Two worlds met at the Parisian Sprung Frères fashion house to redefine fur anew. These last four years there has been strong chemistry and converging views between Keem Thien Tran and Marie Robillot, the two responsible for the co-design of the SPRUNG Paris 1931 Collection and the identity re-branding of the house. Yet apart from the design, quality, know-how, artistic flair and the obvious talent, they bear testimony to a new era for the fashion house.
They designed two collections for AW 19-20: premium, very luxurious and understated chic with an incredible mixture of proportion and tailoring.
Keem & Marie, you come from different cultural backgrounds. Keem with Vietnamese roots, grew up in California; Marie was born in France. And you both live and work in Paris. How do you think different cultures shaped your aesthetics and inspired your vision?
Keem: I like more punk, more sporty and more masculine silhouettes, to look for new forms and volume.
Marie: I like elegant, clean, and feminine silhouettes. I am more focused on finding colors.
Our different cultures and horizons have made our personalities perfectly complementary. Plus we have been working together for four years now so we have a mutual understanding about modernity and history, interest in the know-how and development of new techniques and old tradition.
What sparked your interest in fashion and fur fashion?
Marie: Great interest in fashion since forever. I saw runway shows at a very early age and I was marked by the very innovative show of Chalayan, Issey Miyake, the line of Margiela…
Keem: I was intrigued by how you could transform a 2D pattern into 3D and fit perfectly onto a body. I was such a fan of Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto and Margiela in the 90s. Victor & Rolf couture shows never fail to amaze me with their garments’ construction.
We both stumbled upon working in the fur industry by chance. We are definitely fascinated by the materials, the textures, the tradition, the manufacture and the craftsmanship in the atelier. We value the high quality work and precision. There are so many things one could do with furs. Plus, it’s a very ancestral process.
What’s the challenge that keeps you going?
Our challenge is to continue making fur collections but forget that it is fur. We want to make modern and light fur & shearling coats that look like fabric coats and gear the looks of a traditional fur coats into something new and fun.
Designers’ “ethic” is gradually changing regarding the use of fur worldwide.
Do you think it is a transitory trend or a directed propaganda?
We think that it is a transitory trend; it’s about conscious consumption. Consumers are more aware today than before and, of course, we need to adapt and move forward toward a new solution.
What’s NEXT for fur fashion from your point of view?
For fur fashion to survive, we need to be really transparent on all sources of skin, more follow-up and, of course, trace everything from coloring dying to conscious farming. We must reassure and explain more to consumers to sustain the industry (as done by Saga Furs).
Sprung Frères 32 Paradis. What’s the concept behind collection?
32 Paradis is a designer line within the maison that is premium and luxury.
The aesthetic is much more minimal and clean. The volume is precise and well-studied. The finishing requires high technicality and know-how. The skins, originating from European farmings and of an uncompromising quality, give birth to items driven by a vision: to offer perennial garments with a very contemporary look, where the color is a praise to the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdoms. The coats are light and adapt to the modern life of a woman.
What’s the greatest fur piece of practical styling advice that you give to your customers?
Contrasting the styling with something more casual and sport such as oversized pants or sneakers instead of head to toe dressed up. Furs and shearlings are like second skin, as long as you feel good in your second skin, then there’s not much else that needs to be done.
Keem Thien Tran was born in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and grew up in Silicon Valley, California. She did two years at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, then two years at the Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion under the direction of Simon Ungless. She then received an exchange scholarship to Paris at Studio Berçot. She has been at SPRUNG FRÈRES since 2015.
Marie Robillot was born in France, graduated from the fashion school Atelier Chardon Savard, Paris. Self-taught, she decided to turn to textile design after a time spent in the Nelly Rodi style office. Marie freelanced for four years as a textile designer and created prints for the most prestigious houses (Hermes, Celine, Cacharel), where she perfected her taste for colors and materials. She joined SPRUNG FRÈRES fur house for which she collaborated for the house’s two lines: 32 Paradis and Collection Plume in 2013.