As you know by now, we are fans of swimwear. Although we are selective, especially, when it comes to what we share with our readers.
When we were first introduced to Pain de Sucre, we instantly knew we had to learn more. The brand was founded in the French Riviera in 1985, and all of their styles are made in France and infused with haute couture elements, such as handcrafted crochet.
Our infatuation didn’t stop there. What then caught our attention was the brand’s technical focus. In fact, Pain de Sucre confirmed they have roughly 30 years of technical developments with a tailor-made focus where they have worked on perfecting and innovating shapes and cuts, including their multi-position swimwear that can be worn eight different ways.
With all of that said, onto our very special interview with the CEO of Pain de Sucre, Christian Keusseyan.
MalenDyer: The brand has strong roots to France that go beyond its founding in the South of France. For example, there is a hand-crafted element to the swimwear that can be considered a differentiating factor. From a design perspective, how has this element of being “hand-crafted’ influenced the brand’s designs?
Christian Keusseyan: In France, we pride ourselves with our savoir-faire and tradition of excellence. Those two are inherent to Pain de Sucre and embody the French essence of the brand, beyond its birth in Marseille, in the South of France. We strive for beauty and perfection for the sole satisfaction of a demanding clientele. Our collections honor craftsmanship, the essence of our company.
MD: Adding onto that question, can you share with us some details on the craftsmanship element of the OREA bikini, which in our understanding is quite special as it relates to this element?
CK: The OREA combines both luxury details and perfect fitting. To embed precious elements into a product which primary function is to go through swimming is always a bold challenge. Especially as the comfort should never be neglected. For OREA, we stylized our finishes with crocheted lace ruffles whose hand-woven and durable strings are gilded with fine gold.
Our creations have revolutionized the swimwear industry, bringing out a haute couture approach to designer swimwear. Buckles, buttons, zips, pins, all these accessories were strictly seen on fashion brands until we embedded them into the beach universe.
Our collections honor craftsmanship, the essence of our company.
MD: Another design element that we found to be intriguing was how some of the styles, such as the Alaka and Candice, are multi-functional. Can you explain why this versatility, if you will, is an important component for the brand?
CK: Yes, versatility is essential to our collections. Some of our pieces play with the multi-positioning of the straps, a ring game, the amplitude of a cup thanks to a loop or a slider; this sophistication allows the woman to customize one piece, which explains why it suits perfectly different body types. Moreover, the multi-positioning also enables each woman to enjoy many swimsuits in one. E.g. ALAKA indeed by the game of cups and straps can be worn in 8 different ways. MILES also, by the malice of a hidden ring, reinvents the traditional bandeau.
In the end, what makes the difference is the excellence of our work.
MD: From our understanding, the brand can spend years to get a fit just right, is there one design or style that stands out among them all?
CK: Absolutely, we sometimes wait three to four years before releasing a piece. We want the swimwear to be the most successfully achieved and refined. When a new shape is designed, sometimes we have to create its components. For instance, for our best-seller, FABIA, we had to imagine and manufacture a specific under-wiring. For other swimwear, we had to manufacture specific foams to adjust and provide with the perfect fitting. Design must also adapt depending on materials.
MD: How in your view has the swim industry changed since the founding of the brand in 1985?
CK: The world itself has changed overall. Everything sped up these past years. Social media, Internet, frequent sales – competition is globalized, large industrial groups have emerged, everyone wants to manufacture swimwear. We are enrolled in a rampant race to forecast, anticipate, pre-empt competitors. In the end, what makes the difference is the excellence of our work. Some of the top luxury French companies have gone through wars, crises, industrial revolutions tougher than those we are experiencing and they are still standing, stronger than ever. Why? Because they stayed faithful to excellence.
MD: For the upcoming collection, which will be the first launched in the U.S., what was the inspiration or draw for shooting the spring 2016 campaign in Brazil?
CK: The spots we elect for the photo shoots do not necessarily match a collection’s theme. We are inspired by books and travels and consider any beautiful landscapes or specific places that would be a pure invitation to voyage. From the dream of enchanted blue seas like in the Diego Suarez bay to the frenetic streets of New York city, when a beach or a light stands out, we decide to capture the beauty. We have always been priding ourselves with our stunning pictures and our catalogues display a curated selection of those. They highlight the prestige of our company while being soulful. We do not sell glossy paper. The glossy paper emphasizes the luxury swimwear we propose our customers. The place, the light, every detail counts, not mentioning the crucial choice of the model. Never falling into vulgarity, working with international agency models, those are the core keys for sublime campaigns.
We always have and always will focus on the product.
MD: Speaking of the brand’s US debut, what do you find most intriguing about coming into this market?
CK: The US market is competitive with numerous renowned Canadian and American brands. Meaning that expanding on the US market is a challenge. We bring our history, our French and Mediterranean inspirations and it’s important not to disappoint. Our main objective is to seduce the American women by offering our own influences. The challenge is real but thanks to great teams, professional work and good listening, the success will be at the rendezvous!
MD: The brand has worked with a range of models, from Elsa Hosk to Laetitia Casta, what was the draw to enlist Brazilian Thais Oliveira for the spring campaign?
CK: We are always looking for new beauties and try not to associate a model to our collections many seasons in a row, not to face constraints in terms of image. We always have and always will focus on the product. Communication, storytelling, etc. are essentials but should never substitute for the Pain de Sucre entity. The choice of Thais, as for each model, beyond her beauty, is what emanates from her eyes, her gestures, her postures. The grace and the fragility but also the powerful Latin force, the soul as reflected in our collections.
We do not sell glossy paper. The glossy paper emphasizes the luxury swimwear we propose to our customers.
MD: Outside of launching in the U.S., are there any other special plans in store to help celebrate the brand’s 30th birthday?
CK: The brand celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. There was no specific event, every day is an anniversary for us: the celebration of passion that has always been driving us and that we are sharing with our teams, our partners.
It’s now your turn. Find out why we have become obsessed with Pain de Sucre by shopping online at PaindeSucre.com.
Before we let you go, we’ll leave you with this…
“Every woman who joins our universe must feel unique and special. Buying a Pain de Sucre swimsuit is not an anodyne act: it means entering an exclusive but also accessible universe. Every woman should feel exclusive but certainly not excluded. We are pleased that each and every woman can find happiness by wearing Pain de Sucre, this is our most beautiful reward.” – Christian Keusseyan
Pain de Sucre proves swimwear is meant for more than just swimming.