Cecilia Bönström On Clint Eastwood, Cowboy Culture, And Carefree Vibes For Zadig & Voltaire SS ’22

by Freya Drohan

It’s been a busy time for Cecilia Bönström, Zadig & Voltaire’s stylish artistic director whom also happens to be the perfect poster child for the brand. And so, it makes perfect sense that the label has unveiled Le Cecilia Bag in her honor. Shortly after the Spring Summer ’22 show took place in St. Tropez, The Daily caught up with the fashion maven to hear what’s making her tick these days. 

What have you been up to recently? Any fun adventures?
September was such a busy month that I feel my whole month was a pure adventure to finish everything that I needed to do. To plan our summer show on the beach of the iconic restaurant Club 55 in St. Tropez, with the risk of pouring rain, was a huge challenge! I really wanted that moment to be memorable for every journalist and influencer that had flown in for the day—to spend a perfect moment, like you would do on a summer weekend with friends. This past weekend, I had a beautiful adventure going away to the village of Crillon Le Brave for yoga with my girlfriends. Life is actually a long adventure, with great moments, challenging moments, and moments just for yourself .

Cecilia Bönström (Gaêtan Bernard)

What was the jumping off point for this latest collection, the elegant cowboy?
The starting point of this collection was my desire for a feeling of freedom. And connecting with nature. I imagined a cowboy on a horse riding through big and open spaces with no limitation and going anywhere they want. Mixed with the party mood and self-confidence of Diana Ross, dancing on the dance floor with high-waisted jeans and a cutoff t-shirt!
It’s all about a party mood and freedom to be who you are. That’s why some of the models were bare feet in the sand on the catwalk in St. Tropez.

Do you know how to ride a horse?
I grew up in Sweden with horse rangers as my neighbors and I was always invited there. My girlfriends and I would even horseback ride without a saddle! But my respect of horses has grown with the years and today I don’t ride at all anymore, even though I have horses at my country house in Normandy.

What do you love about cowboy culture/the wild west?
It goes back to wearing cowboy boots, and even hats, when I was younger. And my reference has always been and will always be Clint Eastwood. I’m still in love with that man! I even made a shape of very long straight jeans for women called Clint in his honor.

What type of materials are front and center in this collection?
My materials are often the same every season because I like to reimagine good basics. For this season, it will be my crinkly leather, printed silk, and animal printed leather for the accessories.

What are your styling tips for making girly pieces look edgy and cool?
When you wear a feminine dress, don’t wear too much makeup and make it less dressed-up by wearing the dress with cool boots or sneakers instead of high heels. And always throw on a men’s blazer over your shoulders!

Tell us about Club 55, where the digital show was filmed. Why is it important to you?
The setting was everything this season. My collection was made with Club 55 in my mind, with the memory of all the cool and beautiful women who have passed by that beach restaurant. I wanted to express a feeling of happiness and liberty, so my production team knew that there were no other options. I wanted it really raw and real. Zadig & Voltaire is actually the only brand that has ever succeeded in privatizing that place. What was also important to me post-COVID was that every guest would enjoy themselves and share a feeling of a collective holiday moment at the French Riviera. With a glass of rosé wine in hand and the sounds of the beautiful French-Canadian artist Charlotte Cardin who performed for us.

Congrats on the launch of Le Cecilia bag—what do we need to know?
It’s our new bag that just came out in September. It expresses the history of Zadig & Voltaire’s cool attitude, mixed with my Scandinavian origins and the future of Zadig. It’s a bag that is chic but effortless at the same time; you can wear it on the shoulder, carry it in your hand, or crossbody thanks to the buckle which is like a broken buckle but also the shape of a C. The bag is made of an eco-friendly vegetable leather in natural colors as black or brown, and also comes in patchwork versions in suede. And, of course, it’s a big honor to have this bag named after me.

Will you continue to update this bag every season, or introduce it in new silhouettes, sizes, shades…
Le Cecilia bag hit stores on September 8 and it has been a huge success, so we need to reorder some colors as they will become permanent in our future collections. Every season there will be new versions, but not new sizes. For next summer, an amazing raffia material and a cognac color will be introduced to the collection, and also a Swarovski beaded version, which will be limited edition just for the U.S.

What’s always in your own handbag?
You will always find my AirPods, a Moleskine weekly agenda that I still use even if I have everything on my iPhone. My Montblanc/MarcNewson pen, my Tata Harper Shimmer Cream, and RMS lip color. Also an Avène 50+ sun cream and my
Zadig & Voltaire wallet.

I know you love New York! Do you have any visits planned?
Yes! The moment the customs will open, I’m coming for work appointments and also to see many friends.

How are you keeping creative and inspired these days? Any new obsessions?
To be head of design is great because it gives me the chance to express myself every season. And life is an inspiration by itself. So my creativity is always stimulated, whether it’s from a girl in the street, an art exhibition, a book, or an image on Instagram. The creativity never stops because it’s in you and the drive to always be doing better keeps you going forward. My new obsession might be yoga: I am realizing that the more you breathe, the clearer your mind is.

French TV is really popular in the States right now. Do you have any favorite shows you can recommend?
I haven’t had the time to watch TV lately, but Dix Pour Cent, aka Call My Agent, is fantastic. The Korean show Squid Games
is unmissable too!

What’s coming up next for you and the brand?
The next imminent step for the brand is a new perfume called This is Freedom and the challenge of growing in Asia. On a personal note, perhaps buying myself a small house by the ocean to continue my reach for freedom and breathing…

See the full collection below:

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