Colorful expressions

After shawls featuring luminous prints and elegantly woven bags, the Franco-Danish label Épice adds a soft chic touch to our wardrobes with fine cotton T-shirts.

“These are basic items,” says Bess Nielsen straight off the bat. “We didn’t want a luxurious or wacky knit, but rather a refined jersey, of the kind naturally worn by Indians.” That’s how the co-founder of Épice presents her collection of tees, immaculately printed in workshops in Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal. There’s a style for women and one for men, and even a sleeveless version. All of the designs are imbued with the serenity that characterizes this label launched in Paris in 1999 by Bess Nielsen and Jan Machenhauer, two Danish designers as imaginative as they are rigorous. Bess Nielsen sums up the heritage of Épice as one of “real honesty,” meaning that artistic standards are paramount.

Noted for their high-end stoles and bags and beautifully soft cardigans (made in Italy), these textile designers wanted to “take things a bit further, but without any desire to flood the market.” In other words, a sort of slow design. Hence this range of tees with geometric, fruit or floral motifs in quiet colors, sometimes reminiscent of the iridescent hues of marbles, sometimes covered in various marks or patterns, a nod to contemporary urban Africa. These are unique pieces that are screen-printed, thereby avoiding the pitfalls of uniformity, according to Bess: “With screen-printing, there are sometimes little irregularities, and that’s something I like. That’s life.”

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