Make My Lemonade and Manucurist have joined forces to create two new colours: Lisa Lilas and Pink Paradise.
Gaëlle Lebrat-Personnaz, founder and CEO of Manucurist and Lisa Gachet, artistic director and founder of Make My Lemonade, chat about the collaboration and a few other subjects that are important to them.
The art of mix & match
Gaëlle | A sense of colour is so important to the Make My Lemonade concept. I love your prints and the way you mix & match them. And your designs look amazing on nails! Can you give us some tips?
Lisa | Yes, I have a few formulas that are easy to follow. For example, I find that red and pink go brilliantly together. And I often mix pink and green—that's one of my favourite combinations. Sometimes luck comes into play. The other day, I accidentally put a red sweater on over lilac and it looked wicked. So I added a green jacket on top! When you say it like that, it sounds a bit like the Joker from Batman, but it actually looked super cool!
Gaëlle | Do you find that wearing a particular colour affects your mood?
Lisa | Definitely! Right now, I'm having a bit of trouble with clothes because I'm 8 months pregnant, and I miss being able to mix bold colours. Usually, when I buy something new I lay it down on my bed and throw everything else around it to see what works. I'm also inspired by other people I see wearing colour pairings I love, and I'll take a photo of them from behind. I've got loads in my phone! And I think you should always start off with a strong colour and calm it down with more understated or plain colour.
Gaëlle | So there's a sliding scale when it comes to colour?
Lisa | The problem is that there's a fine line. I don't want to feel like I'm wearing fancy dress either—I still want to look chic.
Breaking free from trends
Gaëlle | Apart from the people you meet on the street, where else do you get your inspiration from?
Lisa | It's about what I like. What's great about Make My Lemonade is that we don't follow trends. We make the clothes we want to wear. When I say "we", I'm talking about the studio. For example, we said we didn't want to have too many colourful clothes this summer because we preferred to invest in elegant pieces that would last all year. That's really challenging because we have to find the brand's identity while also thinking about the long term. It's been very interesting working on this season's collection—trying to create timeless pieces that stood out but could be tweaked to be worn the rest of the year.
Gaëlle | Do you try not to make your collections too seasonal?
Lisa | Yes, we're mainly women in the studio, with a mix of ages and backgrounds, and it's funny to see how we often want the same things at the same time. There's a sense of community and we're a bit like a consumer panel on a small scale. We talk about what we want and need and that's where our ideas come from.
Gaëlle | We work in a similar way. We don't buy a book on colour trends or try to anticipate trends; we ask ourselves what we want. For example, last year we launched Indian Summer—a sort of orangey red—in the middle of summer. It was a big hit because no-one else had a colour like that at that time of year. You have to dare to be different and keep experimenting with and releasing clothes and colours you love. But there are some colours that are harder to create. For example, Lisa Lilas was tricky. Even when we managed to get exactly the colour we wanted, there was a lot of white pigment in it, which was difficult to stabilise. We don't have the same development constraints, but our common problem is making sure the colour stands the test of time.
Empowerment through colour
Gaëlle | We name our colours like you name your clothes. As part of this collab, you suggested Pink Paradise straightaway, which was an obvious choice for you. But I pushed for Lisa Lilas!
Lisa | Yes, I was thinking about something like Lilas Rhapsodie. I actually went through a long period of disliking purple. I think I was traumatised in the 90s, when I wore all-over purple to the point I overdosed on it! Then I rejected it entirely, declaring it a non-colour. But I rediscovered it the day I saw an Yves Saint Laurent show from the 1970s. His ultra-violet was simply magnificent and his tobacco/purple combination divine.
Gaëlle | You're right—Yves Saint Laurent was a designer who mixed his colours in a really avant-garde way. He was one of the first to pair colours that were previously a no-no, like navy blue with black and red with pink. It's liberating for us as women to be able to dress like we want, wear the colours we want and have some fun with them.
Lisa | The important thing is to own it. If you're confident, you can wear anything. You just need a good cut, a good attitude and a good mood.
Gaëlle | Exactly, that's what it comes down to. Even though social media has put pressure on beauty standards, I find we have more freedom to wear what we want than we did 15 years ago. Girls are more comfortable with who they are, despite the way some men look at them in the street.
Lisa | Yes, things have moved on but they're still a bit shaky. We really need to keep pushing the boundaries. There are still a lot of women who tell us they don't dare wear certain outfits to work for fear of being commented on.
Gaëlle | It's empowering to be able to choose your clothes and wear makeup or colour on your nails. It helps give you confidence in life. When you feel beautiful, you're ready to face the world. And that definitely empowers you.
Lisa | You're right. Just putting bold colour on your nails is liberating. Colour is freedom.
Because all women are beautiful
Gaëlle | If there's one thing you are naturally passionate about, it's inclusion. It's part of Make My Lemonade's DNA. How did it all start?
Lisa | In my family, the women were never happy with the way they looked, myself included. It wasn't easy being 20 in the 90s, when skinny was the height of fashion. When I decided to set up the Make My Lemonade brand, I wanted to show my teenage nieces that all women are beautiful. It was clear to me that I had to move the goalposts. I didn't want a size 20 woman to buy an item of clothing from my website that looked good on a size 8 model and then be disappointed with it. I want the cut to be the same for everyone, without having to adapt it. It's a really important principle that has guided us from the start.
Gaëlle | It's probably been copied since.
Lisa | Maybe, but I don't really mind. It's actually a good thing because it builds momentum. This movement doesn't just come from us—it needs to be global. I'm thrilled if we're inspiring others.
Reinventing yourself while staying true to your values—an ongoing challenge
Gaëlle | As an entrepreneur, you've already laid quite a few innovative foundations. What challenges lie ahead, apart from the birth of your baby?
Lisa | For a fashion brand to succeed it needs to keep reinventing itself, which is a challenge in its own right. And getting through 2020 was a huge deal! Right from the start, we've been committed to producing as locally as possible at the fairest price possible. With the price of raw materials shooting up last year, it's getting hard to keep charging a fair price and make a reasonable profit. We have to keep fighting to succeed and create fashion the way we want. So, my challenge is to be able to grow the company while keeping our values intact and reinventing ourselves.
Gaëlle | It's a great challenge, Lisa. Do you want to say a final word?
Lisa | I really enjoyed this collaboration. It was easy—we wanted the same thing!
Gaëlle | I also loved it. It was spontaneous and our brands gelled well together, like we did. It's important for women-led brands to support each other and share best practice and the everyday problems we encounter. In any case, we had a lot of fun!