-I learnt crochet when I was a child. It was my mother who thought me and I have been doing it ever since- is one of the last things Odély Teboul tells me about herself before we say our goodbyes. And suddenly it all just makes sense; it’s the last piece of a puzzle I had been trying to solve for days.
What’s the strength of Augusting Teboul? What makes them so unique and special? Now I know the answer: it’s their extensive expertise, knowledge and passion for what they do, which started long before they formally studied fashion.
Odély Teboul is the French designer behind the label Augustin Teboul. We meet her at the Modefabriek during July 2013’s edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week. Her German co-founder and co-designer Annelie Augustin can’t make it. Something better to do? Well, kind of: she is in Germany, days away from delivering her baby.
Odély is in her stall which, appropriately shaped like a sky rising “fashion church”, stands out in the trade fair and becomes an unmissable landmark in the Modefabriek. This is the second time we meet her, the first was at the Dylan Hotel a week earlier for the presentation of her new collection which, after Berlin and Amsterdam, she will be presenting in Milan and Paris. A busy schedule!
How did Augustin Teboul start? Odély Teboul (France, 1985) and Annelie Augustin (Germany, 1983) met in Paris at ESMOD – École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. They both graduated with honours in 2006 and from there took separate ways: Annelie got a job for Adidas Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto in Tokyo, which saw her travelling through and forth between Germany and Japan, while Odély stayed in Paris to join Jean Paul Gaultier as Assistant Designer for Knitwear and Embroidery.
In 2009 they met in London, where Annelie was taking a master at Central Saint Martins. They decided to combine their visions to enter a competition and created “cadavre exquis”, a black and white collection in a series of drawings. They ended up winning and getting three awards: two in France (the Young Designers award and the Embroidery and Lace award, Dinard) and one in Germany (Halbtagsjob, Berlin). Encouraged by the success, Odély and Annelie decided to transform what was initially intended as a one-off project into a label: in 2010 they moved to Berlin and founded AUGUSTIN TEBOUL, brand at the edge of ready-to-wear and haute couture.
Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul are indeed a match made in heaven. The designers’ different backgrounds enable them to bring diametrically opposite contributions to the brand: Annelie, with her experience in sportswear has a clear, modern and architectural style and is drawn to subtle lines and minimal shapes. Odély’s experience in couture, her love for craftsmanship and lifelong experience with crochet put her in the perfect position to inject luxury and sophistication into the brand: from the choice of materials, to the creation of intricate handcrafted details and the application of embroidery with a nostalgic feel.
The partnership works perfectly well. As Odély says, everything is done together and each of them brings her own touch to the final aesthetic. The design process is like a “game of tennis” between her and Annelie, who compensate and balance each other, and take turns in improving an initial concept, equally contributing in shaping the final creations which still carry their individual distinctive signature. One of the trademarks of the label is the dramatic black palette. An aware choice, as working with one colour allows to concentrate on texture and feel, and details made in crochet, knit or broidery stand out.
In 2011 Augustin Teboul went from strength to strength, receiving the German “Start Your Fashion Business” award. Ever since then they started to be regularly in the press. This is good for sales, as they don’t have investors (yet) and finance their label with the monetary prizes they won with the awards, like the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize in Paris in 2012. However, for a young label like Augustin Teboul the financial benefits of an award are just as important as the publicity and getting exposure. “It’s not so much about the money, although that obviously helps, as about the recognition and support.”
Because of Augustin Teboul’s uniqueness it is quite difficult to describe their garments. They are a mix of Surrealism and Dadaism with Baroque details, mysterious and romantic, sometimes fragile and others rock-and-roll, but always feminine, luxurious, sophisticated and avant-garde. -Which woman wouldn’t want to look like that?- said Christiane Arp, editor in chief of Vogue Germany after seeing some of their creations. And indeed there is nothing not to love about it: flawless workmanship, refined work, impeccable tailoring and finest materials; lambskin from France, silks from Italy and lace from Austria.
Their S/S14 collection “Holy me” is their 6th since the label was founded. Inspired by Christianity and the contrasts between its minimalism and opulence, it is characterized at the same time by modesty and richness. Volumes are linear and austere, straight cuts are combined with refined decorations in knit, leather and handmade embroidery with Swarovski elements. They play with broidery, beading, lace, cobweb knits, games of transparencies, and elements in leather. They take care of the full look head to toe, including accessories: fascinators, gloves, clutch bags and leggings. The price range goes from 250 to 4.000 euros, their most expensive piece yet is a beautiful dress completely handmade in lace, with broidery and bids.
When I ask Odély how her life has changed since she embarked on the Augustin Teboul adventure she is very quick in her answer: she had to learn a new technical and commercial skill set to manage the business; stress levels are higher, there are more responsibilities now but with those came creative freedom, which enables them to change from season to season. On their first year Augustin Teboul’s collection counted 10 looks, this year 25 which include pieces that they started to do only at a later stage, like leggings and gloves. Everything 100% made in Germany.
Augustin Teboul doesn’t cater for a specific type of woman; the collection fulfils the needs of customers of all ages and personalities, be they in New York, London, Sydney or Tokyo. The best of luck to Odély Teboul and Annelie Augustin. We hope that Amsterdam Fashion Week was another successful step in building a universal luxury brand, and we look forward to seeing more of them and their incredible garments!
Source and Pictures: hoopdoopmagazine.com