Natacha Ramsay-Levi returns to the fashion mainstream with the new At.Kollektive

“I couldn’t help it,” smiles Natacha Ramsay-Levi on the top floor of the Palais de Tokyo. “I had to design a dress.” For the women who have invaded her intellectual and offbeat Chloé collections, the news will be salutary. Said dress is a deceptively simple leather mini crossed with a T-shirt. But then! Untie the leather sweater and it’s just a tank top; reattach the leather parts and you have what for many would be the perfect dress for a long champagne soiree. (A late night spent between an evening for Ramsay-Levi in ​​the 1st arrondissement and another for GQ magazine in the 8th only confirms this.)

The occasion for Ramsay-Levi’s understated and indispensable return to fashion is the new At.Kollektive. Based in Denmark, the leather goods company launched with four long-time collaborators alongside the French designer; Bianca Saunders, Kostas Murkurdis and Isaac Reina. All four have built leather capsule collections that cover ready-to-wear, homewear and accessories. Created as a sub-brand of leather goods manufacturer Ecco Group, the business is fully vertically integrated – from tannery to retail – allowing the four designers ultimate control over their product and production. (And potentially save them from looming supply chain problems and pipeline inflation in 2022 and beyond.)

Leather and cotton mini dress by Natacha Ramsay-Levi. Photo: AT.Kollektive

Natacha Ramsay-Levi shoes made from a single piece of leather. Photo: AT.Kollektive

“I was approached in 2019 by a friend of mine,” says Murkurdis, who served as a spark plug for the collective idea. “Immediately, I said no. Then I went to visit the tannery and we had a meeting, and I was so impressed with their craftsmanship and production. I felt it was the right time because the company has so much more to say. They are able to do the whole process in-house, from idea to sale. For its capsule collection, Murkurdis opted for envelope clutches, tote bags and hybrid sandal-sneakers in subtle, rich shades of olive, black, tan and white. “It’s meant to age very well,” he says of his “industrial, simple” products.

Saunders, fresh from her ANDAM win and the menswear show, opted for cobalt-hued shoes and pullover leather anoraks for her collection. “Working on this project was a great way to introduce furniture and accessories, things that I can’t do in my own collection yet,” she says. “And I’ve already learned so much from the process.” Many Saunders bags, in tomato red and Yves Klein blue, feature a malleable metal frame so the wearer can transform the classic square shape into something more surreal.

Bianca Saunders’ leather blazer. Photo: AT.Kollektive

Shoes by Bianca Saunders. Photo: AT.Kollektive

For Reina, a former accessories designer at Hermès, the understated circular shapes and multipurpose objects were the draw. He has created a “pure” collection of circular clutches and accessories that can be wrapped together or worn individually. Complementing its accessories, a leather lamp inspired by Brancusi. Aesthetes, don’t panic: the cord is also sheathed in 100% leather.

Isaac Reina unisex sandal. Photo: AT.Kollektive

A bag composed by Isaac Reina. Photo: AT.Kollektive

It is this attention to every little detail that only a manufacturer can provide. In addition to minimizing waste and shipping, as Ecco owns all production, the company also uses low-impact packaging – no plastic tape at all. Instead, shipments are wrapped in felt and Velcro. “Everything is designed to be reusable,” explains Murkurdis, “from the packaging to the items themselves. Everything is made to last.

It is the durability of the product, but according to Ramsay-Levi, working in this way also allows for the durability of the spirit. “That’s the way I want to work now. I don’t offer a full collection of 400 pieces or 500 pieces every two months, which is fine too, but I did. Now I can focus and say, okay, that’s a proposal. That’s what I love right now.” Her bulbous sandals, produced from a single piece of leather, and her pretty stackable jewelry, all bear the mark of her hand: smart, quirky and sultry in greens. olive and luminous tangerine. “I found this project great, because it makes you very responsible for what you put on the market. And it will grow for the next edition, but for now this is what I And from the looks of the guests at the showroom and, later, at dinner, that’s also what they really like: stylish, well-made clothes for a weird, tough time.

Kostas Murkurdis’ hybrid sneakers-sandals. Photo: AT.Kollektive

Leather pouches by Kostas Murkurdis. Photo: AT.Kollektive

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