World-renowned art dealer and gallery curator, Armelle opened her fashion boutique, Why Don’t You?!, within the 9:53 Art Mall in Thonglor last November. Also the owner of Galerie Adler at Siam Discovery and an up-and-coming fashion designer, Armelle is launching her line of Rosebud handbags in Le Bon Marché, the oldest department store in Paris.
Eccentric, bohemian and unusual, every item you find at Why Don’t You?! is one of a kind. Alongside her other signature handbags – Pigalle, Capri and Pampelone – the boutique also features a selection of handmade jewellery, fur clothing and soft cashmere by the designer Sam Rone.
I was inspired to open a women’s fashion boutique… when my friend helped me look after my daughter and as a token of thanks, I wanted to give her an original gift. I then made her a handbag and it attracted a lot of attention. And it all snowballed from there. Many women want something totally unique rather than chasing after brand names. The kind of bag you have says a lot about who you are, as well as your way of living. It is a statement about your own individuality; an expression of yourself.
I’m crazy… about materials such as crocodile and python skins. I am also in love with fabrics from all over the world, especially from Morocco, India and Thailand. Of course, art and fashion as well. I am passionate about philosophy and hidden meanings – or stories – behind different design. I designed a Tibetan bead ring, which has three lines imprinted on it; and it is about keep going and finding balance in your life. And the wicker Pampelone bag is reminiscent of St. Tropez and inspired by Brigitte Bardot.
The boutique name derives from… the fashion advice column of Vogue’s legendary editor in chief, Diana Vreeland. Diana is iconic and she once said that everyone has originality and that it was important to have taste – even if it’s bad. We all need to have our own style and express ourselves. How you dress and the handbag you choose, for instance, reflect your mood and you may also behave differently. When I use my Pigalle bag I move with the fringe and I feel sexy when I wear it. With my Capri design, I feel elegant and refined.
My handbags are unique because… customers can choose different types of fabrics and once that handbag is created, I will never use the same combination again. So whoever that has bought their very own Rosebud bag, or jewellery piece, knows that nobody else in this world will ever have the same one. We can even tattoo the bags with a signature or a saying to personalise it further. My cushions can be printed with your own photo or customised design. And I am collaborating with Sam Rone to add pearls, interesting linings, brocade work and furs to the customisation choices.
The concept philosophy is about… being who you are right now. Many people keep certain clothes or bags for a special occasion, but Why Don’t You?! is all about seeing fashion as an expression of yourself. It is a reflection of yourself and your values. Through your relationship with fashion, you can understand yourself and your needs better. It is about being in the ‘now’. It is a kind of mindful fashion, but of course, I am superficial too!
Why Don’t You?!, 9:53 Art Mall, Thonglor Soi 9, Bangkok, +92 270 1933