One of my favorite “Meet the Designer” interviews from Playtime Paris was with Vanessa Marrapodi from Bleu Comme Gris Paris. I’ve written about her collections in the past, but this is the first time I had the chance to meet Vanessa and hear her story on how she began her journey in the kids fashion industry.
Vanessa’s journey began when she was looking for a navy and white school uniform for her daughter. 6 years later Vanessa is the owner and artistic designer behind two brands: BCG School – the largest school uniform company in France, and Bleu Comme Gris Paris – a major designer children’s brand for babies, girls and boys with over 400 styles that is sold worldwide throughout Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, Korea, Japan and more.
Bleu Comme Gris has their own flagship stores in Paris and Lyon. They are opening a new store in Brussels, Belgium and are looking to open a new store in London. That’s quite an accomplishment in 6 years! Watch the Bleu Comme Gris story on DFTV to learn more…
Meet Vanessa Marrpodi – Designer of Bleu Comme Gris Paris
“We started 6 years ago with our first brand – BCG School. This is a school uniform brand. In fact we began this brand because my daughter goes to a Catholic school in Paris. The school asked to wear a color code of navy blue and white. In France it’s just impossible to find this, because most schools don’t ask to wear a uniform. So I started with only a few models. I sold them at a school party at the end of the year. And it was a complete success.
Three months later when the school began I had 300 families in my living room who asked me to sell them clothes in navy blue and white. So each season it has grown, and actually we are working with around 50 schools in Paris and around the same number throughout France.
Then my customers asked me to make clothes for the weekend. This is how we started Bleu Comme Gris. In the beginning we made a few models, and now we have a complete line of 400 styles.
Each season we try to mix some smart party pieces and pieces for every day to go to school. For example this season we made this set with a sweater and a skirt, that is very popular in America. We have this party dress that is also very popular. And for every day we offer some pieces like this Liberty top and pants. We also have this original Rabbit fur vest, and this one is reversible so you can also use it with the jersey outside.
You will find very fresh colors for the Winter collection. We design in color groups so pieces can be easily matched. In each color you can find sweaters, t-shirts, pants and also shirts. The prints are our design so you can’t find them anywhere else except for our brand.
You can see how we are working with colors and the mix of our fabrics. Here is knit and this is picquet cotton.
So the boys and girls collections start at 3 months and go up to 16 years except for very dressy outfits that start at 2 years. All the special collection for babies begins with 3 months until 2 years. So in this collection we’re working with all of the prints, and we are also working with cashmere. For the baby collection we also offer special gift boxes with our Bleu Comme Gris branding.
The very best sales of the season are the coats for both boys and girls. There is a complete fur lining including in the hood. What is very interesting is that there is the fur lining that can be removed, so it’s really two coats in one.”
A special thanks to Vanessa for the video interview at Playtime Paris. You can shop the Bleu Comme Gris Spring Summer 2014 collection at their online store. Or see the collection in person at the two Bleu Comme Gris Boutiques in Paris (60, rue Pergolèse or 99, rue du Bac) / Lyon / or contact them to find a retailer near you.