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Cool, feminine, effortless — when it comes to quintessential Parisian style, ba&sh is the brand that first comes to mind. The brains behind the label are best friends Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief, who left their professions in public relations and law to team up and jump into the fashion arena. Fast forward 15 years, and the female founders have built up a cult fanbase and a global empire that spans almost 300 stores worldwide, including one at Pacific Place.

Here, The Style Sheet sits down with the pair to discuss everything from quintessential French dressing to their favourite flea market haunts.

1. The two of you are best friends. What connected you?

BB: We met at school when we were doing our baccalaureates. Sharon lived alone in Paris and I lived with my family in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and we both had to go to Arcueil for a test. We didn’t know each other, but we had two very good friends in common.

SK: One of them asked if I could host Barbara at my house. I only had one bed in my small apartment. As crazy as it sounds, she agreed to spend the week at my place, and I shared my bed with her, without ever having seen each other. We passed the baccalaureate, then went on vacation together and we never left each other.

2. What was the moment that made you decide to team up on a fashion label?

SK: To tell you the truth, we didn’t know we wanted to do this before the opportunity arose, but we’d always been interested in fashion — we used to scour the shops every time we travelled. So, we had nothing to lose, everything to gain.

3. You both quit your jobs and launched the label with no formal design training. What made you take that leap of faith?

BB: Sharon did four years in law. I went to communication and PR business school and worked in a fashion press office. We were young mothers, almost at the same time, and we devoted ourselves to our children for a few years. And then, in 2003, when we felt the need to rework our lives, the perfect opportunity arrived: the man who became our partner, Dan Arrouas, offered us carte blanche to do something. His company produced pieces for various ready-to-wear brands,he had an unused shop at the entrance to his offices and he offered to let us do what we wanted.

4. What did you set out to achieve with ba&sh?

SK: The idea was to dress ourselves first, then our girlfriends and finally our clients. What we wanted were clothes that didn’t sting, that didn’t scratch, that we could move around with, and that weren’t sold at astronomical prices. It worked because it was relevant.

5. What was the most challenging part of the early days?

BB: We weren’t moulded by a classic fashion apprenticeship. We approached things in a very simple way, like wondering how we wanted a shirt to fall on us, what outfit we wanted to wear to work, what dress we needed to go to a wedding.

6. If you could tell yourselves anything now about running a fashion business when you started, what would it be?

BB: To stay true to ourselves: we’ve always done things at our own pace, following our desires and our intuition.

7. How did not having a fashion background help in your journey?

SK: Being self-taught was actually a strength. We approached things from the consumer's point of view and we moved forward as we felt, in very simple ways.

8. What’s the best part about working with your best friend? What’s the most challenging part?

BB: Being together. Since we met, we’ve never left the other’s side! We share a lot of things: we work together, we visit exhibitions, go shopping, party and do sports too, especially yoga and Pilates! Doing all these things we always find a way to talk work, because all our inspirations come from these and from being together. There is no challenge in working together because friendship is the foundation of this business. Between the two of us it’s very natural — we always push ourselves to give the best of ourselves, we inspire each other.

9. What are your individual roles within the business?

SK: We’re involved in all the decisions of the brand — it’s still our baby.

10. Which ba&sh piece do you wear the most?

BB: We always wear a maxi dress with a beautiful prints and we always add a belt to bring character to the look.

11. What’s your favourite current season piece?

SH: We’re very proud of the Creative Lab capsule collection that we co-created with our ‘bashettes’ that will be released in June. It’s a collection of formal dresses in bright colours and really cool prints.

12. ba&sh is built on French style. How would you describe the French approach to getting dressed?

SK: Parisian style is about being feminine with a slightly sexy side, but never vulgar or flirtatious. ba&sh is a Parisian solar brand — we want to show our desire for colour, our joie de vivre, our love of the sun rather than darkness. Also our ethics, since our pieces push the idea of eco-responsibility.

13. What’s your favourite Paris neighbourhood and why? 

BB: My favourite is Saint-Germain-des-Prés for restaurants — I love the Bar des Prés, the restaurant of chef Cyril Lignac. It’s a typical Parisian neighbourhood with its cobblestone streets.

14. What flea market or other unique Parisian shopping spot should we make sure to visit if we go to Paris?

BB: You absolutely have to go to the Merci concept store in Paris, which is located right next to our showroom. You can find great decorative objects and ready-to-wear designers. It’s an opportunity to discover new things.

15. You design your collections in Ibiza. How does the creative retreat inspire you?

SK: At the start of the season, we go with our entire studio to my house in Ibiza. Ibiza has a special place in our hearts because we’ve built so many memories there. Barbara even bought a house there! She called her house Los Amigos to show what a peaceful haven it is for friends and family. It’s a place where we can relax, and do some Pilates and yoga.

16. Sounds idyllic! What’s your creative process?

BB: It's a house that has two lives — it turns into a design studio twice a year. With Sharon and our style team, we design our collections there, in October and February. We spend a week fully focused on creating the new collection. We start to make choices of cuts, colours and prints. We also do the shoots there. The windows look like moodboards — we tape up pieces of fabric, print samples and colour schemes.

17. If we visit Ibiza, where should we be sure to visit?

BB: My favourite places are the Experimental beach to admire the sunset, the beach of Cala Jondal and the hippie market Las Dalias. And of course, there’s Pacha to go dancing!

18. What’s your style motto?

SK: Wear a look that makes you feel good.

19. Who are your style muses?

BB: Kate Moss inspired us a lot, with her volcanic side, as do Romy Schneider and Vanessa Paradis.

20. What’s on your moodboard for next season?

BB: We can’t say too much! But the season will be about a daring and creative energy, a sensation of exaltation. We’ll have some burgundy, old pink, limestone, off-white, camel, carbon, black and more…