3 Questions for Diane Ducasse
Founder of the DA/DA brand
Diane Ducasse, founder of the DA/DA brand, is known for her offbeat suits, beautiful fabrics, and playful brand universe. She recently completed a collection for Monoprix, and she brings us up to date on the partnership and its results.
We just discovered your collaboration with Monoprix. How did that connection happen?
I founded DA/DA in 2016 – I wanted the experience of making my own project succeed. I had worked in couture houses and then in interior design and in print media with Vincent Darré. Next I started as a freelancer and also taught at Studio Berçot. After having worked so much for others, I needed to create something personal and very quickly I decided to start my own label, DA/DA. The brand reflects my own tastes; it’s a wardrobe inspired by menswear, but that’s above all fun, colourful, and surprising with beautiful cuts and really wonderful fabrics. There are touches of Japanese inspiration, especially knotted details, and everything is made in Paris. At the same time, I continued to work with other designers, including Ines de la Fressange, who collaborated with Frédéric Périgot for Monoprix in 2018. I watched the first steps of their collection, and Frédéric thought it would be a good idea to introduce me to Monoprix’s Design Director. She knew about DA/DA, but she thought it was primarily a brand of classic suits and a bit too strict for Monoprix’s target market. The day we met, I wore DA/DA from head to toe with layers of very colourful prints. She had an “aha moment” and suggested we meet in six months. We got together again in April 2019, and in August 2019 I got the green light to start designing.
Did you have carte blanche?
Completely! I picked circuses in the 1920s as a theme; it was bold, joyful, very Dadaist, and had been on my mind for a long time. I interpreted it for women’s ready-to-wear, children’s goods, tableware, and home décor. The results include a pitcher that reminds you of a penguin and a stool striped like a circus diabolo. There’s also a striped suit, another with checks, and another in green velvet with a kimono jacket. There are sweatshirts with a masculine influence, T-shirts, and, above all, knits. I love knits, and this collaboration was an opportunity to completely immerse myself and give them a very DA/DA colour-block touch! I presented the Monoprix teams with an extensive collection and they made their choices. Next we thought a lot about the materials, which are critical for me. Of course, I had to make concessions to fit into Monoprix’s price range, but I’m delighted with the results, especially the organic cottons and the cashmere yarns we selected. For manufacturing, Monoprix had prototypes made with different suppliers that we chose together. During that phase I was always in their offices – I wanted everything to be perfect. I don’t think the Monoprix teams had ever had a designer spend so much time with them! I’m very proud of the results.
How does this kind of collaboration benefit a brand like DA/DA?
Above all, it provides visibility, and that’s enormous! We got a lot of media coverage and I’ve also noticed that boutiques are calling me or returning my calls with interesting proposals. The collaboration was also an opportunity to explore new areas like home décor and to show what I can contribute. I was able to focus on every aspect of design, and that felt great. When you manage a brand – meaning a business – you’re often consumed by topics other than designing. In this situation I could fully express the entire DA/DA universe and show it in images and video! The teams asked me to be photographed for the campaign. I hesitated but then I agreed, and I don’t regret it since the response is very enthusiastic. Consumers seem to like the products, the Monoprix teams adore the collection, I’m delighted!