At the beginning of our interview, around a table strewn with drawings from ddoo collective’s new collection, Maxim and I discovered that we have many things in common and share one consuming passion for oeufs en gelée.
Well, it is not exactly food to compete with “Lunch with the FT”, but when in Paris... do what the French do!
Close your eyes, Maxim: where are you?
On the white sands of Assinie Beach, in The Ivory Coast, watching the green Laguna and the blue sea melting at this one particular spot... I’m listening to an early Kate Bush song « Kasha from Bagdad".
Is that where you grew up?
Yes, I grew up in Africa. As I have always been interested in fashion, at the age of eighteen I went to Paris to study pattern-making and then fashion design at Studio Berçot. Given my background and my frequent trips to India and China for work, I developed an enthusiasm for traditional old prints. With ddoo, I finally have the opportunity to reinvent them into patterns that, ideally, retain the allure of the exotic but are modern and easy to wear.
ddoo collective is a label created by five friends with different profiles and experiences who share the same vision of a thoughtful, essential lifestyle, timeless elegance and deep respect for craftsmanship. They invented deceptively simple clothes, inspired by traditional garments but adapted to a present day lifestyle.
Meeting Maxim Guy, who is with Catherine Marnata one of two designers behind ddoo-collective, my mission was to discover where his inventiveness came from.Tell me more about yourself: your earliest memories, linked to colours, shapes and light.
My grandmother came from La Réunion and she had long dark hair that she never tied up: her flowing hair is my first memory. My mother, who loved to drive in the night, my elder sister and I behind her in our Renault 5 on the highway to the Dordogne The women and men in the streets of Abidjan, parading in earthy and acid greens, blues and ochre colours. The house on the lagoon in Dabou: before the rain, the sky would change colour and so would the sea and even the wind.
And now you work in Paris! Describe to me your typical working day.
At my desk at 9.30 am ... in my pyjamas! I draw working on the floor of my living room, then adjust my designs on Photoshop or Illustrator, trial after trial, test print after test print, for hours, all results landing on the floor. While I work, I like to listen to my Spotify playlist (a mix of old and cheesy songs, opera, jazz, reggae and Mariah Carey) until I am satisfied with the results. I don’t speak, but sometimes I sing! But my ideal day would be waking up late at the beach... fruit brunch and absolute laziness, playing cards with my friends on the sand with a few dips in the sea when it gets too hot. Fish for dinner and party all night long, but then it is already another day.
So, your work uniform is...
Basically pyjamas, except for ddoo collective team meetings!
But how would you like to dress?
I love to play with colours. In Africa, we don’t have any notion of seasonal clothes so I can mix pretty much anything at anytime and anywhere. The secret is in the balance between proportions, colours and layers. Only one rule – maybe silly but mine anyway: I try not to wear two items from the same brand in one look.