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Q&A with Marie Lucas and Clémence du Tertre of Le Petit Lucas du Tertre

We’re thrilled to welcome Le Petit Lucas du Tertre to The Hambledon. To celebrate the arrival of this kids’ home accessories brand, we sat down (socially distanced by the English channel) and chatted to founders Marie Lucas and Clemence du Tertre about work, life, Paris and swearing.

Shop Le Petit Lucas du Tertre ►

Image of founders of Lucas du Tertre

Tell us a bit about Le Petit Lucas du Tertre. It’s well known in France, but less so here in the UK.

Le Petit Lucas du Tertre was founded in 2004 by Marie Lucas and Clémence du Tertre. It’s a garment and home linen brand specialising in hand printed fabrics. All the fabrics and products are hand made in India by men and women who became printers, weavers and tailors by family tradition, as a kind of heritage.

 

From the very beginning we have unexpectedly bridged the gap between two cultures and two countries, India and France. This meeting point between Indian tradition and French modernity is an endless source of inspiration for us. Our high-quality products and their contemporary designs are tinted with a joyful, unrestrained and ageless poetry.

Welcome to Bombay sur Seine.

Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre

You’re both lawyers by training. That’s quite a change of direction! What made you start Lucas du Tertre? And were you always interested in design and craft?

We met at Law school in our last (5th) year! We specialised in copyright law but we were different from other students, more interested in products and artistic work than in rules!

 

Clemence’s mother was the artistic director of a textile brand. She travelled a lot in India for her work. Clémence was 10 years old when she went there for the first time. Then she went back at the age of 22, following her mother to see how she worked, meeting her suppliers and she discovered India again. It was a such a joyful shock! She knew that she wanted to do this kind of work also.

 

Marie, from childhood, wanted to become a designer and start her own business, as her grandfather - a successful businessman – had previously done.

 

We decided to make one trip together to India. We were both passionate about the country and its extraordinary craftwork. When we came back from this trip, we decided to start our own brand!

 

When we are in India, we are always fascinated by the associations of colours, prints and fabrics. By these people who dare being themselves without worrying about “what will people say”. In Paris too, we love this woman in the metro wearing an all-purple outfit… This man singing his heart out with his headphones on… We adore this freedom you can find here and there.

India is for us a constant and inexhaustible source of inspiration and creation. India helps us escape from today’s diktats, from time and its shackles. India gives us the Freedom that we would have never dared dreaming of. Mixing incongruous colours, printing a modern design with an ancestral technique, having a different relationship with temporality when it comes to creating and producing unique fabrics. India is the country where everything is possible. So long live freedom!

Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre
Lookbook image from Lucas de Tertre

Your company prides itself on fair trade, sustainable and responsible practices. How do you ensure that these qualities are maintained?

Lots of people have only recently understood how fundamental sustainability and ethical conscience is. Our involvement is neither a way to impress nor a passing fad. It is the foundation of our project. When we started 15 years ago, India and craftsmanship were not well thought of. It was said that quality and consistency would not last. But for 15 years, Le Petit Lucas du Tertre has proudly been committed to promote “handmade” and traditional craft skills. Since 2004, we have only worked with responsible partners who support local crafts and provide decent living conditions and an access to education to their employees.

For 15 years, Le Petit Lucas du Tertre has been searching for ways to reduce its ecological footprint. Today, we’re working on a way to make it in France too… just wait a little bit more to know how. For 15 years and forever!”

 

Since the very beginning of this adventure, we have always travelled to India twice a year to meet suppliers, work with the tailors, the printers, the weavers etc...We have always worked together as a great team to improve and get this great quality. These travels are one of the best parts of our job !

A photo of one of the Indian factory workers
an image of fabric samples
an image of factory workers
an image of a factory worker

How do you plan and design a collection?

