Jerome Dreyfuss, handbag designer and husband to Isabel Marant, is in New York this week to, among other things, promote his first foray into men’s accessories. His bags have long been a sort of well-kept Francophile fashion-lover’s secret (of course, by secret we mean they’re subtle and logo-less, not at all undesired) and now he’s making something for the dudes in that category.
We caught up with the designer at his Soho boutique (next door to his wife’s, naturally) and he was so excited to chat about absolutely anything that we barely had time to introduce ourselves. He started at the beginning, frantically telling the tale of how his wife loses everything and so one day he said, “This is ridiculous! I am going to make you a bag.” Then, as luck would have it, they got stuck outside their country house at night and couldn’t see a thing—or find their keys, hence the mini-flashlight inside every Jerome Dreyfuss bag (he designed the flashlight, too).
“I just want to seduce girls!” he said, clarifying that he doesn’t mean it in a creepy way. “You know Serge Gainsbourg? I heard an interview with Serge when I was 14 and he said, ‘I feel ugly.’ But then he realized, ‘I can play the piano!’ For me, it is design,” he explained, hands flying. To seduce women, that’s why he went with a men’s name for the collection. “I was walking on the street and this woman came up to me to ask if she could try it, the bag, and it hit her right here,” he says, gesturing to his chest. “And I thought, ‘Oh! I want to be that bag,” he says, knees buckling in a faux swoon. “They said, ‘Oh Jerome, only you will laugh at this joke!” But he says now, when he introduces new styles women write to say things like, “I was happily married to Billy and now I’m having a love affair with Carlito!”
Needless to say, everyone gets him.