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Style Conversations: Molli

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PHENOMENAL FASHION

Style Conversations: Molli

We should all have a Molli in our closet. You know, that type of timeless piece that is both incredibly soft on the skin AND elegant, that you can wear with absolutely everything – that’s the DNA of Molli, the historical knitwear brand from Switzerland headed by pretty Parisian Charlotte de Fayet, who has transformed it into the new brand we’re dying to wrap ourselves in. Formerly specializing in babywear – its super soft pure cotton is perfect for newborns – Molli now caters for older fashion lovers, with surprisingly feminine winter AND summer collections. We chat to Charlotte about softness, emotion, and a Molli sweater’s best ally (spoiler: a dash of red lipstick!)

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How did you first come in contact with Molli?

I discovered Molli at the birth of my little boy, three years ago. I completely fell for its pretty knitwear. It’s a brand that I like, a brand made of textures and feelings. It’s about more than just style, the history of the brand is what matters most. Molli conjures up a whole cosy universe around knitwear; Molli knits beg to be touched, they’re appetizing! All you want is to wrap yourself in one. And for babies, it’s exceptionally soft.

How did you prepare for taking over the brand, seeing as you haven’t followed a traditional route into fashion?

I’m an avid reader of fashion magazines, I’m really curious about everything. Even if I don’t have a formal fashion design training [before Molli, Charlotte worked in marketing], I have good knowledge of the fashion world from the client’s side. I took a business creation leave and studied at the IFM, where I read a whole lot of books on knitwear. I contacted a historian who specializes in Molli’s history, we went all the way to Basel, in Switzerland, to read about the brand’s 50th anniversary. I’m also blessed with a great team. We started by working on moodboards of Molli’s identity, and worked with a knitwear designer who taught me all the technical aspects. The material is knitted indefinitely, so you have to imagine the silhouette beforehand when you start creating a garment.

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On the right, the first ever Molli advertisement (photos via Instagram @molli_1886)

Tell us about the history of the brand.

The name Molli comes from the ancient German term mollig, which means soft, pleasant, cosy. It’s a Swiss brand, founded in 1886. At that time, cotton knitted clothes were mainly worn as underwear, against naked skin. Molli brought knitwear out into the open: it’s the first brand to make knitted cardigans, skirts… Molli is a niche brand that creates beautiful basics, made with extreme expertise. I’m especially thinking of the seamless tops, that come out ready made of the machines! A lot of people think that knits are difficult to look after. It’s true that they need to be washed by hand, or by using the wool cycle on the washing machine. But it’s a magical material, you can roll it up in a ball in a suitcase and it stays perfect!

Who does Molli cater to?

Molli is for women who have a closet full of fashion pieces, which they mix with beautiful basics that they use to build up their looks. Timelessness starts with items that you can immediately recognise, and there is a certain pride in saying “I have a Molli.” I think it’s a brand that has truly become part of people’s lives, there is a real emotional bond to the brand. Because of the scary competition there is between fashion brands, we’ve chosen to focus on timeless pieces. We then work on volumes and details. It’s not really about creating a certain look, but more about mixing chic with comfort, with the product as key. Women from 35 to 65 years old have given Molli pieces a great reception, they were seduced by all the little details we added – frills, little scallops, lots of feminine codes. With Molli, we want to be there for women on a day-to-day basis.

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What are your inspirations?

For our winter collection, we were inspired by alpine chic. When defining the identity of the brand, the word “wellbeing” kept coming back, conjuring up that moment after skiing when you finally relax. We’re not referencing winter sports per se, but we’re more interested in the lifestyle around it, being chic in the sun. For the summer collection (pictured in the article), we looked towards Jacques Henri Lartigue and his shots filled with happiness, and we imagined a woman lounging under the pines, by the sea… You’ll look elegant wearing a Molli knit – but you’ll also be super cosy! We like Romy Schneider, Charlotte Rampling, Françoise Hardy… Women who are naturally elegant, not show-off in the slightest. Molli is inspired by women who want to be naturally beautiful, who don’t need much to look good. A Molli and a dash of lipstick, and that’s it!