I first visited Paris in my early 20’s. I returned within a decade, married to Frenchman I met in my hometown USA.
We created a family and rebuilt a business. This is my (G)love Story.
The Rigaudy Perrin family glove making and tannery business dates back to 1893 where it originated in the small town of St Junien in France along the Vienne river. In traditional fashion, Michel’s older brother took the reins from their father while Michel, in his mid 20’s, set off for the US to work in hi-tech. We met the old fashioned way, in a bar. Married, with our first born daughter, we found ourselves off to Istanbul for a corporate expat adventure. We lived in an elegant wooden yali along the Bosphorus that was built in the 19th century and I fell hard for this mysterious and vibrant city. This is where I first began collecting textiles and antiques-many of which I still have in our Paris apartment today. I told Michel if I marry a Frenchman, I get to live in France. We settled on the Left Bank, and I’ve been a Rive Gauche gal ever since.
Many moons later with 2 daughters grown, Michel was ready to return to the family business-rather try to salvage it. The tanneries in France were slowly closing up. Upon looking back, I’d title this ten year chapter, ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’. Starting a business and building a brand is not for the faint of heart. I came on board as Creative Director and we launched our first shop in Los Angeles. Building from ground up we learned the retail ropes, how to manage production, staff. We soon opened in New York on Madison at the Carlyle Hotel, followed by Hong Kong, Tokyo-always on the Boardwalk locations of retail. I’ll spare you the details of folly and frustration, as my focus in now on the future. My favorite of our shops has always been on the rue d’Alger near the Jardin des Tuileries, and this is where it all comes full circle. Its 2022, post-retail armageddon and post-covid, and we still have our Paris crown jewel. Monsieur is ageing gracefully like a fine bottle of Bordeaux, a bit resigned, whereas I am back in the saddle all the wiser for the wear, and frankly relieved to have fewer chefs in the kitchen. I walk into this beautiful shop with a spring in my step and marvel at what we built. Sometimes it takes a serious pause to gain perspective. I’m no spring poulet, but I’m still standing (and still married!) For Michel, a happy wife is Sally with a well-edited life. I am incredibly proud of this collection of conceptual, conversation-piece accessories that we’ve created at PERRIN PARIS.
I had little design experience-just a strong aesthetic sensibility and an eye for the unique.
Fortunately, I’m a good student. I fully immersed myself in understanding the craft of maroquinerie (although I still have to spell check this word!)
Details are my driving force so it all came together through hard work - and learning from mistakes. The market was saturated with handbags, and I knew we needed a different angle. The glove making history of the Perrin family needed to be present as this is what set us apart, gave us authenticity. The first thing I did was create a series of clutches that could be worn on the hand instead of held in the hand. This model would soon become known as the iconic Glove Clutch that put PERRIN on the map.
Above are a few examples.
Back at the Paris boutique post-covid. We had to let go of a lot of our staff
so I’m currently wearing a lot of gloves! I find it quite liberating, a fresh start.
My plan is for PERRIN to become a unique destination in the City of Light. I’ve got some interesting plans in mind-follow my journey!