In Conversation With: Daniele Chemla of Avenue Montaigne on Her Magic Pants
Sophisticated, flattering, and comfortable -- learn about the unique tailoring and European fabrics that go into the Avenue Montaigne line
Avenue Montaigne’s pants have been coined “magic pants” and have become a staple in stylish women’s wardrobes all over the globe. We also fell in love with them from the moment we slipped them on. There’s just something about these pants that epitomizes elegance and feels incredible to wear. Perhaps it’s the combination of the distinctive Parisian atelier techniques, Danielle’s eye for impeccable details, and her choice of stunning Italian stretch fabric. Excited to learn more about the story and process that goes into every pair of Avenue Montaigne’s we sat down with designer and founder Daniele Chelma! Check out our interview below.
Q. Did you start out in fashion when you left school?
I have been surrounded by fashion ever since I was a little girl. My father had an atelier in Paris and used to design men's shirts, make his own patterns, and cut all the different styles he was creating. For 7 years I worked in his retail store and then I was hired in a buying office in Paris. I have been a buyer for the Limited, Linda Dresner, Holtrenfrew to name a few.
Q. You began your label in 1996. What was your vision for starting Avenue Montaigne?
I wanted to share all the knowledge I’d acquired in Europe for so many years. I always dreamed of dressing women, I didn’t think about a mono-product at the time, so I created an entire collection from jackets to pants to dresses to skirts. I have to say that customers are still asking for my jackets as they are fitted as well as the pants -- but for my part, I wanted to concentrate all my efforts and research on one product and so I chose pants!
Q. You’re famous for your effortlessly chic pants. What is it that drew you to pants specifically?
I rarely wore dresses or skirts, I was always attracted to chic and sexy pants, I guess it came naturally!
Q. Your pants are manufactured in New York, made with Italian fabrics, and you are French -- making Avenue Montaigne a very cosmopolitan label! How do all these influences play into your brand?
I was born in Tunisia, grew up in Paris, moved to New York, and married an Italian -- I guess my brand followed my path! The US gave me the opportunity to open my own business, and I will always be grateful. France gave me exposure to ateliers and haute couture and Italy, its incredible fabrics. I guess this is the key to my successful pants!
Q. Why do you think women all over the globe have fallen in love with your pants?
Thank you, I will take it as a compliment! I used to have to push and lay down on a bed to zip up my pants, I think everyone remembers doing that at some point! I really wanted to create a pair of “magic pants” that looked chic and sexy and fit like a glove but were also really comfortable and had no zipper, no buttons….just an elasticized waistband. The Pullon pants were a revelation to me and obviously to all the women who are wearing them!
Q. Do you design for a specific woman?
Yes! Women from 20-90 years old with all different shapes that’s why we have so many sizes from 00-14.
Q. Tell us about your favourite fabric you use?
I always look for new stretch fabrics from all over the world. Thanks to my father, I am very sensitive to all different textures. When I look for fabrics I am on a mission and when I finally find one I am in a trance. To me, fabric hunting is the most beautiful day and an experience I’ll never share with anyone, those moments are mine. I also have to be alone so as to not be disturbed by anyone who may influence the process.
I recently found an incredible fabric that I called Freedom. It is a four-way stretch and is so soft and so comfy that once you put it on you cannot take it off. Freedom will be an addition to our Signature fabric F954 which is the seasonless two-way stretch fabric that put us on the map!
Q. Has Covid-19 changed your business in any way?
Before Covid, I never thought I’d be able to remotely and be away from the office for three months. It’s been a nice surprise that so far, it works very well, I even shot the next Spring 2022 collection in Italy (not the States). Spending more time in Europe is helping me be more creative.
Q. What advice would you give to an Avenue Montaigne Pant wearing virgin – what style shall she try first?
That is a tough question! I created all different styles from skinny to straight leg, boot leg, wide leg, pocket pants, and cropped so that every woman can find her perfect pair -- so it all depends on the taste of the customer and the style she will feel most comfortable in! And I will add that you can wear them at work, change to high heels and go to a cocktail party directly from the office!
Q. Are any of the pants named after any of your loved ones or does a particular style mean something to you?
All the styles mean something to me, they are created with love and I named them after people who are close to me and cities that I adore.