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Excitement in Paris! The Playful Shopping Bag of French-Japanese Duo 'Brigitte Tanaka'

Valuing the history of France and exploring innovative ideas of Japan, Paris-based 'Brigitte Tanaka' combines both aesthetics, antiques, and contemporary ideas, offering a range of unique accessories and items.
In 2017, Brigitte Giraudi from France and Chieko Tanaka from Japan established their brand and opened a small boutique, 'Brigitte Tanaka,' in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The boutique carries a wide array of original items which have been reimagined and transformed from antiques sourced from markets around the world during their travels.
Starting with trinkets, they gradually garnered popularity until their organza shopping bag, full of playful embroidery, became their signature product. Now, they are collaborating with numerous fashion brands, adding more products to their list.
The boutique, designated as a historic building, exudes the atmosphere of a treasure trove. We spoke with Tanaka in the boutique, which brims with cuteness, about the meeting that led to the birth of 'Brigitte Tanaka,' the thoughts and stories behind their original products.
Chieko Tanaka
Chieko Tanaka

Brigitte Tanaka Director
Artistic creator of Franco-Japanese performances in Paris

Giving a Second Life to Antiques

Could you please tell us first about your background and how you came to be in Paris?
I was born and raised in Japan, studied arts at university, and before coming to France, I was designing accessories for a Japanese fashion brand, 'Theater Products.'
From a young age, I had a vague idea that one day I would live abroad, and in 2008, I started my life in Paris on a working holiday.
How did you meet your business partner, Brigitte?
My first encounter with Brigitte was when I started working for the jewelry brand 'Miss Bibi' she was running. We share a lot in common – we both love to travel, go antique market shopping, and have a fondness for quirky vintage items. I think we immediately clicked.
We began to discuss doing something more exciting together, and by revisiting the antique items we collected from markets in Bulgaria and Greece, we gave them a second life. This revival of antique items into contemporary ones marked the beginning of 'Brigitte Tanaka.'
We combined our names to create the brand, giving it a feeling of a single woman's name. And with that concept, we designed the interiors of the boutique to reflect the image of this woman's home.
Your boutique is a wonderful intimate space that lets visitors fully experience the world of 'Brigitte Tanaka.'
The shop which is adjacent to the Church of Saint Roch was originally part of the church's properties. As centuries passed, each owner has added their respective touches, and the historical building has been passed on to the present.
We incorporated the stone stairway that our preceding owner built and replaced parts of the floor with glass, imagining stained windows inspired by the church. Through these modifications, we reconstructed the space to reflect 'Brigitte Tanaka.'
How do you both collaborate in creating the works, including the design of the boutique, for 'Brigitte Tanaka'?
Some pieces are born out of ideas we brainstorm together, while others are designed individually. We have similar sensibilities and often use our intuition when deciding on a design.
Interestingly, when I was a designer in Japan, my approach was quite the opposite. I used to deliberate extensively, calculating meticulously and toiling until the design was finalized.
However, since coming to France, I've come to believe that design can be more casual through not only Brigitte but also the people I encounter outside of work and my day-to-day life.
Perhaps I was influenced by the French people's carefree spirit where they don't sweat the small stuff. Even though my dedication to craftsmanship remains the same in Japan and France, my designs became more free and light-hearted. This sense of humor and playfulness is reflected in 'Brigitte Tanaka,' I believe.
Photographed by ELIE INOUE
Photographed by ELIE INOUE
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