"In progressive shapes that embody modernity, simplicity and style, our travel goods are made from innovative materials that feel personal and offer durability so you can keep them close and for a long time." Parisian label, Côte&Ciel, meaning coast and sky strives to create products that are as functional as they are stylish. Aiming for the nomadic and adventurous type, Côte&Ciel develops travel goods that balance modern fabrics with architectural shapes, to make bags, rucksacks and sleeves that complement your lifestyle and also protect your devices. We had the pleasure of speaking with Côte&Ciel Commercial Director, Monica Salmaso. Click below for the full interview and some imagery of their latest line of backpacks.
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1.Let's start with the basics, what is your name and what is your title at Côte&Ciel?
I'm Monica Salmaso and I'm the commercial director at Côte&Ciel
2. This SS14 season we have welcomed Côte&Ciel to our brand list and couldn't be more psyched about what it has to offer- can you talk about Côte&Ciel and what the brand strives to create?
We`re also extremely excited about it! Côte&Ciel means Coast and Sky and encapsulates the idea of freedom and the movement of people between urban and non-urban environments, with the concepts of practicality, progress and space. Côte&Ciel strives to disrupt normative ideas of bags and backpacks as static objects by introducing dynamic structures in the design.
3.Among Côte&Ciel stockists, we have noticed a healthy amount of independent retailers- can you speak on how the relationships with independent shops has helped the brand and it's overall perception in the market?
We feel it`s always extremely important to work closely with independent retailers. Small independent stores are indeed the ones who can best help transport the right message of a brand to the final consumer. Independent retailers are the ones who are the most passionate about products and details, who take time to tell the story and the concept behind a brand, who have a real relation with their customers and who choose every single object they carry in their portfolio to best match with their store concept and philosophy. Independent retailers are therefore the best cradle for a brand.
4. Being HUGE on ergonomics and everyday functionality, can you tell us how such elements have been incorporated these into the ISAR and Nile Rucksacks?
The laws of gravity and the proportions of the human body are integral for delivering any object from Côte&Ciel. Biomechanics informs all our construction principles, forms and frameworks to ensure every piece shapes to the wearers contours. Isar and Nile are the best example of this!
5. The shop favorite from our spring buy has to be the Nile Rucksack Obsidian. To our knowledge this is the only Nile model with the stowable hood feature. Is this something we should expect to see more of in the future? Same clean modern aesthetic with supremely functional add ons?
Yes, the Nile Obsidian is by far one of the favorites among the latest additions to our products portfolio. At Côte&Ciel we`re always striving to create shapes that unveil a new narrative in the structure and fabrication of our products. This is part of our DNA, of our heart and soul, so you can definitely expect new products with the same flavor in the future. What we`re also obsessed with is the attention to each detail and we always try to explore the potential of sophisticated materials and tactile fabrics.
6.What were some of the biggest challenges in creating the collection for Spring/Summer 2014?
We`re actually not working with collections, our products are continuative and we try to always keep our assortment fresh and interesting by continuously introducing new color-ways, fabrics or shapes in the market. We launch new products in the market every 4-6 weeks. This time we wanted to work on a new backpack and our target was to make it as strong, iconic, recognizable and disruptive as the Isar, which is our classic. It was definitely a huge challenge and I must admit that we`re rather happy with the outcome, or, to be frank with you, we`re really in love with the Nile!
7. Interestingly enough we have paid great attention to the color palettes used across SS14. Aplenty earth tones are present with some rich accents throughout - can you touch on the process of choosing these palettes and the importance of the application?
The creative process that gives birth to our products is a bit out of the ordinary: we don`t start with a design and we don`t analyse color trends. We rather research interesting materials and fabrics with which then our designer starts working and experimenting in order to find new shapes and designs. The colors are mostly inspired by nature and the natural world. Here`s a link to a video that might better explain in a visual way what I`m trying to express in words.
8. As far as other brands are concerned… we see Côte&Ciel is rather selective in terms of collaboration. With Comme des Garcons and Attachment being a part of that list - what do you look for in collaborative partners? What is of utmost importance when you do decide to get together and create something with another brand?
We love to liaise with brands that share our same philosophy and passion, who have the same desire for high quality products with an emphasis on design and great attention to detail. And we always keep in mind our users, the modern urban nomads, who appreciate brands that complement and facilitate their journeys and the exploration of the new.
9. Lastly, how would you like people outside of Côte&Ciel to view the brand? We would like people to perceive the brand as iconic, modern and with progressive architectural shapes. Côte&Ciel is a brand that complements and facilitates your urban nomadic journeys, that you can always have on you, that you can wear where ever your journey takes you.
Words: Tommy Boudreau & Andrew White Images: Tommy Boudreau Model: Rashad Nelson