Paris conjures up many images. The city of the poetic artisan, the birthplace of bohemia and a love of the aesthetic. A fair assumption can be made that this French capital is home to thousands of clothing shops with the broadest spectrum of the marketing mix. Literally, there is something for everyone to wear.
One label which is attracting somewhat of a cult following is Manoush, (which directly translates to ‘gypsy’ in French slang.) The whimsical, kitsch and kooky vision of designer Frederique Trou-Roy’s has armed the label with success and longevity long after the 2005 boho craze which swept all the fashion houses in Europe, and to a certain degree still resonates thanks to las belles Kate Moss and Sienna Miller.
Working in Paris but living in Morocco, Frederique blends the inspiration of her surroundings with her feminine French origins to come up with her covetable collections. To date, there are five brimming locations scattered around central Paris in the Marais, Sant Germain De Pres, Chatelet, Palais Royale and the Champs Elysses.
Founded in 2002, la Maison Manoush is a French feminine, free thinking type label . After returning from an engaging trip around all the markets in Marrakech, Frederique returned back to Paris with a working concept for a range of accessories. In later years, further field trips would see her travel to Spain, India, Africa, Middle East and Africa where she found her influences and stimuli. From this, the Manoush style was born; handcrafted feminine and bohemian inspired works of art you can wear.
The Manoush style is easily recognisable from the embroidery work, application of sequins and colourful prints (previously fusing their trademark primary colours with Aztec, Art-Deco and printed porcelain designs.) This gives an extra level of peculiarity to this brand which helps to make every piece unique and recognizable. Their accessories with beautiful sequins and embroidery are also a key selling point for the brand.
Frederique spoke in detail about her passions and what Manoush the brand meant to her as a designer, owner and customer;
“Manoush? I have it in my soul. Already as a child it was my nickname. I was already, at a young age, a bit of a wild princess and used to love wearing skirts down to my ankles, a pink-colored scarf around my neck, arms covered in bracelets and other multicolored jewelry, the shinier and gaudier, the happier I was. I felt so much more alive. This thirst for freedom was instilled in me by the travelers. They always fascinated me. Their inimitable way of celebrating life, of taking life by the arms and thinking that everything was possible, that each and every horizon was their own… how magical!”
´What is the brand’s identity? Poetic, bohemian, girly, some may even say kitsch, and they wouldn’t be wrong. I love things that shine, sing, glisten, and dance. Welcome to my world. Welcome to Manoush.´ – Frederique Trou-Roy
This detachment and audaciousness was what she tried to bring to her own fashion and design. A world without barriers and limits, where design and its process can be realised as a long journey which began several years ago in Morocco when she decided to stay in Marrakech, taking inspiration from every corner of the street.
“The colours, the aromas, the material, all of this enchanted, seduced and hypnotized me. I spent my days in souks where I would speak with each artisan and ordered the bags that I would draw. I would buy some Hands of Fatima at one stall, wicker baskets at another, and would piece my designs together with scissors, glue, needles. I came to Paris with some of my customized baskets and found a buyer and decided to continue. My head was brimming with ideas…this is where the idea for Manoush began.”
Staying faithful to her idea of freedom, Frederique left Morocco, keen to seek inspiration from oriental, Indian and African woman. From each one, she would find the lightness of a particular material, softness of a leather, a combination of two unlikely colours, the way of tying a skirt. These touches which, when pieced together, came to create the Manoush style as we know it.
The last decade has seen Manoush grow from a hazy mid-day vision walking though the sun drenched bustle of a downtown souk to a thriving established fashion label with an ever increasing following, and of more recently, an e-shop. With further field trips and product expansions planned, we can only imagine what Frederique has for the next decade as Manoush’s creativity looks to re-ignite the Parisienne´s sense of style and add yet another flare to this city of lights.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Manoush Paris