interview by Marie-Pauline Cesari

It was an absolute honor to sit down with Thierry Gillier, the visionary founder of Zadig&Voltaire, a brand that holds a special place in my heart and journey. As someone who grew up with the rebellious spirit of Zadig, my inner teenager was undoubtedly screaming with excitement throughout this insightful interview. 

Zadig&Voltaire has not just endured; it has thrived over the past 25 years. While the brand has, of course, evolved, the spirit remains unwavering. 

“The spirit of Zadig&Voltaire has remained the same since the brand’s inception. It is marked by both strong creative freedom and a rebellious, unconventional identity. I see the future through the past.”

Thierry Gillier

Thierry gave me the brand’s anniversary book, a visual testament to its remarkable journey, as it embarks on a new chapter. This phase is dedicated to rediscovering the essentials, placing a spotlight on craftsmanship, and injecting a ‘rebel rock’ spirit into iconic pieces.

“This book is a visual representation of 25 years of my career… It summarizes what Zadig is.”

Thierry Gillier

During our interview, he proudly treated the book like a cherished child photo album, passionately revealing its content. At the core of the book lies an extract from Voltaire’s “Zadig,” the literary inspiration behind the brand.

“The book published for the brand’s 25th anniversary aims to showcase how, over this time, Zadig&Voltaire has broken conventions and positioned itself as a trailblazer in the fashion world.”

Thierry Gillier

The inauguration of Château Voltaire in 2021 seamlessly aligns with what Gillier terms the ZADIG lifestyle—an expansive concept that transcends mere fashion, extending its influence into the realms of art, decoration, and lifestyle. Located between the Opera and the Tuileries, the former headquarters of Zadig&Voltaire have transformed into an exclusive 5-star hotel, reminiscent of the iconic Château Marmont. Designed by the renowned duo Festen, the hotel offers an intimate atmosphere, establishing itself as a new glamorous haven in the heart of the capital.

Thierry expresses his contentment with the fact that people do not necessarily pigeonhole the brand within the confines of the place. He enthusiastically shares that the establishment has become a magnet for designers and celebrities in Paris, a testament to its allure and broad appeal. 

However, our interview primarily aimed to delve into the motivations behind Thierry Gillier’s return to the creative helm of Zadig&Voltaire. After taking some time to reflect, the decision to reassume the brand’s artistic direction reflects a profound desire to reconnect with its foundational essence. As his brother takes the presidency, Thierry embraces this familial governance, envisioning a future characterized by the creation of iconic, chic, and effortless silhouettes. «I wanted to return to the roots of the brand, with a more familial governance… In this new chapter, I plan to continue crafting around the Zadig&Voltaire lifestyle.” Thierry shared. 

“My mission is to connect music to fashion and art. To create bridges like I did at the beginning and bring that back now.”

Thierry Gillier

Zadig&Voltaire’s uniqueness lies in its independence. Thierry reflects on the changing landscape of the fashion industry, where many brands get acquired and transformed, contrasting Zadig & Voltaire’s steadfast approach.

“In the fashion industry, Zadig&Voltaire is unique. While many other brands have been bought, taken over, and transformed, Zadig&Voltaire remains independently owned by the person who founded it, for 25 years.”

Thierry Gillier

Reflecting on the brand’s impact, Thierry highlights how Zadig has become a global phenomenon. With a touch of nostalgia, he acknowledges the brand’s presence in the fashion world and the affection it holds in people’s hearts. “It’s a brand that interests us, and it’s a brand we want to grow with. It has a special place in people’s hearts.”