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Filles à Papa – A decade of cool, ‘outsider’ fashion

Carol and Sarah Piron, both in their thirties, are at the head of Filles à Papa (FAP), a fashion label with an international reach that, over a decade, has made a place for itself on the ultra-competitive market. It was the ideal opportunity for us to meet these Liege-based sisters in their workshop/showroom, located in this Walloon province known for its industrial culture.

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Text by Marie Honnay

TLmag: The studio of Filles à Papa is located in the Hauts-Sarts industrial zone outside Liege, where everything began. Tell us your history.

Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook

Carol Piron (CP): There really wasn’t a choice in the sense that Filles à Papa is an authentic brand. The ‘true’ stories we tell each season are intimately connected with our own. My sister and I grew up here, in an industrial environment. The influences, linked not only to our father’s profession but to the circle of artists and creatives we have interacted with in Liege (musicians, painters, graphic artists, etc.), as well, forged our identity. Filles à Papa is also pop-culture, fragments of our childhood in the 1980s. So, in our collection, you’ll find Tropico or Cara Pils prints, references to motocross and the brand’s initials, a wink that encapsulates our offbeat side, which can be translated on a second level.

Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook

TLmag: From the start, you have created a universe full of contrasts, in which these hybrid influences mix with other, very luxurious inspirations. I am thinking in particular of the choice of materials you use for your clothes.

C.P.: Yes: silk, leather but also denim, which we embellish with sequins or embroidery. Some pieces are handmade in a workshop in India, which is owned by Antwerp fashion designer Dries Van Noten.

Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook

TLmag: Are your collections as uncompromising as the image you have given the brand?

C.P.: Sarah and I have always worked by instinct, but everything is carefully reflected. Since the launch of Filles à Papa, we have expressed an outsider spirit, while keeping a certain natural style. As we have so many references, the challenge is to ensure a consistent theme, to strive for harmony in each collection. The images of our campaigns have strongly contributed to establishing this identity. Gregory Derkenne, the first photographer with whom we worked, helped us to create the image of a cool, nonchalant girl that perfectly fit our own history.

TLmag: This identity is further established with the launch of Tomboy, a collection that has become a separate label, but which complements your first line.

C.P.: Beyond its commercial success, Tomboy has shown the demanding nature of Filles à Papa. Many of the pieces we create are statements. Given the carefully considered character of our designs and our desire to take a subtle approach, rather than to create free buzz, our pieces generally speak for themselves. A photo of Marion Cotillard in Filles à Papa recently appeared in a French magazine with the caption “For those who’ve got it” (“Pour celles qui en ont”). For us, that’s the best definition of our work.

Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook

TLmag: How do you intend to celebrate this anniversary?

C.P.  We are going to launch a capsule revisiting our classics, as well as a series of pieces realised in collaborations with artists whose universe is close to ours. Beyond these launches, more than ever we want to establish Filles à Papa in a reality that suits us. In 10 years, we have succeeded in breaking into the international markets and building a team of eight people, young fans who follow us in the development of the label. Today, we want to continue the adventure by refining some of our choices, such as the number of pieces that we offer per collection. Our aim is to continue to grow while maintaining time for our personal lives. Sarah and I created Filles à Papa when we were 23 and reserving years old. The label has grown with us. It’s natural that it evolves, gradually, and especially in keeping with our wacky yet very controlled approach to design.

Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook
Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook
Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook
Filles a Papa SS20 Lookbook
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