“We are against the fashion system … we were bored with fashion and trends and the change every season,” says Cristina Casini, co-founder of the Parisian lifestyle brand CristaSeya. Instead, Casini and her partner, Keiko Seya, release “editions” — of 12 to 15 items — every six months. “We wanted to do something that would be timeless, using the best materials — pieces that you can keep for a long time,” Casini says.
Casini and Seya, both originally stylists who have worked for the likes of L’Officiel, Numéro and i-D, launched their line in 2013. “Each edition is the building blocks for a wardrobe,” says Casini. Edition 1 — called Winter Sky, after a deep indigo blue that appeared throughout the collection — including mannish trousers in brushed blue linen, reversible wool blazers and sumptuous knitwear in cashmere, silk and mohair. (The knitwear comes from Casini’s mother’s factory in Reggio Emilia, Italy — “Max Mara town,” she says with a smile.) That capsule will always be available, along with the four editions that have followed in the past two years, and at CristaSeya’s lofty new studio in Paris’s Ninth Arrondissement, stores and customers alike (by appointment only) can pick and choose what they like from the perennial collections.
The overall design of CristaSeya’s pieces is simple — and the fit is always relaxed. Edition 2, for example, introduced fine seersucker shirting in varying lengths and colorways, while Editions 3 and 4 focused on outerwear and tailoring. But the look of every collection is luxurious, thanks to the duo’s aptitude for sourcing textiles. “The most important thing for us is the fabrics; we do so much research,” says Casini, who’s most impressed with those she finds in Italy and Japan. She gestures to a loose-weave sweater that looks like cotton but is crisp to the touch. “This is made from Japanese paper, Washi, which is then blended with cotton.” For their fifth, and most recent edition, called Saturday, Casini and Seya based the collection around the fabric used for Japanese Kendo (a form of martial arts) uniforms, which they employed for tunic tops, drawstring pants and wide, slouchy skirts.
Each new edition introduces handmade objects from artisans the designers have partnered with to enhance the lifestyle arm of their brand. There are combs hand-sculpted in Japan from birch and box woods that were left to dry for 30 years; decorative, limited-edition vases from Sicilian artist Giacomo Alessi; shoes with Argentinian brand of-the-moment Martiniano; and, for the latest edition, one-of-a-kind cushions from the Swiss brand Ikou Tschuss. “Sometimes they are friends, or people we meet and feel we share the same vision,” says Casini of the diversity of their projects. “There is no limit to what we would do.”