Marianne has been working with paper for as long as she can remember, being raised in a family of book collectors, flicking through 16th century editions from a very young age, she didn’t find paper as much as paper found her. As such, when she decided to pursue a career in the arts, it seemed like a fitting medium for her to use to express herself.
I am over the moon to share today’s post with you. It’s been in the works for a few months now and I just know you are going to love, love, love what you are about to read and see! One of my all-time favourite lingerie brand, Myla is taking part in Selfridges Enchanted Christmas and to celebrate this, they are taking over a window of the department store starting November 6th for two weeks! I am not sure I told you before, but I am slightly obsessed with Christmas windows, I’ve been watching them in awe every year without fail ever since I was a little girl in Paris. These days, I am working on passing this tradition onto Mini Robot.
Back to the matter at heart: the Myla windows – for the occasion, the oh-so-feminine British lingerie brand asked Parisian paper artist Marianne Guély to help create the Christmas dream they envisioned. I met Marianne last week in her Paris studio to chat about all things paper, Russian fairytales and femininity.
Inside Marianne’s office
On the day of our interview, I was early, so I was sipping a café crême in a little café near Marianne’s studio, idly looking at cars passing by, when a green Beetle caught my attention. At the wheel, a cool-looking woman applying lipstick. I thought “I love this woman” because her energy was so warm even from afar. It may sound silly but it informed the rest of my meeting with Marianne… Because the lady in question was in fact Marianne herself, arriving at our meeting. She opened the door to her studio and I was instantly captivated by her unique universe. I had seen photographs of the space before but nothing compares to standing in the middle of her magical paper world.
Marianne loves recreating flora and fauna in her work, so flowers are a recurring motif
Marianne’s studio is serene and light, all her collaborators seem so content too.
In the studio, there are thousands of different types of paper, all from different parts of the world, collected by Marianne throughout the years. They hail from Japan, Korea, Germany, different parts of France… She is singlehandedly saving the paper industry it seems, and that’s all for the better. All this paper helps her materialise her visions through an intricate process of paper folding, cutting and shaping.
As an artist, she is in high-demand: her work has been used by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Baccarat, Nina Ricci and now, of course Myla. For Myla, she is creating a whole fairytale of a world, centered around a Russian Christmas – a theme close to her heart as she was raised the Russian way by her mother, who used to teach Russian. As such, her influences take root in Russian art and for the Myla window, she was especially inspired by the paintings of Boris Kustodiev who depicts Winter in a very unusual way with pastel skies and technicolour crowds.
The paintings of Boris Kustodiev
Her Russian influences also made Marianne decide to make the Myla window as opulent as possible – it matches the lingerie perfectly, giving it a jewel case to live in and shine through. The mannequins in the windows are sporting Kakochnicks, those tiara-like hats worn by Russian women. The hats are heavily embellished and made from gold Japanese paper.
The Kakochnicks in the model of the window (top and below) and on a Kustodiev painting (above)
One of the paper Kakochnicks
Animals are also an integral part of Marianne’s world and so the window will feature a bear, a fox and of course the wonderfully whimsical swan-sleigh, a creation straight out of a dream.
When I visited the studio, the fox was being fitted with lights
The window is slowly coming together in the studio. Assembling all the elements takes a very long time
As I said earlier, this post has been a work in progress for a few months, I’ve been able to follow the creation of the Myla window from the start and I’ve observed how it transformed from an idea illustrated by Marie Guinement (one of Marianne’s collaborators) into a theatrical model and then into a real-life version of this fairytale. I have documented it all for you as this was such a fantastic opportunity for me, I couldn’t keep you out of the loop!
Original illustrations by Marie Guinement
The stars of this window, I like to call “jewels of the forest” are the most exquisite Myla pieces, handcrafted beautifully in silk and French lace. Our forest princesses will be wearing the Maisy set, Estefania long robe and Roxanne basque.
To celebrate their collaboration with Marianna Guély, Myla are also releasing a limited edition gift card, made especially by Marianne which will be available exclusively from Myla.com from November 10th, to allow people to easily give the gift of lingerie for Christmas. As you know, it can be difficult to buy lingerie for your loved ones, sizing and style are hard to pin down. This problem is now solved as you can get your hands on one of Myla’s 100 Limited Edition gift cards and give the women in your life a unique work of art as well as lingerie they will cherish for many years.
In case you need a little bit of inspiration, here are some of my personal favourites from Myla’s new collection: Estefania, the silk velvet beauty; Tullia, the ultra-feminine lace nightwear range and finally Eden, the romantic collection, with finely woven metallic threads.
Go and visit the Myla window and concession in Selfridges and start your Christmas shopping early (or perhaps buy something for yourself – I swear these sets have special powers!). You will find Myla’s enchanted Christmas window on Oxford Street, to the right of Selfridges entrance. You can’t miss it. And please, once you’ve been, let me know what you think!
This is a collaboration with Myla