The Creative Director Transforming Spaces for Fashion Brands

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Local MadameCourtesy Clarisse Demory

Clarisse Demory counts the likes of Christophe Lemaire and Sophie Buhai as clients, transforming objects from local hardware stores into covetable homewares

Creative director Clarisse Demory grew up in an agricultural town in the north of France. Today, she lives in Paris where she works with a growing client list as refined as her Instagram feed, with the likes of Lemaire, Sophie Buhai, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Barbara Casasola, CristaSeya, Paul Bert Serpette Antique Market and Villa Lena forming her impressive portfolio. In particular, it is her set design work for fashion brands that has engaged Demory’s in-the-know followers and brand partnerships. Combining fashion, art and interiors, Demory has crafted a unique aesthetic that is design-led yet humble, natural but unexpected. Her designs feel friendly and welcoming, bestowing objects with clever twists that change the entire mood of a space.

Demory learnt about authenticity in her childhood, spending time at her grandparents’ farm before and after school while her mother and father worked. There, she developed a taste for good food and the value of quality produce, and she was always searching for excitement in little things. Unconcerned with expense, she has an innate talent for finding something interesting, whether it’s at Ikea or the local hardware store: “if it’s great, it’s great,” she says. “I like some luxury things, but I have my own way of appreciating that doesn’t go by the label.” Intrigued to know more, we spoke with Demory about self-doubt and the power of collaboration. 

On collaboration…
“A key moment was when I met photographer Adrianna Glaviano – I had admired her work for some time. One day on Instagram, I saw she posted a picture of Paris, and I was like, ‘are you in Paris?’ She said yes, so we met. I was so happy to meet her as I was looking for a photographer who would see things the way I saw them. We worked together for two years and Adrianna really optimised my work, she has a very elegant style and we’ve become good friends. She recently moved to New York so I miss her a lot, but it’s good for us to change and collaborate with different people – it was a moment of my life that was really about teamwork.”

On process…
“It’s been a long journey from my childhood in the countryside to living in Paris. I’m going to be 42 this month, and ten years ago I had no idea what an art director was. I come from a place where people are truck drivers, secretaries, mechanics, nurses… But I knew I liked making things look nice, so I went to art school. When I couldn’t afford to finish my studies I started taking random jobs, and it was only when I opened a café-restaurant in Paris that I met people working in creative fields. Their appreciation of this place I had created encouraged me to continue. The internet became my infinite library, and basically it’s been my social ladder.”

On inspiration...
“Ana Kraš has been a great influence on me. I love her work. Her positive feedback six years ago inspired me a lot. At that time, I didn’t feel legitimate among other professionals of my age who already had a proper career. Like me, Ana was not brought up in those urban creative circles. We shared a similar upbringing where we were forced to discover beauty in things that were not obviously beautiful. She made me feel comfortable in trusting my intuitions, and the more I did, the better the feedback I received for my work. Ana helped me trust myself and be independent with my taste, although I’m not totally cured from that self-doubt.”

On detail…
“When I created the interiors for Villa Lena, I designed the beds so guests could put their suitcases underneath and could then enjoy the room without seeing an ugly suitcase. I wanted to open the space and make it clean, so the rug by the bed was made from 100% knitted cotton – it was super cheap and I found it in a hardware store. The idea was it could be washed each week, rather than a permanent carpet. I also looked at products the house cleaners were using, I insisted on a Marseille soap, a very specific Italian furniture wax and a little potpourri. That was enough to create a sense of atmosphere in those minimal and big spaces. It’s very subtle, but you feel there is some care.”

On home… 
“I store objects and props at home, such as dried flowers I keep for future projects, and I have a tendency to work from home so often there is a lot of stuff. But, as with my work, I like to create the atmosphere of a place. I make sure the lighting at night is interesting, I use many different little lights to avoid one general light. It’s also about scent, it should be very subtle and natural. Sensation is important, so the idea of the fabric on the bed feeling good gives a sense of quality at home. This is important to me.”