Since debuting his fashion line in 2014, 32-year-old singer, rapper and songwriter Stromae (née Paul Van Haver) has proven that his creative prowess involves more than just music. The first three capsule collections of his line Mosaert (an anagram for Stromae), which he designs with his wife, stylist and fashion designer Coralie Barbier, have all been intensely directional in their designs, incorporating everything from traditional English school silhouettes and isometric jacquard patterns to color blocking, African wax color prints and modern dandy details -- and all in unisex styles.
For the fourth capsule, which launched Friday (March 31), the pair shifted direction to create a new look and feel that is inspired by ballet and dance, using soft-touch fabrics, sumptuous floral prints that Barbier custom-designed and partnering with Repetto to create elegant footwear that incorporates the French brand's legacy of ballet flats. "I was talking in an interview about how I would love to have a ballerina flat for men," says Van Haver. "Repetto heard about it and decided to create one. It's almost like a slipper." Adds Barbier, "It was a dream of ours to create shoes, to have a total look. But it was really important to do a collaboration with a brand that knows exactly how to make a pair of shoes, how to craft them.
To create the two shoe styles for the new collection, Van Haver and Barbier met with Repetto's CEO Jean-Marc Gaucher, who took them through the company's factory in the French town of Saint-Medard d'Excideuil. "It was incredible to see a shoe being made in 20 minutes, but all handmade, nothing superficial," says Barbier. "It is important to them that every employee can make a shoe from scratch and know all of the steps," adds Van Haver, who likens the new footwear to the brand's iconic Michael loafers and Zizi oxfords (the latter of which was French singer Serge Gainsbourg's preferred footwear).
The capsule's ready-to-wear incorporates some of Mosaert's previous styles, like their piquè cotton polo shirts and socks, which were previously done in geometric patterns but now come in lush, floral patterns, which Barbier designed by hand and then converted into digital prints. There are also sportif styles, such as jogger pants and a soft-touch sweatshirt depicting a flamingo, which Van Haver explains as the most appropriate emblem for the collection. "It's the best symbol of dance, like the tutu," he says.
The collection now retails on Mosaert's and Repetto's websites, as well as in Repetto's boutiques (including its New York flagship) and at a just-launched pop-up shop at Paris' Le Bon Marché -- where Stromae's instrumental recording for the Repetto x Mosaert collaboration is sure to play on repeat. And though the duo has their sights set on showing the next collection at New York Fashion Week in 2018, Van Haver is keeping busy with other creative direction projects under the Mosaert umbrella -- including a soon-to-be-released video directorial debut -- and there are also plans to branch out into design. "It's about creating a whole world," he explains.