The mother of six girls reveals the story behind her accessories label and collaboration with Natalia Vodianova
Carole Tessier’s home in Paris is a serene space. Light spills into the rooms from huge glass windows, bringing the pale herringbone floors and intricate moulding on the walls and high ceilings into sharp relief. Almost everything is white. White walls, white ceilings, white doors, even the sofa is white. The only colour that punctuates the space comes from oversized contemporary artworks. Carole studied her masters in interior design at Académie Charpentier in Paris and her husband, Remi Tessier, is one of the most sought after designers of luxury yachts and homes, so it’s not surprising that their house is a luxurious abode. However when you learn that the couple have six children, all girls, aged from eight to four months, you start to wonder how on earth they keep this white-washed space so, well, white. It’s all a matter of boundaries says Carole. And although I can’t imagine a toddler understanding that a pristine white sofa is off limits from little sticky, grubby fingers, she is so matter of fact that maybe even a contrary two-year-old would find it hard to disobey her calm reasoning.
Carole grew up close to Geneva, Switzerland, right by the lake, before moving to Paris at 19. She met her husband Remi, when she applied for a position at his design agency and says it was love at first sight. She never planned to have a big family but at 30-years-old she fell pregnant with twin girls, (Sienna-Rose and Lou-Victoria, 8) two years later her third daughter (Ambre-Camélia, 6) was born, and then came three more girls (Diane-Opale, 3, Kiara-May, 1 and Jade-Hermine, four months.) “I discovered the beauty of children, this incredible love. I fell in love with being a mother!” she says.
Carole isn’t a woman to do things by halves. Five years ago she decided to turn her love of embroidery and interest in fashion into a business by starting her own label, Preciously Paris. She began with denim, with a dedicated team of artisans customising client’s jeans by weaving them with semi-precious stones and glimmering metallic threads. “I wear a lot of blue denim and I love embroidery and traditional haute couture techniques – I wanted to mix the two together – the luxury and the casual,” she says. Preciously Paris proved popular with Vogue writing up the jeans as ‘wearable art’, but each pair was a one-off piece, some taking up to 300 hours of work, making it impossible to form a full collection. So Carole decided to move into accessories, launching a limited-edition bag line in 2014.
Each of her ornate bag designs takes around 15 to 30 hours to bring to life, with master embroiderers working in-house at an atelier in Paris with satin, silk, velvet and leather. “I see each bag as a little work of art,” she says. Every collection is numbered with inspiration drawn from her diverse interests – vintage currency notes collected on her travels served as motivation for one, a collaboration with graffiti artist Toxic, became the basis for another.
The latest collection is perhaps the most special yet. Carole has collaborated with Natalia Vodianova on an exclusive Naked Heart bag. Co-designed with the supermodel, the bag has been especially created to benefit the Naked Heart Foundation, the charity founded by Natalia. As a mother of six daughters, the Naked Heart Foundation’s work building modern play areas for children of all types of abilities resonated with Carole.
Each Naked Heart bag takes around 20 hours of work and only 200 have been produced. The bag is crafted from the label’s signature denim – material which has been flown in from Japan and hand-bleached in Paris until it reaches a particular steel grey colour. It is then hand embroidered and beaded and presented in a sleek numbered box. The design has already found fans in Carole’s young daughters. “They’re such little girls, asking ‘Mama can we have this bag?’,” she says.
With a young family and a full career, Carole admits that she has a lot of demands on her time. “I don’t sleep much!” she laughs. Although her busy life doesn’t seem to ruffle her cool composure – something she attributes to having six children, “With experience and more children, the more you begin to relax”. Which is maybe why she hasn’t entirely ruled out another baby. “It would not be a problem to have seven! I’m 40 next summer but I would not mind having another one. I love being pregnant. It’s so incredible to feel a baby to grow inside your body, then when the baby is born, it’s the most beautiful day of your life – and I have six of these most beautiful days in my life.”
Shop to show your support for the Naked Heart Foundation and pre-order the Preciously Paris X Naked Heart Foundation bag now.
Words by Amanda Woodward-Brown
Children’s clothing by Caramel Baby & Child
Photography by Alexandra Diez de Rivera