family, I felt a need to know everything about the world around me.” Funnily, or perhaps fittingly, her ultimate exploration came via the wide world of the Internet, where Morgane discovered the beginnings of her career. She began reworking vintage clothes she bought online, often sewing multiple pieces together and then selling them on eBay. Ten years later, she’s designing Sézane, her own line of laid-back, sometimes-sexy pieces that grew from her desire to make things that feel great and fit perfectly while also eschewing trends.

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“Everything I do is almost 100 percent instinct,” she says. “I always ask, ‘what do women want to wear? What other women have great style?’” The “other women” in question? Sophie Marceau, Jane Birkin in the ’70s and Emmanuelle Alt, to name a few, but Morgane’s influences aren’t always so straightforward. She’s just as inspired by orange juice (“freshly squeezed by my man, without me having to ask”), musician Sixto Rodriguez (“his music is full of history and emotion, and Sézane is a brand about feeling”), Rodin (“a study in delicate shape”) and the village vibe of Kinshasa (“my early years were spent there”). And that’s just the beginning. Long story short(er): Morgane is a citizen of the world with an artist’s eye.

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Morgane is as emotional about her work as she is about her closet, which is why she shops very slowly. In a pinch, she loves wearing a black dress, but her everyday go-to is jeans and a sweater. (“And heels,” she adds.) Having a uniform saves time on days that rarely go as planned, but she’d rather be busy. “I have to throw myself out there and expect that all of life is full of surprises.”

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Set your alarms: Madewell et Sézane® arrives exclusively at Madewell on Tuesday, October 21st.  Sign up to be notified as soon as the collection launches.

Photography by Angi Welsch.