Photography by Lucas Chanoine for 13 Bonaparte
13 Bonaparte’s latest collection is all about the denim blues—but don’t forget the grays, whites, and blacks. The label is known to present an annual project called “Le Denim,” which consists of both a collection and an artistic collaboration. This year, David Sarfati, the brand’s creator and artistic director, tapped emerging young photographer Lucas Chanoine to capture the looks, which were modeled by a cast of Parisian students on location in the City of Love.
The line features overdyed denim styles in understated shades like dark gray, ivory, navy and sky blue, along with classic black, stone washes and indigo finishes. The designs were inspired by both the urban and natural elements of Paris while keeping with 13 Bonaparte’s contemporary take on skirts, signature false collars, and five-pocket pants.
Sarfati’s trademark aesthetic comes from his years working first as an assistant at a New York City-based branding and packaging design studio, and later at a Parisian department store. The skills he learned at these points in his career helped inform his vision for what 13 Bonaparte would become when it launched in 2011. Ahead, Sarfati shares with us his creative thinking behind the brand’s latest Le Denim line and the aspects of his life that influence his distinctive design perspective.
COURTESY 13 BONAPARTE
What inspired you to cast Parisian students as models for this campaign?
Since the beginning of the brand, street casting has always been a fundamental part of my aesthetic vision for 13 Bonaparte and as this photographic project was both about expressing the universality of denim and the reality of the Parisian landscape, it made sense to work with students in their natural urban environment.
What did Lucas Chanoine’s vision bring to this portrait series?
In this photographic series, Lucas uses his eye as a young Parisian photographer to capture other young Parisians. It definitely creates a natural intimacy between him and the subject.
Can you tell me about the design process behind this collection?
My approach for Le Denim is based on reinterpreting the universal nature of denim into wearable, functional and versatile pieces with signature design details of the brand’s wardrobe such as the false collar, visible stitching, and graphic pockets. With this new collection, we also started experimenting with colors, creating subtle shades through over-dyeing techniques.
How did you go about incorporating the urban and nature references inspired by Paris into the collection?
Quite simply by envisioning denim as the ultimate urban uniform and by creating a subtle color palette that reflects the shades of the architecture and natural elements in the city.
When creating this denim line, who did you envision wearing these pieces?
For people passionate about this fabric, particularly urban creative types who like to create their own personal uniform.
COURTESY 13 BONAPARTE
What role does denim play in your life?
Like many people, I wear denim often, if not every day.
What is your creative philosophy?
Like the Le Denim collection, it’s about creating pieces that defy seasonal boundaries. Producing designs that combine allure, function and comfort, and which are consistently evolving over time.
Where do you like to go in Paris to fuel your creativity?
I actually feel a big part of my creativity through exchanging with my customers at our Paris flagship in the Haut-Marais. And it’s not only about clothes, but also design, architecture, art, and photography.
Are there any aspects of your time living in New York that influence your design approach?
Definitely, the energy of the street and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city had a big impact on me. The people of New York, their creativity and freedom inspire me.
What’s next for 13 Bonaparte?
13 Bonaparte will be introducing the brand’s first collection of accessories in the coming months. Beyond that, plans for a full womenswear wardrobe are in process