French Fashion: Century-Old Prints Meet Trendy Styles at Maison Martin Morel

A man and a woman sitting on the grass

This week, Paris breathes, walks, and laughs to the sounds of Haute Couture Fashion Week. While the focus is on elaborate pieces that are worn once in a lifetime, a young generation of French designers is turning the intricate into everyday style. French Morning caught up with one of them: Lyon-bred and Paris-based Emmanuel Foyatier, whose year-old label Maison Martin Morel brings antique family prints back onto the French fashion scene.

Walking into Foyatier’s studio in the southern part of Paris is like stepping into a perfectly curated exhibit of art deco-inspired prints from the 1920s…mixed with just the right amount of spunk and brazenness, true to his personality. Read on to discover his inspiration (and a few travel tips he kindly offered about his native Lyon).

FM: How did you decide to start Maison Martin Morel?

EF: It all started in the US, in New York, when I was living there two years ago. My roommate at the time was working for a company specialized in vintage prints for designers. I knew my family had a textile printing company in Lyon back in the day and that we had some vintage fabric left over. I went back to the abandoned factory to check out what was there. What I discovered was a remarkable century-old print collection. It was so beautiful: prints from 1896 to 1980, florals, geometric prints, a time travel across 20th century fashion trends… it was like finding a treasure. It became obvious for me that it couldn’t just lie there. The prints needed to come back to life: Maison Martin Morel was born!

Tell us more about the creative process behind Maison Martin Morel.

My family print archives are the foundation of Maison Martin Morel. All our pieces include vintage prints, some from 1900, and others from the sixties. Even though we have a taste of the past with our prints, the brand and collection are very much for modern, active women. Maison Martin Morel is for a woman that is in line with her time. I often use the expression « Passé contemporain » – Contemporary past – to define our spirit.

What truly sets Maison Martin Morel apart?

To me, it’s this mix between modern and old creating a very fresh and fun, yet elegant, style.

What is your strongest inspiration for the brand?

For the print, it’s 100% from my family archives. For the style, it’s my sisters, my friends, and the beautiful girls of Paris…

Tell us about your upcoming collection.

It looks good! We are using graphic prints, mostly from the sixties, that we mix with a touch of ultra-feminine sportswear shapes. The idea is to really celebrate summer.

What makes you proud?

My clients! I love when they come back telling me how many compliments they got wearing something from the collection. Maison Martin Morel manages to please a wide range of customers, from the Oscar-winning actress to women in their eighties, and I’m really very proud of that.

What are the next steps for Maison Martin Morel?

We’re toying with the idea of launching a menswear line as well as home products. I want to put prints everywhere and on everything! I’m also looking for the right distributors to expand the brand’s presence in the US.

You grew up in Lyon and now live in Paris. How would you compare the two cities?

Of course as a capital, Paris is very dynamic and has more diversity in terms of cultural and nightlife. The quality of life in Lyon, though, is incomparable. It is smaller so you can walk everywhere, the food is excellent, it is close to the mountains and the South of France. It’s ideal for weekend getaways. I really like the electronic music scene there now.

Some of Emmanuel’s favorite places in Lyon:

The new Musée des Confluences is a must-see: it is a really spectacular building set where the two rivers meet. (25 Rue René Leynaud, Lyon. +33(0)4 72 40 98 20. The Musée des Beaux-Arts, in an ancient convent, is my favorite. I especially like the Jacqueline Delubac collection. (20 Place des Terreaux, Lyon. +33(0)4 72 10 17 40.

For a spectacular gastronomic dinner, I send friends to La Mère Brazier. You can’t beat the warm madeleine they serve there… (12 Rue Royale, Lyon. +33(0)4 78 23 17 20.

Whenever I’m in town, I stop by As It Is for a little shopping with my sisters (3 rue des 4 Chapeaux, Lyon. +33(0)4 72 41 93 69.

A close up of a sign


Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Read more

Frenchly newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Frenchly Newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly stuff.