Hugo Matha’s exquisite clutch bags nominated for the 2015 ANDAM awards
Numéro talks to young French designer Hugo Matha, whose clutch bags in wood, Plexiglas and fine leather brought him a place among the three finalists in the fashion-accessories category of this year’s ANDAM awards.
Passionate about craft workmanship, the very young designer (aged 24) has already made a name for himself with his limited-edition clutch bags in wood, Plexiglas and fine leather, which brought him a place among the three finalists in the fashion-accessories category of the ANDAM awards.
Numéro: What made you decide to make bags and clutches rather than clothing?
Hugo Matha: I thought I would concentrate on ready-to-wear, and on leaving the École Duperré I designed a collection called “Les instants abscons” [literally “abstruse instants”]. It was all about an idea of seduction linked to mystery and frustration, and to accessorize it I designed my very first Plexiglas clutch bags. In the end they were what stood out, so I started developing them. I like working with craftsmen, producing a three-dimensional object that can stand alone, unlike a garment. Working with the materials and finding technical innovations is really exciting. So it wasn’t long before I wanted to design clutches in wood. It’s a living material, which breaks easily, which shrinks or dilates depending whether it’s dry or damp. Choosing the right wood is therefore not easy. Like alligator skin, it changes over time and develops a patina. The grain of the wood begins to appear. It’s something you have to embrace, and it explains why, when I started out, most of my clients were gallerists, artists or architects. My idea was to create an object for a lifetime, something you keep forever.
I like working with craftsmen, producing a three-dimensional object that can stand alone, unlike a garment. Working with the materials and finding technical innovations is really exciting.
What’s your background?
Hugo Matha: I come from the Aveyron region of France, where my parents are winemakers. My training was in applied arts, and it’s fashion that caught my attention, so I continued my studies at the Lycée de la Mode in Cholet. Then I was plunged into a rather extraordinary adventure for a boy of 18: having found an internship in Paris’s Sentier, I ended up in Shanghai designing the collections and overseeing the mass production of a clothing brand. For eight months I was a total expatriate, given that I spoke neither English nor Chinese. A personal interpreter went everywhere with me, and I had my own chauffeur. After that I came back to France to take a degree in applied arts at the École Duperré. I also worked while I was studying, first with Olivier Châtenet and then with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. It was in 2014 that I really launched my own label.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
Hugo Matha: I’m going to open my own workshop in the Aveyron, in my parents’ vineyard. At the moment my pieces are made in France by workshops who supply the big fashion houses. You could say that each of my pieces is unique, since they’re all handmade and therefore all different. Having my own workshop will allow me to develop new treatments and prototypes, and to experiment more. I want to have a sort of internal development laboratory, with material engineers. My clutch bags are fairly expensive, and as things stand Korea and the Emirates are my best clients, even if my pieces are also sold at Colette in Paris and at Moda Operandi for the U.S. I want to keep the high quality of my products, I don’t have any plans to produce a more commercial line. But if a satisfactory idea came to me one day, I’d do it.
By Delphine Roche