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Aicha Abbes and Franck Thesee redefine the art of play, with khadi animals and more 

Just Last week, Aicha Abbes, the creative and production unit director of AichaFranck Design Studio, sold all of her products exhibited at Cafe Des Arts. That’s how popular the design studio, established in 2009—with a production unit that caters to women, men and children— is. They specialise in hand embroidery, intricate patterns and home linen. “I was working in Paris for more than seven years at Christian Lacroix. Then I came to India and started working with Artyzan in Chennai for two years. I moved to Pondicherry after that with my husband Franck Thesee and started the studio in 2009,” begins Abbes who met Thesee in Paris.

Design centric
It has been Abbes dream to start her own studio in India given that all her products are made using handicraft and khadi. “I have been working a lot with Indian artisans who do hand embroidery and handloom. This was a big tradition in Europe, but it has lost its importance. It took us a lot to leave our home town, come to India and settle down,” she says. The duo design key chains, rings, dresses, hair clips, stuffed toys and bibs. They have always had three collections. “The first one was F, which means Franck, and is designer wear for women, then there is Will’m, which is for children. This collection was created when my son was born, three years ago. The last collection is Day and Night, which is home linen,” says Abbes.

Peace in Pondy
Abbes loves Chennai but with her child, she prefers Pondicherry, “We learnt a lot in those two years when we worked there. But Pondicherry is filled with creative people. It is a lovely place with great food, a peaceful work atmosphere and most importantly, it is very child-friendly,” says Abbes who works with a team of five women. It did not take too long for Abbes to discover the designer in her. “I knew the creative side in me for a very long time. I wanted to go to fashion school when I was 12 years,” she says. Most of her products are exported to France. They are also retailed at Dune and Artyzan and the newly opened Pop-up store by Cafe Des Arts.

The toys are priced from `500 onwards and dresses start from `800. At AichaFranck Design Studio,Vysial Street. Details: 9884114209

—Mrinalini Sundar

 

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