Hands up: Ester Manas

October 2, 2021
Photo credits : Laurence Benaïm

Roundness above all else. Two pairs of hands united night and day. Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre say that they “imagine everything together”. Hand on the heart, in this studio filled with sweets at 23 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis which, as it happens, was the address of my very own hat-maker grandfather. So indeed, it is a pleasure to meet this couple from Brussels whose logo is none other than two entwined hands. Their focus on “smart sizing” – from 34 to 50 – makes a big difference: “Balthazar has the hand of the image, and mine is that of the sensitivity, of the material. It’s a permanent ping pong”. And with these hands, they would give a slap to those who feign inclusiveness, who suggest “curves on the catwalk” only to offer a drop of size 46. “Girls must want to wear our clothes. Let them walk with their heads held high and their hands close to their hips”. The Summer 2022 collection is called “Unveiling”, as if hands had here and there, pre-empted, gently sucked out the ends of the shoulders, waist, hips, to better reveal a blooming and uninhibited body that has nothing to hide. Fashion is once again a feast. Manas is what she does and does what she loves. This includes spending two-and-a-half hours a day cooking. Their mixed origins – from Algeria to Sicily – span peppers marinated in garlic to meatballs della nonna, celebrating the epicurean hands of transmission, as well. “Fifty percent of the work is done at the table. This is how everything is born, how everything becomes family,” she points out. “We need a community that firmly believes in what we stand for, together. It’s like a city campaign with people handing out flyers. In fact, we are more like sixty hands”. @laurence-benaim

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