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Paul Szczerba, creator of Balibaris

Fashion | October 28

Established nearly 10 years ago, off the back of its ties, Balibaris now offers an entire wardrobe of fashionable and comfortable essentials. Intended for all men, Balibaris creates carefully cut and beautifully finished pieces from quality materials selected with care.


With the first wintry chill well on its way, Le Bon Marché met Paul Szcerba, founder of Balibaris, who was happy to share some secrets about his brand, not to mention expert advice for embracing the new season in style.

Hi Paul, tell us how Balibaris came to be...


Balibaris is a brand I "selfishly" created in 2010. At the time, I was leaving school and really wanted to start up on my own and devote myself to a project in connection with consumers. Coincidentally, I was already interested in fashion, but couldn’t find a label I could wear head to toe. I wanted to launch my label based on a strong yet simple concept, of course: well-tailored men's essentials in beautiful materials.


So, I threw myself into establishing the label in August 2010 with the slightly crazy idea of producing the first pieces by the end of that same year. The only items I then found to turn out quickly were ties. But it was important to me that Balibaris wasn’t labelled as a single product brand. Owing to the success of the ties, it wasn't long before we were able to bring out the rest of the collection, clothes and accessories included.


In 2012, I opened my first store on Rue de Marseille in Canal Saint-Martin, Paris. These premises meant I was able to portray a universe featuring films and very careful décor, reflecting my passion for antique furniture and second-hand finds.

Why turn your attention from ties to creating an entire wardrobe?


For me, Balibaris is more than a clothing brand, it’s a lifestyle brand. Balibaris certainly offers wardrobe staples and accessories like shoes and leather goods, but there are everyday items such as candles and notebooks as well. The brand aims to dress men from head to toe, every day of the week, while telling a real story.


How would you describe Balibaris style and the concept behind it?


The original idea was to create the perfect wardrobe of essential pieces, combining great cuts and beautiful materials at a fair price.
I also wanted to offer an entire wardrobe, i.e. something formal like a suit jacket or derby shoes, as well as more casual pieces like a sweatshirt or T-shirt, for mixing and matching with each other, depending on the occasion or on your mood. Style wise, I’m hugely inspired by those within my circle and people I pass on the street. I’m a real sponge and that comes through in my collections.

As far as style is concerned, I am very inspired by those around me and by the people I meet on the street.

Exactly how do you decide which materials and manufacturers to work with?


We work with major historic manufacturers, each specialising in one particular material. For tweed, we look to England or Scotland; for poplin, attention turns to Italy; for jersey, it’s Portugal. A huge amount of time goes into selecting the materials, which is both a guarantee of quality and a distinctive feature of Balibaris. We also develop exclusive colours and patterns to make our pieces unique.

How would you define the concept of "essentials"?


In my opinion, "essentials" is the word that’s best suited to menswear. It’s not about inventing a new kind of coat, when we already have iconic and timeless styles to choose from. Our goal isn’t to reinvent the trench coat or even the bomber jacket, but to tweak a detail, a shape, a particular colour... to make it more modern.
"Essentials" can also refer to the concept of functionality. I want Balibaris clothes to be practical, without forsaking style. Quality basics you feel good in.


Which of the Balibaris pieces are must-haves for the autumn/winter season?


The piece that immediately comes to mind is the aviator jacket, which we revisited this season, creating a modern wool cloth version. The micro houndstooth motif, patch pockets and real sheepskin removable collar make it a mid-season staple when teamed with a white T-shirt and a pair of trainers, but it can also be worn with a chunky high neck sweater in the middle of winter.

Getting up every morning without feeling like I'm working is a real opportunity and I can only encourage everyone to live from their passion.

Which of the Balibaris pieces are must-haves for the autumn/winter season?


The piece that immediately comes to mind is the aviator jacket, which we revisited this season, creating a modern wool cloth version. The micro houndstooth motif, patch pockets and real sheepskin removable collar make it a mid-season staple when teamed with a white T-shirt and a pair of trainers, but it can also be worn with a chunky high neck sweater in the middle of winter.


What’s the best fashion advice you could give someone?


First and foremost, be yourself. More to the point, never try to play a part or be like anybody else. The person staring back at you in the mirror should be who you really are. It sounds easy!

Perfect look for spending Sunday in Paris?


A chunky sweater and jeans with a pair of derby shoes and you're good to go!


Favourite place to go on the Rive Gauche?


The Balibaris offices are located on the Rive Gauche, in the 7th arrondissement, not far from Le Bon Marché. My favourite thing about the area are the parks, especially the Jardin du Luxembourg, where I love going for a walk. Otherwise, it's the "Le Cherche Midi" restaurant on Rue du Cherche-Midi, where I usually have lunch. It’s a traditional Italian with old-fashioned décor, but I think it serves the "best pasta in Paris!".

Discover the Balibaris area, to be found on Level -1