Interview by Marie-Pauline Cesari

Today, Numéro Netherlands reconnects with the visionary force behind polette eyewear, Pauline Cousseau, in an exclusive interview. As we delve into Pauline’s journey and achievements, we have an exciting surprise in store: a groundbreaking collaboration between polette and Numéro Netherlands!

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Pauline, it’s fantastic to reconnect with you since our last interview in 2021. Reflecting back on your journey, we’ve never asked you, why ‘polette’?

Lovely to be back on Numéro Netherlands for this amazing project! “polette” is actually my nickname.

Since our last interview with you, could you share some highlights and milestones that have marked your journey with polette eyewear?

Over the past 3 years, we’ve expanded the brand worldwide, which is a source of immense pride for me. We’ve opened 6 new showrooms, including 4 in Belgium (Ghent, Antwerp, Namur & Liège), 1 in Shanghai, China, and 1 in Mexico City, Mexico. Additionally, we revamped our Paris showroom into a captivating art piece, drawing inspiration from the Louvre with an upside-down pyramid at its center and showcasing our collections in a minimalist, white library setting. Our design team has been instrumental in crafting bold collections using sustainable materials for both frames and packaging. I’m excited about what the future holds for polette.

polette has always been at the forefront of innovation in the eyewear industry. Can you tell us about any new projects or developments you’ve been working on recently?

polette has a well-established reputation for pioneering and disruptive approaches, such as offering fully customizable glasses and leveraging technology to streamline the eyewear purchasing process. Our latest projects include the introduction of 6 groundbreaking photochromic colors, signaling just the beginning of our innovative initiatives. Our team is dedicated to fulfilling every customer’s wish, striving to provide the widest choice spectrum ever seen in the eyewear industry worldwide.

How do you maintain your commitment to sustainability and uphold your values as polette continues to grow and evolve?

In recent years, we’ve refocused on our core values and ensured alignment between our entrepreneurial ambitions and the polette brand. We’ve assembled a dedicated team who shares our vision and works passionately to embody the values of polette: elegance, simplicity, fashion, authenticity, quality, and service. Sustainability has been a priority for us, with significant efforts made four years ago to introduce new materials and production methods following extensive research and testing. Today, we’re proud to be experts in producing eco-acetate, recycled acetate, and packaging made from organic cotton, among other sustainable practices.

The theme of our 10th issue, “Frenzy,” evokes excitement and energy. How does this theme resonate with polette’s brand identity?

When does it not? (laughs) We are always on the lookout for the next thing—new markets, collections, collaborations, or events—to satisfy our team and customers. In life, I’ve learned that things take time to reach their full potential, but you have to start somewhere. You try, test, fail, and start over until you succeed. This is what “Frenzy” evokes for me and for polette. After 13 years, not everything has been perfect, but our energy, excitement, and fighting spirit have shaped polette into what it is today.

polette showroom in Antwerp

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming collaboration through this interview, launching an exclusive pair of sunglasses to celebrate our new issue. Can you offer our readers a glimpse into the inspiration behind this pair?

The inspiration behind the exclusive pair of sunglasses created for the Numéro Netherlands x polette collaboration draws from a fusion of elements that reflect the essence of both brands. From avant-garde fashion trends to artistic movements, the design encapsulates a blend of innovation and style, aiming to capture the spirit of the new “Frenzy” issue and resonate with fashion enthusiasts. Expect a combination of sleek yet bold aesthetics, wild curvatures, and perhaps even nods to iconic themes relevant to the collaboration’s narrative. Ultimately, these sunglasses are crafted to embody the unique vision shared by Numéro Netherlands and polette, offering wearers a distinctive accessory that transcends trends and celebrates creative expression and, moreover, freedom.

Any unique features or design elements that set it apart?

Nearly everything sets this frame apart from anything we’ve done before. As you know, we’re not just designers but also producers of frames and lenses, so believe me when I say that our team of designers really pushed the boundaries of creation in recent years. But this time, the flipping features took a lot of work to make them as smooth and stable as they are. In terms of appearance and fashion, this is clearly a first. When collaborating with Numéro NL on this frame, my motto was “to make it unique,” and I believe we succeeded. This is how Kevin, our head of design, describes it: “Drawing upon our unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, we created exclusive molds, through which our in-house designed components were expertly shaped and seamlessly merged together, birthing a harmonious symphony of captivating curvatures and faceted finishes.”

How does this collaboration with our magazine align with polette’s brand ethos and values?

I see Numéro Netherlands as extremely fashionable and bold in the articles, photoshoots, and style. You’re always striving to push boundaries, spark interest, and pursue excellence. These are values we hold dear at polette as well. Collaborating with you has been a fantastic experience, and I have no doubt that the Frenzy Frame will be a resounding success.

How do you approach collaborations in general with other brands, and what do you look for in potential partners?

We’re highly selective when it comes to collaborations. We trust our instincts and gravitate towards working with people with whom we enjoy conversations and sharing a meal. It’s essential for us to establish a personal connection and ensure that our values, work ethic, and demands align. When these elements come together, collaboration becomes smooth, enjoyable, and fruitful. It’s crucial that everyone involved in a project fully believes in it and commits to its success. If the energy behind a project isn’t aligned, its potential for success is limited.

Looking ahead, what other exciting projects or collaborations can we expect from polette in the future? Any hints or teasers you can share with us?

I can already reveal that we have plans for further global expansion. With a plethora of projects in our pipeline and an incredibly dynamic team, you can anticipate more showroom openings, market expansions, and collaborations on the horizon—all while maintaining our unwavering focus on quality and service.

polette showroom in Paris