If you’ve ever visited one of French womenswear brand Sézane’s shops, you’ll know very well that they’re designed to feel like stepping into someone’s Paris home. Among the lace-trimmed dresses and wool cardigans are plush sofas and vintage armoires—as if the point of the operation isn’t to take home a flouncy floral blouse and, instead, sit down and stay a while. “For me, it made sense that the stores look as if I was inviting you into my home,” explains Morgane Sézalory, the brand’s founder, who grew Sézane into one of France’s most successful fashion e-commerce companies before even breaking ground on her first brick-and-mortar. “But to be honest, I wouldn’t know how to do it otherwise.”
So with that in mind, what does the entrepreneur’s Left Bank pad look like? Exactly as one would expect: cozy, welcoming, and layered with rich textiles, vibrant colors, and vintage furniture that has followed her from apartment to apartment for decades—including her latest, a two-story flat in Paris’s seventh arrondissement.
When Sézalory and her husband found the spacious ground-floor apartment, its ornately decorated rooms had laid vacant for several decades. “No one had touched the place for 70 years,” she recounts. Originally constructed in the 1800s, its neglected state meant that a lengthy restoration process was required, which entailed replacing the crumbling structure, ancient wiring, and century-old plumbing. However, Sézalory made sure to keep its original features intact, like dainty molding on the ceiling rendered in floral motifs and timeworn herringbone parquet wood floors. “We had to do the construction, but at the same time we wanted to preserve its charm,” she adds.
Along with the renovation, Sézalory took the opportunity to reshuffle the rooms. The most dramatic being the kitchen, which she, along with her contractor, had moved from the upper level to the ground floor, overlooking the private walled garden—a true rarity in densely packed central Paris. “I wanted to make a beautiful corner where I could spend time with my family,” explains Sézalory, who installed a curved bench to make the most of the tight space and a mirrored wall to catch the natural light. “Somewhere I could sit with my daughters after school and do homework.” Plus, in the summer she could admire the garden’s fragrant vines of jasmine and bursting rose bushes from the comfort of her kitchen table. “You have this feeling of being in a countryside house,” she says. “On the streets of Paris, you can’t hear the birds, but every morning in this garden you can. It’s just so magical.”
Elsewhere, the design is dictated by some of Sézalory’s most cherished objects, including one-of-a-kind jewels picked up on far-flung travels. “I start with what I love the most,” she explains. “And I create the room around it.” In the living room, the center point was an antique paper wall hanging depicting climbing vines of blue-and-white morning glory flowers found on a trip to Japan, which she balanced with sofas, discovered at flea markets then newly upholstered in complementary shades of blue-and-gold velvet. While in the dining room, a vintage screen discovered in Los Angeles sets the tone. “Most people come back from holiday with just clothing and a suitcase—I return with furniture,” she quips. The wood screen’s cloudy tinted finish was the perfect accompaniment to an abstract fabric collage by the artist François Mascarello and a portrait of a seated woman by the French painter Pierre Boncompain, whose work Sézalory has hung throughout the house.
But not all of the home’s treasures were plucked from such remote locales. “When I was 18, I spent very, very little for this cabinet,” recalls Sézalory, referring to a glass-fronted chest where she stores her collection of ceramic pitchers and vases. She found the heavy wood piece at a car boot sale and it has followed her around to every apartment she’s lived in since. “Every time I move, it fits somewhere. It has no real value—but I love it and I never get fed up with it,” she says.
Indeed, it was Sézalory’s prowess at finding diamonds in the rough that kick-started her career in fashion many years ago. Her first online store, the project that would eventually evolve into Sézane, was entirely dedicated to vintage. Every month she would drop a selection of 100 pieces of carefully curated clothing, which would sell out immediately to Parisian It girls and the like. In fact, Sézalory is reviving this business model with her latest project, Les Composantes, her first foray into interiors featuring newly designed home accessories in addition to vintage pieces released similarly each month.
Unsurprisingly, Sézalory used her own home to test-drive the new collection. Pieces can be found scattered across the flat: a burgundy ceramic lamp with a pleated, balloon-like shade in the turquoise-painted office; jewel-toned cushions paired with a floral patterned quilt in the serene bedroom; and a wood sculpture of a girl by sculptor Guénolée Courcoux in the dining room, one of the several artisans and artists Les Composantes has collaborated with on the brand’s first launch.
But according to Sézalory, despite the wealth of beautiful objects and furniture at her disposal, it still took her quite a while to get things just right. “A house has to feel lived in,” she explains. “It’s a never-ending process. Every year it just becomes better—and more like yourself.”