Angélique in her office
Angélique Robin is the designer behind Antagoniste, a collection of twill silk scarves in soft colors that invoke watercolor paintings. Each scarf is printed with dark designs: skulls, moths, and machines make frequent appearances on Antagoniste scarves. Angélique’s beautiful designs may have a sinister edge, but she is happily living her dream in Paris, creating striking scarves for women and men like her – people who find beauty in unexpected places. She cites antique engravings as her inspiration, and is particularly drawn to the 18th and 19th Centuries. We talk to Angélique to find out what drives her, why she compares herself to a hedgehog, and where we can find her in her beloved Paris.
Hello Angélique – can you please tell us a little more about yourself?
I studied art before working as a web designer for a garment brand and falling in love with fashion. Then I fulfilled my dream of coming to Paris. This town fascinated me for a long time, and now it’s inspiring me. I like everything to do with creation. I’ve liked putting things together since I was a child: creating things, painting, and drawing. My boyfriend helps me with Antagoniste.
When did you know you wanted to become a scarf designer?
When I got into fashion school, I began working with fabrics. Naturally, I went to silk, which became my fabric of choice. I drew, sewed, and painted on it. In parallel, I continued to draw on the computer. Then I was hired by a fashion company to create patterns for t-shirts. That’s when I began to draw with old engravings. Then I created “Birth“, the violet scarf. As a lover of scarves, I thought that I’d love to have it around my neck… Antagoniste was born!
What brought the use of old engravings into your designs? What do you find so interesting about the 18th Century?
When I was a child, old engravings I found at my grandparents’ place enthralled me. They had old dictionaries and history books I could read for hours. They also had stuffed animals I was captivated by. This love of curio cabinets and old things never left me. I love history too: for me, all those things are connected. The 18th and 19th Centuries are two riveting centuries in Europe. Fashion, the way of living, philosophy, literature, art, and even political affairs were rich and fascinating.
How does the duality in your design express itself in your life?
I can find beauty in things that can disgust people, to my mother’s great displeasure! Duality is also in my nature. I am like a hedgehog: protective on the outside and sweet inside.
What types of materials do you use and why?
I use twill silk, the classic fabric used by famous brands for scarves. The visual quality, softness, and shine are amazing. It’s also very classical, and I love the contrast that it gives with my designs.
What were the challenges in setting up your brand and how did you overcome them?
I had to convince the banks to take a chance on me, because I did not have much money. When I met my banker, she loved my drawings and she believed in me immediately! The biggest challenge was to discover and learn all the financial, marketing and management things I had ignored till that moment. Finding someone in France that could print numerically on silk with high quality was also difficult. I tried three suppliers before I found the perfect one.
Close-up Octopus Trap Scarf
Can you please tell us about the design process of your scarves?
I start by searching for old engravings in books and on the Internet. Then I try to find stories, inspired by pictures, art, and literature. I choose my color range. I sketch each scarf, and write about it, to make sure I follow the idea I have in my mind. Then there is computer work for colors and engravings, the mix and harmonization.
Who is the Antagoniste woman? And who is the Antagoniste man?
Antagoniste people like to reinvent themselves and twist their style with details that make all the difference. They can be classic people, or rock ‘n’ roll people who wear these classical scarves to create contrast in their looks. An Antagoniste person can be a young lady or an older dandy.
Are you more poetic or rock ‘n’ roll?
I’m a good mix between both!
What parts of Paris do you prefer spending time in and why?
It sounds like a cliché, but I love wandering in Montmartre, sitting at a table outside a café, having a drink of wine… Montmartre is so calm; it’s like a village outside the city. I also love the Shakespeare & Company library (in the Saint-Michel area), with its comfy chairs and very old English books.
12 Monkeys Nightmare, Pocket Squared
What are your favorite shops in Paris?
The Etienne Marcel district is full of creators and little fashion shops. I love La Cour, and I’m glad that Antagoniste is sold there! In the area, you can also find famous brands. A lot of press offices and creative fashion offices are there, too – there is a big fashion emulsion in this district!
Birth, Scarf for men
What is your favorite place to eat in Paris?
My favorite place is an old-fashioned brasserie in Montmartre. It’s called Autour du Moulin, and it’s just under the famous Moulin de la Galette. There are Toulouse-Lautrec paintings on the walls, and it makes you feel like you are at the beginning of the 20th Century. It’s a simple and relaxing place to meet friends and eat French food.
See more by Antagoniste.