The first step in a collection is the choice of the theme. It has to be free, vibrant and different. May it be impossible matches, like when Alice (in Wonderland) meets Thomas Magnum or when Frida Kahlo meets Matisse. Or free & inspiring personalities like Josephine Baker or Alexandre David Néel. Then its mixed with a touch of India

 

Marie and Anne-Sophie (textile designer) choose colours and draw the prints accordingly. Anne Sophie paints the different parts of the print by hand. Then the repeat is fixed. Theres always a moment in the process when the whole team is called for a point of view, for a like or dont like, preference in colour range, etc. Once again, its a team work

 

Then Marie and Clemence go to India. They work on the prints with Hansa to finalise them.And they always mix and match these prints with hand woven fabrics from Traditional India. We are convinced that the exceptional mastery and know how of the printers and weavers make the whole beauty and soul of our collections and that nothing has more value than the strong and deep human links that we’ve forged through years. Again, it’s really a team work in between Paris and India.

 

 

 

Tell us a bit about the team you work with?

We have our team in Paris and the team in India.

Here is the team in Paris: Marie (Artistic Director), Clémence (Sales Director), Anne-Sophie (Textile Designer) and Roxanne (working on the eshop).

We also work with lots of freelancers: graphic designer, photographer, web marketers, developers, etc.

 

In India we work with Hansa and her niece Kavita (who is the same age as us) and all their team. Hansa and Kavita are the conductors of our teams in India. They distribute printing and tailoring between printers and tailors according to their speciality.

Each region has its own know-how and talented craftsmen, who have been selected by Hansa over many years.

 

 

Is there such a thing as a typical day at Lucas du Tertre and what does it look like?

 

We dont really have a typical day in Paris. It depends on our appointments; work of the moment; fairs; shoots; everyday work of the company! But our great luck is that we love going everyday to the office.

An image of the Paris and India team together
A lucas de tertre lookbook image

How much do your own children influence the things you make? Are you homes full of your own designs? And which other designers and makers do you particularly admire?

We both have 2 children each. Marie has a girl (14 years old) and a boy (6 years old). Clémence has 2 boys (7 and 12 years old).

 

Of course, our children influence our work. We often ask them their opinion about the new prints, which ones are their favourite, which ones they would like for themselves and why. Which colour range they prefer if we need to choose. They sometimes go with us on the shoots. Our job is part of their everyday life. All our bed linen at home (theirs and ours) is Le Petit Lucas du Tertre, their pyjamas, lots of garments. We all live with Le Petit Lucas du Tertre and our colourful prints.

 

The other designers that we love are :

Marie: Dries Van Noten

Clémence: Paul Smith

We love how they mix and match the prints, the colours, the finishing.

 

We’ve been spending an awful lot of time at home during lockdown watching TV and Call my Agent (Dix pour Cent) has been a huge hit here. Putain seems to be the most popular French swear word. Do you have some other suggestions if we’re feeling cross?

Clémence:

I must say that it’s also the one that I use the most! Maybe other ones that I use a lot are: “merde” and “fait chier”. Dix pour Cent was also a huge hit in France.

Marie:

No doubt it’s the one I use the most. In front of kids too, unfortunately.

A lucas de tertre lookbook image
A lucas de tertre lookbook image

And when this is all over and we’re travelling again, give us a few suggestions for some lovely
things to see and do in Paris.

Clémence:

I think that the thing that I miss the most in Paris right now are really all the cafés and restaurants. They are the soul of this town. Lots of Parisians, almost have coffee everyday in a café or have a nice lunch with friends or people they work with. It’s part of our everyday Parisian life! So when you come to Paris, spend time getting a good coffee and read your newspaper or your book on a nice terrace! Our office is near the “Place de la Bourse”. Marie and I, often take a coffee before starting our working day at the “Vaudeville”. It’s a typical French brasserie with a nice sunny terrace. We also love to have lunch in the “Palais Royal”. There is a great restaurant with an amazing terrace in the garden called the “Villalys”. I also miss all of the museums, cinemas and theatres.

For me a great weekend in Paris is having a nice morning coffee with a “tartine confiture” (toast), then have a walk and see a nice expo, have a great lunch somewhere, walk again, do shopping and at night going to the cinema or theatre and going for a dinner in the area around 11PM.

 

Marie :

Walk in the Palais Royal on the way to the office, stop there in summer and have a coffee next to the fountain. Take the metro and look at people there – some days they all look good, others they all look hungry. Have lunch with friends on roof tops or terraces. It was toooo long ago!

Why do you think Lucas du Tertre and The Hambledon are a good match?

We think that we are a good match because we love your universe, your selection of brands. It’s full of joy, colours, smiles and that’s all we like.

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