I adore France. So much so that when a friend of mine sent me a birthday card with a girl wearing a beret, she wrote inside ‘Whenever I see anything France-related I think of you’.
Someone who shares my passion for France is Eve Damon, the German born designer and creator of online brand 082010.
She recalls her first memory of France when she was 16.
“I had a small suitcase and address in my pocket on Blvd Saint Germain,” explains Eve, “I travelled by train wearing a coat I made which I had draped from a soft vintage terrycloth fabric in the most amazing dark colours… it was very chic.”
“I looked out of the window in the narrow corridor pulling up into Gare du Nord and a young man said to me in passing with a shy smile: ‘You look very French!’”
Eve has always been inspired by French elegance. Her French grandmother Magdalene, was ‘the epiphany of elegance’. She says, “She was courted by artists in her younger days and very well read. She always had a whiff of mystery surrounding her.”
Eve set up 082010 while pregnant with her daughter Anna-Anais (now two). The company allows her to focus on design, vintage pieces and antiques.
In the past Eve has worked with Chanel, J.Mendel, Goyard, Hermès, Prada and Giorgio Armani. Her desire to create her own business stemmed from her wish to have something successful while still maintaining its creativity. As for the company name? Eve tells me, “I started 082010 in August 2010, hence my web site address 082010.com.”
What first caught my eye were her stunning tote bags.
Sure, you might read this and think ‘Who needs another tote bag?’ but once you’ve seen them you’ll definitely want to buy one. What makes her bags stand out is the tongue in cheek attitude.
With slogans such as ‘Femme Fatale, ‘J’ai deux amours, ‘It’s my dream to go to Paris’ and ‘Enfant Terrible’, it’s easy to see why her designs are so popular.
“Many of my customers are women with a sense of personal style that like a bit of fun, and of course a conversation piece,” Eve says, “My clientele is located worldwide, including Asia, Europe, South America and the US.”
Eve chooses each slogan based on words that move her, make her feel good and have a long lasting statement.
She says, ‘‘ ‘Made in Paris’ is a tongue in cheek – working with Chanel I was always asked if the bags were made in France. To see ‘Made in Paris’ is the epiphany of a sense of security in luxury. It is the ultimate marketing tool, a symbol of honour in craftsmanship and lifestyle.”
“The ‘Made in Paris’ tote is for all lovers of France who do or may not hold a French passport. I, as well as many lovers of the French culture consider ourselves French at heart. »
Eve, who currently resides in South East England, is in the process of re-locating to Southern France with her partner and daughter. She has lived and worked in London, Florence, New York and Paris.
So what inspires her?
“It’s daring to be different,” she explains, “A love of materials and for all things handcrafted and handmade.”
“My bags and totes are prewashed and have a slightly used character which gives them the feel of a favourite piece of fabric. The dyed ones do not iron flat and the colour is irregular giving them a look of crushed paper bags.”
« They are flattering not overpowering. I have always preferred dressmaker bags and totes instead of luggage style bags, they are easy to store, lightweight and foldable.”
One quirky addition to each bag is her trademark Eiffel Tower charms, made from leather scraps, a symbol of Eve’s years working in production for J. Mendel. She says there were always odd leather cuttings littered around the cutting tables.
Each bag really is a labour of love, as Eve tests her bags for months before they go on sale. She wears them and travels with them, because at the end of the day, she has to be in love with the product, the statement and function.
For the future Eve plans to open her Atelier in France, growing her brand as well as adding luxury products and expanding her vintage and antiques line. She would like to create a broader range of dressmaker bags using more leather and wool. In addition, Eve aims to continue her success with her Eshop and have stockists carrying a range of her designs.
By Michelle Winter
Images and styling by Michelle Winter. Images copyright to Michelle Winter