Interiors Little Black Book: Isabelle Dubern-Mallevays
Isabelle Dubern-Mallevays describes herself as an “entrepreneur obsessed with all things beautiful”. A former creative director of Dior Maison, she’s the co-founder of luxury lifestyle store The Invisible Collection and continues to consult as an artistic advisor to luxury brands such as Diptyque and Dior Parfums. As a result, she has a little black book that contains the best talent and craftsmen in the global design world – here, she opens it up for us…
By Georgina Blaskey
29 March 2021
It’s far too difficult to select a single piece of furniture I adore and I am so fortunate to spend every day among the pieces I love most. We are like children in a sweet shop when it comes to design and that is why I, together with Anna Zaoui and Lily Froehlicher, created The Invisible Collection. It was to feed our passions for beautiful furniture and objects created by the world’s most talented designers. We started with just 14 collections, and today we share designs from over 150 icons and young talents. If I had to choose one, the history of our site began with the iconic Papa Bear armchair by Pierre Yovanovitch.
For its taut, pure lines, the Gélule wall lamp by Joseph Dirand for Ozone represents perfection in terms of both craftsmanship and light for me.
I discovered the gorgeously delicate work of Toma Blok during my time as an artistic advisor for Diptyque, where I helped the perfume and candle house create its first home collection. Blok is a graphic designer and ceramist who was able to understand and interpret Diptyque’s essence with such ease. Together we created a series of timeless and poetic cups and soap dishes.
While working as artistic director for Dior Maison, I met Giberto and Bianca Arrivabene. The pair live together with their five children in a magical flat under the roof of the Papadopoli palace in Venice. Bianca leads Christie’s in Venice and Giberto creates magnificent collections of glass and objects – truly, pieces dreams are made of. Together for Dior, we imagined a series of pink and black glasses and small vases depicting beautiful houses, like the Rodin museum. We travelled the city, exploring the workshops, dining by the water at secret restaurants and spending time studying the beauty of these places – it was a magical life prior to the pandemic. I recently purchased two of Giberto’s photo frames, made from a mixture of wood, Fortuny fabric and Murano glass. It is marvellous and has a timelessness that is incredibly rare to find.
Mailaka is Egyptian-based linen house that’s part of our family at The Invisible Collection. My business partner Anna and I are honoured to work with its founder Goya Gallagher, who established the Threads for Hope school in Cairo, where young women are trained in the art of embroidery so they can earn a sustainable income. We are so inspired by these women’s spirit and we love each and every one of their designs. For International Women’s Day, Malaika created a capsule collection specially for us and we’re donating 100% of all sales to their school.
For me, nothing compares to the elegance of an 18th-century mirror. If it’s not restored and is still fitted with the old, imperfect glass then it is a treasure and I recommend holding onto it forever!
Jean Roger is a ceramist house taken over by the founder’s grandson, Francois. A beautiful family history runs through every piece. Francois works with his sisters in the Marais, Paris, to keep the tradition alive, and each ceramic is a vision of exquisite originality.
During the first lockdown, we worked with talented chef and decorator Isabelle Moltzer to curate Dîner en Ville, an array of beautiful boxes of vintage tableware, complete with china plates, glasses, tablecloths, napkins, small objects and vases. We love the collection’s very personal, Parisian feel that is so often imitated, yet never equalled. Isabelle hosts the chicest dinners in Paris. Her last one at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs for Harper’s Bazaar was unforgettable and her talent for collecting and styling is unrivalled.
I really discovered the magical world of rugs when we launched five years ago. I have a total crush on Manufacture de Tapis de Bourgogne, which creates the most beautiful rugs within vineyards. I don’t know which one to choose between: White Sun, Nautilus, Zenith and Tribune Libre.
Amelie Maison d’Art is a digital gallery launched by my friend Amelie, an ex-banker with a stunning space in the 9th arrondissement in Paris. Her eye and approach really shines within the collections she offers. Laurence Dreyfus, an art advisor who is both passionate and fascinating, lent us a very beautiful painting by Claire Tabouret and prints by Olafur Eliasson which I still daydream about.