Maison Sirven is a young company but yet looks like as a famous tailoring house with a long-standing tradition. Elegance, discretion and excellence are provided by its two tailors, Aïdée and Florian, trained by the greatest professionals. In their studio, they put their love and their know-how at the service of dresses and everything breathes the beauty and the intimacy of the fabrics. And one comes here to find the luxury of a timeliness made-to-measure fashion, with an attentive listening that makes each customer a unique person, magnified by the most beautiful suit which will be realized each time as a four hands work of art.
A real childhood passion
Aïdée was born in a family of artists and already at a young age, she had the desire to move towards sewing. “My mother was a costume designer in Paris for the Théâtre de la Ville, and all my childhood, I went to movie theaters and sewing workshops.” The little girl is drawn to period costumes. “Every year, at my grandparents’ house, I watched the only French movie they had: “Gone with the wind” and it was a great love story from the age of 4.” Do the floating dress with green velvet curtains. She began to create clothes for her dolls with all kind of fabrics : skills, velvets and satins, with the pieces recovered in her mother’s workshops. “I used pins and created historical costumes.” In parallel, Aïdée was passionate about the 1930s and practiced taps at a high level. She was spotted at age 17 to join a dance troupe in New York but her parents were against it. “I lost that day the taste of studies, with a school path all traced.” She then passes her BEP of tailoring that was presented as more rigorous and technical than other formations. She learned very quickly “this fascinating profession that is exercised as it was 150 years ago, with all the instruments of the time.” She got her CAP in one year with the AFT, the school of tailors, and was quickly noted for the quality of her courses. She will be the first to land a job and at the age of 20, she will get in the prestigious Lanvin fashion house. “I worked in the beautiful neighborhoods of the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, where there is still Madame Lanvin’s office, with her embroidery books.” A few years later, she will meet again Florian, whom she had seen the first time at the tailors’ school, and they will get together as a couple full of youth and future. She will integrate with him, Francesco Smalto’s ateliers from 2013 to 2015, before founding together the Maison Sirven.
The elegant who loved precision
The career of Florian Sirven is much less classic. Born in Morez, in the Jura mountains, his paternal family had a factory of eyewear since 1880. The emblem of his current company, the worker bee comes from there. Close to his maternal grandfather who was a Chef, he has got interested in cooking, but finally, at 15, he will start to learn the microtechniques in the Doubs region. “I was looking for my call so I followed these studies to learn the precision and finally I stayed there 5 years.” Florian was atypical on the school benches as he had the taste of noble materials and beautiful cuts and always dressed elegantly with luxury brands. “I have always loved fashion. My grandfather was from Saint-Cyr and I admired Napoleon’s clothes.” One day, in a fashion magazine, he will learn that a tailor’s school: AFT was going to be founded in Paris. He will join the waiting lists before the opening and will start in March 2005 at the age of 24. “The first time I threaded a needle, it was not a revelation but the passion came with practice.” He will do several internships and a year later, he will go to the Académie Internationale de la Coupe de Paris and will start his apprenticeship at Smalto, where he will be hired definitively as a cutter. There he will find Aïdée, for whom he fall in love at an evening of the elders of AFT, and they will never leave one the other again.
At Mr. Smalto’s
“A prestigious house and a must-attend school for all famous tailors!” Florian will train there for years to become first cutter and foreman, and Aïdée will practice as a saladeuse, that is to say the one who prepares the tailor’s pieces, a position she already held at Lanvin’s. This learning was crucial for their company because they developed their complementarity in sewing. Florian cuts the fabric of the costume and Aïdée prepares all that is needed to shape it: the linings inside the jacket, the flaxen collars, the buttons, the threads, the canvas, the horsehair and the fleece. Only the great workshops of the 1950s continued to perpetuate these ancestral gestures and techniques.
The Smalto boutique on rue Marbeuf will be elected as the most beautiful shop in the world, and its workshop one of the most efficient. All the tailors were known to be rigorous, very well organized and with an exceptional hand. “Mr. Smalto himself was very perfectionist. He entered a room and already saw all the clothes defects. And at the same time, he was constantly questioning himself. That taught us humility.” Florian and Aïdée have an unfailing admiration for this great gentleman, himself trained by the greatest tailor, Joseph Camps, because he had a unique sense of style and artistic genius. They will also learn how to optimize the pieces of fabric with a precision to the millimeter: “Francesco Smalto came in the workshop at least once a week, and it was him who made the fittings. He had learned to create excellence by paying attention to the raw material.” And they will be trained by long-time craftsmen, with 35 years of career, offering their young people the anecdotes of the craft and a living heritage. This rigor and attention to detail, as well as innovation, will remain a constant among the maison Sirven. “We always test new canvases and new ways of stitching setbacks, reinventing the jacket with the same ancestral know-how.”
The four hands tailoring
“It is Aïdée who pushed me” and together, they have decided at the end of 2015 to found the maison Sirven. They started their activity in March 2016 in an intimate workshop in the beautiful districts of Paris. There, everything is planned for the four hands tailoring. Florian intervenes upstream to do measurements and make the patronage and the cut. Aidee prepares the pieces and assembles the garment. Everything is sewn on the spot except the trousers, which are cut, patronized and prepared at the workshop, and it is breeches who then assembles them at home. Thus, they perpetuate a tradition of more than half a century that is still preserved only with authentic tailors. They also offer a complementarity that allows the reception of female clients, “because a woman dressed with a tailor is looked at differently. She makes herself the equal of the man, choosing to put the same outfit as theirs.”
The design of a garment always starts from a blank sheet with the welcoming. Listening to the customer, they put a technical look on its morphology, its way of being held, its lifestyle and its desires, collecting them with great care to create the ideal garment. “The one in trompe l’oeil that will magnify each person, to the point of being forgotten.” For the suit signed Sirven wants to be the newest, the lightest and the most aerial possible, “erasing all the work that has been done as if it had been laid and mounted in one piece!”
Great attention is also given to the fabrics “because it’s very important to have a beautiful fallen of a suit by proposing the adequate fabrics.” Florian and Aïdée use the most noble materials: wool, cashmere, vicuna, silk, but also camel and goat wool for reverses and even genuine horsehair. With a selection of very high quality suppliers such as Piacenza, the house of Italian draperies since 1733, or artisans from small islands in the north of Scotland. “As soon as the customer chooses his fabric, the garment belongs to him already” and the two tailors work together for the perfect line, until completing a work of art that will take more than 80 hours of work by hand . Not to mention the attention to detail and all the creativity adapted to all needs: the classic tuxedo of the 1950s, to modern jackets and diverted clothes “as this garment designed for a hunter by removing the collar as in a vest, or this denim jacket for the trip, with the contrast of stitching and a brown scarf.” Today, the two tailors continue to create unique pieces for customers all over the world and especially in Europe, Asia and in Africa.
A youth that preserves tradition. A classicism that allows modernity. And a know-how such as the result each time is a unique work of art, nourished by an emotional work of art. These are the ingredients of the maison Sirven. Then this complicity and beautiful love story that already tell us the story of the foundation of a big company that gives meaning to the clothes and restores elegance.
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on September 27, 2017, in Paris
Read also Authenticity according to Aïdée and Florian Sirven