Bubble Mood: When French Style Meets Asian Kimono
In a perfect harmony with this summer’s kimono trend, French brand Bubble Mood blends French chic with Japanese traditions to create unique boho-look kimono. Asia is visible in its characteristic cut and in that it’s 100 percent silk, while Paris comes through in the patterns.
Olivia Gurdijan, designer of Bubble Mood, draws them herself according to her current mood. Her kimonos perfectly reflect her life as a Parisian residing in China’s Shanghai. They are refreshingly different and feminine, coming in three models. You can wear them as jacket, long coat, or dress all year round.
As a huge Francophile and lover of Asian traditions, this sounded like music to my ears, so I was curious get to know Olivia better.
ET: Asian traditions with French style is my idea of beauty… What inspired you to combine them?
Olivia: I don’t think there was something in particular that inspired me to mix both influences. It was more the combination of eight years spent in Asia with my Parisian background and the desire to create a piece that was able to mix these two strong inspirations in a coherent way.
The kimono shape is definitely the main Asian element, although I have changed the traditional design. The prints and colors are inspired more from my French cultural background. I love the idea of twisting these two great inspirations to create something new.
ET: Why Bubble Mood?
Olivia: I love the word and the concept of a ‘bubble’. It relates to something light, ethereal but also bubbly, feminine, playful without being simplistic. Something that travels and that flutters.
It also evokes the champagne, the party in an elegant way, the cute way girls can be tipsy. Mood is something that is for me very related to women and fashion. [They both] are definitely moody (or maybe fashion is moody because women are… Anyway, I found that the association of these two words was very suggestive and meaningful and interesting for a fashion brand.
ET: Eight years is a long time. What have you favored about Asian culture?
Olivia: Hmm… A lot of things! I love the fact that this is a culture very far from mine, the Western culture. The codes and the references are totally different and that creates a natural desire to reinvent yourself. A rebirth in a certain way…
Besides this general feeling, I love the Asian gastronomy, the way they blend the flavors and dishes, the fact that the core element of the meal is to share the food with others. I also love the Asian silhouettes, which are very inspiring for me.
ET: How does your Asian home help you to create your pieces?
Olivia: First, I have access to the fabric, the market, the suppliers, etc. Also, there is a great energy here that gives you the feeling that everything is possible, unlike France where things are a bit more complicated and harder to achieve. [Here] it gives you the desire to create something with your hands.
ET: Why are Bubble Mood kimonos unique?
Olivia: The Bubble Mood kimonos are unique because each one has its own creative process. I don’t follow the same “recipe” for each kimono. Each one has its own history.
I can create them from a print, an idea, a theme. It’s the total opposite of mass production and it’s essential for me to keep this designer approach.
I’m not following the trends since for me they are one of the reasons why fashion is more and more standardized. I try to imagine and develop kimonos that can delight different kind of women. [Moreover], I’m not targeting a specific market. I want my customers to appreciate the Bubble Mood kimonos and integrate them in their outfits, styles and moods.
ET: So how do you like to wear them?
Olivia: The kimonos offer you a wide panel of outfits, styles, and looks. You have unlimited combinations: you can wear it as a casual jacket with denim pants and a tank top, you can wear it as a dress closed with a belt and high heels, you can wear it as a long jacket with a swimsuit…
The possibilities and combinations are limitless but still maintain the DNA of the kimono and brand. It’s definitely not a white jersey tank top that you can mix with all your clothes. The kimono has a strong identity and I want to keep it this way but it can [still] match different styles and ambiances.
It’s a very chic piece that gives allure to a silhouette, but it doesn’t mean that you can wear it only on occasion. It can represent a casual chic, a hippy chic, a party chic… It [is only limited by] what your mood is when you pick it up!
ET: What helps you to keep yourself in a creative mood?
Olivia: It’s not easy to keep a consistency in creation. It’s even quite contradictory with the concept itself of creation and there is no trick or recipe that guarantees you will be inspired.
[Nevertheless], inspiration is everywhere.
For me, fabric, material, and patterns are a great source of inspiration. I can totally create a piece from a fabric. I love the relation between ideas, influences, and inspirations as well as real and concrete things such as fabric. There is a magical connection that makes your ideas become real. It’s the genesis and the origin of the cloth and, for me, the more exciting step.
In a more general way, I do a lot of research and work with a lot of mood boards. It helps me to define my themes and to discover new things.
And when I start to go into the details of the piece and the confection, music helps me a lot.
ET: Where or how can Americans or Canadians buy your pieces?
Olivia: Americans and Canadians can order them online (we deliver worldwide). We are expanding the brand to Brazil, Turkey, and Israel for the next season, and I really hope that the US will be the next step of the Bubble Mood development.
Thank you, Olivia, for the interview. Be sure to have a look at bubble-mood.com.
All pictures by Bubble Mood.