interview with Nicolas Theil



Nicolas Theil, at the head of his eponymous company, stands out for his very unusual bags and innovative use of 3D printing.

His studies were leading him towards a career in automobile engineering until he joined the Duperré fashion school and specialised in accessories. Not yet aged thirty, Nicolas Theil is the first to admit that his “creative, conceptual spirit with a technical background” is an unusual profile.

He started out at Jean Paul Gaultier in 2008 and worked there for three years in a number of roles: Studio assistant, prototype development, leather goods stylist. In 2001, this versatile designer made the leap and launched his own label.

The title given to each of his collections has a meaning: Ecorce Végétale (Vegetable bark), Floraison Radioactive (Radioactive blooming), Mutation Marine (Marine mutation), Hybridation Atomique (Atomic hybridization) reflect a singular vision of his main source of inspiration, nature that is alternately fascinating and terrifying, protective and dangerous. The apple sheathed in precious and exotic leather that he produced as a cuff and an oversized clutch, has become the emblem of his work.

Crédits : 
Nicolas Theil

Other unusual shapes illustrate his mutant leather goods: A spiky sea urchin bag, a reflective fish bag, an egg-shaped minaudière with a “shark” clasp, etc. "I like to surprise" the designer tells us, "to invent volumes, find answers to questions". Like preferring to use leather offcuts in order to reduce costs, taking great care over the linings of his vegetable leather cuffs, or modulating the fasteners of his bags to offer a variety of ways to carry them. Because Nicolas Theil is also very sensitive to structure, geometry - acquired during his high school studies in Tokyo - as well as technological developments, which form an integral part of his creative process.

To produce the shapes conjured up by his imagination, the young designer not only draws them, shapes them, cuts and sews the python, crocodile or vegetable leather skins. In his Parisian "laboratory" workshop, he prepares his own moulds for jewellery, bags and their fasteners, using a 3D printer.

Crédits : 
Nicolas Theil

“I experimented with 3D modelling during my engineering studies then I rediscovered the 3D printer", Nicolas Theil explains. It allows me today to test out shapes and produce shells in ABS that are both supple and very strong. This tool is particularly well-adapted to short production runs». At Nicolas Theil, technology and craftsmanship complement and enrich each other. A new and original way of creating the accessories of tomorrow.