From the humble beginnings of a single market stall in the famed Place des Lices run by his parents Joe and Marinette De Santis, to one of the most sought after brands to emerge from the French Riviera, Joe De Santis has been the mastermind behind the Marinette Saint Tropez brand. Transforming it from those initial stages to the international brand it is now, Joe has captured the charm of the Saint-Tropez lifestyle and him and his team continue to delight their loyal customers with a host of new must-have items each year. The LuxPad interviews Joe to find out more about the cool coastal brand and French Riviera style…
1. What were the very beginnings of the Marinette Saint Tropez brand?
My parents arrived about 60 years ago from Marseille, to settle in Saint-Tropez. They began to sell fabric at the clothing section on the Saint-Tropez market in the famous Place des Lices. At that time, no brand project was planned, only a stand on the market. The first client was Brigitte Bardot, to whom my mother gave her “Vichy” pink and white fabric, a pattern known worldwide now. Then other famous people began to know the brand and these loyal customers have grown over time.
2. How did the brand start and how did it develop into the Marinette Saint Tropez we know today?
After the activities on the market, the first store was opened in rue Clemenceau. Subsequently I, their son, took over the family business to develop it. At that time, it was the trend of ‘Provençal’ (olives and sunflowers motifs).Then the ‘Provençal’ style grew and we were competing with mediocre and poor versions of those designs. We decided to change strategy. We introduced a more contemporary spirit and natural look. A second store was opened, Tissus Marinette, which was more gift orientated selling fragrances and bathroom accessories made of natural produce and beautiful linens. As a result, the trademark was filed worldwide, the brand Marinette Saint Tropez was born. Before long the increasing appeals of our colleagues pushed us to develop a national distribution network at Galeries Lafayette, and soon after went international.
3. How would you best describe the Marinette Saint Tropez look for the home?
The ‘look’ Marinette Saint Tropez is very naturally in the spirit of Saint-Tropez, with linen and natural cotton. It is a style best described as ‘countryside-chic’ with connotations of the spirit of the sea which is very relaxed. Suiting the beautiful interiors and the architecture of the houses of Saint-Tropez, it is also perfectly suited to the poolside. The designs also translate perfectly to other Mediterranean homes (in Ibiza, Portofino, etc.).
4. How do you make sure the brand stays true to its aesthetic each season whilst still offering something new to customers?
We work with our designers to build our collection each year. It evolves over the seasons and over time. Our look is unique. It has a contemporary spirit, with linen, grey , taupe and white hues as bases, as well as other colors mixed by our team of colorists “by hand” to create our exclusive looks for textiles and accessories every year.
5. Where do you find the inspiration for the new collections? Do you have a process?
We rely on certain criteria and feedback. In relation to our own inspirations, the feedback from our stores, new requests and suggestions from our customers, and our experience also play a huge part in the new collections. The ‘simple’ look is sometimes the most complicated look to do because it requires a lot of effort and work from the entire team (designers, colorists, designers etc.).
6. What key trends have you seen coming out of Saint-Tropez this year?
This year we’ve had osmosis, a very summery atmosphere, very summery in fact with 80% of our collection depicting the summer theme. We have also brought in new complementary materials, such as wicker, old teak, driftwood to accompany our exteriors.
7. Is your own home a reflection of true Saint-Tropez style? How do you incorporate it into the design?
Yes my house is what we can call a typical Provençal house, in the style of Saint-Tropez. And of course, it remains an indicator, a model for my inspirations each year during the development of the new collection.
8. How would you spend the perfect day off?
A perfect day is a sunny day, on a deckchair, by the pool with a good newspaper and a glass of Pastis.
9. What is your favourite motif or pattern from the 2018 collection?
This year, the main motif is the Amazon, created in relation to a big market trend but developed by our own designer and is exemplified in the Cactus collection, presenting fine lines and soft colours, to ensure a harmonious marriage with the Saint-Tropez interiors. The Paloma collection also deserves a glance, with a very wild and natural atmosphere on white linen backgrounds, and with the addition of a couple of parakeets it is a very beautiful range. But if we had to choose just one compared to current trends and those of the market, it is indeed the collection Cactus which is our favourite without hesitation.