In 1892, in the centre from the core value of the of Paris, a very small business was created. From its workshop beginnings to its full-fledged brand status, Weill has grown steadily, discreetly and gracefully…
In 1924 the Weill family set up their first shop in a building which serves today as their Headquarters, where we are speaking to Elie Weill (in its recently refurbished form) in touching distance to the Sacré- Coeur. It was a symbolic moment – a moment where relentless dedication and family spirit allowed for success to continually unfold. It started off as a manufacturing site, “we were producing for the specialty shops, it wasn’t a brand – it was for places like Bonne Marche,” says Elie.
The war years brought on some complications but after a boom happened for Weill. “My grandfather flew to America to see what was going on there and discovered a new concept that hadn’t existed in Europe which was ready-to-wear. He was the first one to create this pioneering movement and brought it to France.”
The brand has always maintained its high quality, chic and elegant status in the apparel. “The aesthetic has of course changed with time over the decades, we always adapt ourselves to the trends. But the DNA has always been about the amazing fabrics, Parisian style. We embody the Parisian woman, this idea has always been present from the beginning.” The Weill woman loves detail, takes care of herself and has this attitude of Parisian flair.
When asked about the age group of the Weill woman, we imagine that it’s strictly for 40 years plus but on the contrary “we cannot think in terms of age today. A woman of 60 wants to look young and modern and a woman of 20 may want a more chic look so we think in terms of timeless style with a twist of luxury and even humour to give flavour to the brand and that’s what the customers love about it.”
There’s something more subtle, less showy and understated about Weill – despite its history – but that gives it exclusivity. Perhaps it’s the fact that the brand has always been in the hands of family and not an outsider where it could have gone on
a tangential path and strayed brand. “We don’t have ready-to-wear shows, that’s not part of our family culture. We are discreet people and ambitious. It’s not about creating a buzz, it’s about giving the good products and good image to our customers.” With its longevity, the brand can get away with not being a sell-out – Weill speaks for itself. “That’s why people like Weill because they know that we offer an honest image.”
“There’s something of a love story between Weill and the Middle East. The Lebanese are the trendsetters of the region so that’s why we spread around. We have developed a lot in the Middle East”
Being a family lead brand, the dynamics of upholding tradition is different from any other long-standing brand. “It’s a very natural process. We breathe and live for Weill. We live and work together. We share the same values and goals. I can close my eyes and trust that everything will be alright. That’s a fantastic advantage for us and it’s something very rare.” The brand’s logo itself denotes the strong family ties between the generations: “we have a very strong and fond connection to horses and it also shows Parisian elegance too with the calèche (carriage)”.
There’s something of a love story between Weill and the Middle East. “Even when Weill was a more French oriented brand we already had many customers in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon – it was one of our first countries where we developed abroad, it’s very important to us. The Lebanese are the trendsetters of the region so that’s why we spread around. We have developed a lot in the Middle East.”
Going through the Weill headquarters it strikes us that the building houses classic fashion but the structure itself is very modern with floor-to-ceiling windows and panels – with almost Nordic interior design. “Even though Weill is about timeless fashion, we are in the 21st century and we are moving with that.” The most precious room for us was Elie’s grandfather’s office with all the family photographs through the years placed around his desk and window ledge like any proud grandfather would do. The cosyness and warmth emanating from the room where all the brand’s history sits is quite emotional and beautiful. It is in this room where you truly get how wonderful Weill is.
Editor in Chief