A stylish conversation with Romain Biette, Proprietor of Ardentes Clipei, Paris
Dear readers, around late last year I have written a blog about a Parisian tailoring house, Ardentes Clipei, not only they offer a contemporary tailoring clothing for those who enjoys a piece of refined clothing with some Parisian artisan flair, the atelier boutique also serves as a menswear paradise where you can also find a series of knitwear and accessories, which curated by its French owner, Mr. Romain Biette, who besides as a trained tailor himself but also as a menswear enthusiast. In the ever-changing world of menswear, or men’s fashion, sometimes it’s quite fascinating to have someone who is so devoted to their craft and passion, to let them talk about what’s actually in their mind about being part of the force in the menswear and tailoring field, and how’s their creative journey and so on. Today, I am pleased to invite this quintessential Parisian tailor and owner himself, to talk about something about menswear, craftsmanship and Parisian style etc., and here we go!
My Modern Darcy: Hi Romain, delighted to have you here with us today! So let’s start with your passion about menswear and tailoring, can you tell us what makes you to become who you are today - to be a tailor and running your own atelier boutique in Paris? Is that something you always dream of to be since you were young or else?
Romain Biette: I am very happy to be here too! That is something I dreamt for a long time, yes. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I love many things but tailoring was maybe my favorite passion!? So after a few years in law school, I quit to become an apprentice, and after two years I've just started my company!
MMD: Back in your days as a junior tailor (or mentee), what is the most memorable thing that you learn from your mentor? And what is the most valuable things that you have learnt about men’s tailoring which still relevant to your work today?
RB: I think the best thing I learned from him was he told me that to receive in life, you have to give first, that is actually a very simple but very important truth. I must say I gave a lot in the first few years before receiving any reward from my work.
MMD: In your opinion, what is the most quintessential element in a ‘Parisian tailoring’ clothing? And how did you integrate such element(s) into your tailoring clothing?
RB: When it's about tailoring, we are really in the middle of English and Italian tailoring. This makes a structured jacket but without any excess in the size of the lapels for example, it's a very tempered cut, maybe too tempered to my taste?
MMD: How did you define a piece of exquisite and well-made tailoring clothing?
RB: The choice of cloth is crucial; I love a very soft super 150's from Loro Piana for a summer suit, and a heavy flannel from Fox for winter! After that the suit should be structured, a sport jacket can be lighter if the customer wants it. The jacket should be long, with a low buttoning point. The trousers should be with a high waist and straight leg.
MMD: With a more casual (or even sportier) menswear era that we are in, what makes you still so passionate and devoted to classic menswear? And what makes you still see the necessity for its existence?
RB: I don't see classic menswear disappear for now, but clearly the huge majority of people are wearing tailoring only during a wedding. For business, despite some lawyers and people working in Finance, it's almost totally gone. For the rest, we're a small crowd of people, mostly young and passionate by this beautiful craft and I hope this community will continue to grow!
MMD: Throughout your career as a tailor and shop-owner, what are the challenge that you have encountered in the past? And how did you overcome them?
RB: I think the first challenge is to create a business who works with recurrent customers and new customers all the time. After that the biggest challenge is to control the expansion accordingly to maintain the same quality of service and product!
MMD: OK let’s talk about your personal style; can you tell us what is your favorite ensemble? Do you have any style icon (or even actor) that you look up to as a style reference?
RB: I think my favorite outfit is my bespoke pure silk white dinner jacket! I love the movie "The Sting", every suit is perfect! I love the style many actors of the 60's and 70's: Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Roger Moore, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Alain Delon, Jean Gabin, and many more. Cinema inspired me a lot when I was younger, I watched one movie per day for years (instead of working!).
MMD: If you have to pick 3 items from your atelier boutique that you really like, what are those?
RB: A pair of gloves made in collaboration with Lavabre Cadet, a pure cashmere scarf made in collaboration with Begg and Co, and a pocket square made in collaboration with Simonnot Godard
MMD: How do you define the term ‘style’? And what does it mean to you?
RB: ‘Style’ is deeply linked to the personality and the lifestyle; first of all, I think it’s a certain nonchalance, like if living in this crazy world was a piece of cake! After that, it's also the way you dress, the way you match pieces, patterns and colors together; sadly it’s something natural and impossible to learn.
MMD: For this upcoming summer, what is your recommendation in menswear? Or what kind of fabrics, colors or pattern will be great for the new season?
RB: I recommend to all to try linen, it's so comfortable to wear, and with the correct cut, meaning by that not fitted, the creases are not too obvious. I love the linens made by Maison Hellard, with linen from Normandy! Their sauge green is my next project!
MMD: Apart from being well-dressed, what are the qualities that a modern gentleman should have?
RB: This gentleman should take things not too seriously, and enjoy the time he has on Earth to enjoy life with his special one, his family and friends. And giving, that's the key!
MMD: If one day someone comes to you and ask you how to become a great tailor (or even a menswear shop-keeper), what is your advice for him/her?
RB: Stand fast and carry on, that is a long road to get to this point! Dedication, passion and hard work, there is no secret recipe in this field, like anywhere else I believe.
Special thanks to Mr. Romain Biette
Image courtesy of Ardentes Clipei, Paris