MANOUSH, You Magnificent Minx, You Have My Heart Forever!
Let’s rewind to February… On our first full day in Paris, Nubby, Juliane & I just happened to be wandering along rue Vielle du Temple in Le Marais when a bright window display caught my eye. Nubby & Juliane kept walking, but I yelled, “WAIT!”
As they turned around, I looked up at the awning & saw it: M A N O U S H. A passage from an email written by my friend Amanda flashed in my head…
“There is a shop you will love (I dropped a small fortune in) called Manoush. Its Betsey-esq but more edgy with ethnic flairs. Just fabulous. Native to only Paris…”
We gawked in the windows before I squeaked, “Can we go in, please?!” Nubby & Juliane could see that resistance was futile, so they nodded & I practically bounced across the threshold.
“Bonjour madame!!!!!!!!”, I yelped, & ran to the closest rack. What ensued was several minutes of oohing, aahing, cooing & cawing. Manoush is like nothing I have EVER seen before.
It’s what Michael Jackson would be wearing if Neverland had a cavalry. Military jackets with multi-coloured pom-poms?! Oversized ruffles & mammoth petticoats?! Gold suitcases & neon pink everything?! It’s the home of all things frothy, frilly & frivolous.
The next day, on our hunt for Colette & Fauchon, we stumbled across another Manoush store! Clearly, my rainbow-sparkle-antennae are engaged at all times, even on the other side of the planet! It was so funny to Nubs & I that in Paris — where everyone wears black — I somehow managed to magically sniff out the perfect store for me.
After two nights of Manoush-infused dreams, on Wednesday I dragged Nubby back up rue Vielle du Temple for another go round. This time I was prepared.
Manoush: une petite fashion showWith photos taken on the sly by Miss Nubby Twiglet!
Manoush: a history
Manoush was started in 2003 by Frédérique Trou-Roy when an inspirational trip to Marrakesh sent her brain into hyper-overdrive. Frédérique was so overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, colours, textures & patterns that she started designing bags immediately. From sequin-encrusted wicker baskets to leather shopping bags with metal detailing & everything in between, she would sit at her table & draw up sketches. Then she’d take the designs to local souks where craftsmen would put them together. She took these bags back to Paris with her, where she eventually found a buyer.
The name, Manoush, comes from the French word for gypsy. Of Manoush, Frédérique says, “When I was little, it was already my nickname. I must say I was just like a wild version of Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, with petticoats to my ankles, a sugar pink scarf tied in my hair, my arms covered with bracelets & other multi-coloured charms: the shinier it was, the happier I felt.” This is clearly something she has held onto! Manoush is the kind of store you dreamed of as a child.
“I also like the look of the doll, but doll on vacation, not too chic. In fact, I like looks that are inspired by childhood but also all that glitters.” — Frédérique Trou-Roy
Her designs are always bright & bold, clearly influenced by her international playgirl lifestyle! She says that every trip inspires something new for her collection, like for example, her lingerie mini-dresses which were dreamed up in Brazil.
But even though her clothes are covered in sequins & celebrate a flirtier, more feminine way of life, they also come with a social conscience.
The majority of Manoush’s clothing & accessories are sewn by women from the Moroccan Jalil workshops. It’s a fair trade arrangement — her employment of these women allows them to work from home, so that they are able to earn a living while looking after their families at the same time. Additionally, every season some of the profits go towards the Helga Heidrich charity, committed to helping abandoned animals in Marrakesh.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Although she concedes that price is important to customers, Trou-Roy often finds the most special pieces, like a birthday cake dress this season, are the best sellers. (Source)
P.S. I love this interview.