With a masterful aesthetic eye, and a pinch of interior magic, The Invisible Collection has cumulated some of the most breathtaking decor and designers as a luxury design marketplace.
Founded in 2016 by Anna Zaoui, Isabelle Dubern-Mallevays and Lily Froehlicher, The Invisible Collection is the leading online marketplace for discovering beautiful designs from the world’s most renowned talents. As trailblazers in imagery and product, textural ambience comes to life within every room they piece together. Its polished and inventive take on modern tranquillity and bliss have captured the eyes and minds of so many. We had the pleasure of speaking to Lily Froehlicher, Managing Director of The Invisible Collection about her journey with The Invisible Collection since its inception, lending her keen artistic lens to the curation.
We discuss her journey in luxury design, her inspirations, and her favourite hotels who have gotten their interiors just right.
You have a fashion background, what brought you to interiors?
My dreams of pursuing a career in the luxury industry were first and foremost driven by a passion for craftsmanship and a real admiration for the exquisite know-hows passed on from generation to generation…
The move from fashion to interiors made sense for me – I have always been attracted to the latter’s sustainable, timeless charm and there is obviously a natural affinity between the two worlds of fashion & design (and more and more so, a huge amount of crossover).
A number of the craftsmen we work with today have strong bonds with fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior and Hermes – the embroiderer Lesage, the goldsmith Goossens, the fabric-maker Loro Piana… I could go on!
Many of our designers too have started in fashion, take Vincent Darre who became an interior designer after having been personal assistant to Karl Lagerfeld, head designer at Moschino and creative director of Emmanuel Ungaro. It is fascinating to see how a simple combination of shapes, materials, textures and proportions can influence the way you feel, both in fashion and interiors.
What does luxury mean to you?
For me, luxury means creativity… History of Art… The hand… Culture… Detail… And importantly, passion.
I’ve heard you refer to ‘silent luxury’? Tell us more.
Luxury is not what you show but how you feel.
What was your biggest take away about the customer experience when you were dealing with these luxury brands?
People are willing to wait if you are able to convey a beautiful story and testify to the intricacies of what’s behind each object. I also learnt the importance of kindness, transparency and ultimately human relationships – top clients don’t only have an emotional relationship with the brand but also with their sales advisor.
How do you think the luxury space has adapted to the digital marketplace?
Convenience. The pandemic has accelerated a process that was already in motion. However, it’s important to note the digital experience must always be enhanced by human connection.
The Invisible Collection is an incredible platform, what made you see its potential in the beginning? And how have you helped carry that vision out since its inception?
It seemed crazy to me that all of these fabulous designers did not have a distribution channel. We quickly realised our business model was very disruptive although it felt so obvious to us. Showcasing different designers with wholly unique creative visions on a single platform was quite novel at the time. It had a no-frontiers, international appeal that caught mine and everybody’s interest. From the beginning, our decision-making process has always been informed by a set of values that lie at our core. Our commitment to preserving craftsmanship and championing social responsibility has always been at the top of our agenda and is what keeps us all so invested every day.
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Can you tell us about your day-to-day life within the company?
Today my main goal is growing and empowering the team and making sure we offer a flawless client experience. There are no mundane purchases on The Invisible Collection and every purchase comes hand-in-hand with high expectations – whether it be a pair of cushions intended as a gift for a friend, or a high value bronze dining table.
The client experience can only be constant and flawless if every element of our business is streamlined and our teams are both empowered and passionate. As a founder I’m still very much involved with every aspect of the business and I still visit most of our artisans. In all honesty, I can’t resist helping out with special deliveries… The sheer joy of seeing a breathtaking piece of furniture find its rightful place in someone’s home, and the joy it brings to the client, is unmatched!
We know you are passionate about contemporary design, can you tell us a little bit about your own inspiration and aesthetic?
Jean Michel Frank! Brazilian design strikes the perfect balance between European sleekness and tropical playfulness…
What advice do you have for people who are wanting to really curate a personal design aesthetic?
Read, research, travel… Don’t copy and don’t be afraid to try things out… Invest in beautifully made pieces and never rush.
We know the intersection between luxury and sustainability is very important to you, how do you see that relationship evolving into the future?
Luxury is in essence sustainable as it is all handmade in very small quantities, in virtuous economic eco systems. I am excited to see more recycled materials being embraced and more companies getting certifications such as the SFC certificates that proves they source their raw materials in sustainable ways. At The Invisible Collection, we are committed to minimising our impact in every way we can. We are proud to be the first in our industry to offset the carbon footprint of all transport and delivery.
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Do you think the pandemic affected people spending on their homes given they spent more time at home?
I think people felt a new kind of need to feel comfortable at home and to exist in a space that portrayed who they were, their taste and their values. So yes, home became the new destination and evolved in that way. Even though people have started travelling again, they’ve also realised that home is a sanctuary, the true safe place that welcomes them back when they return – as such it deserves to be cherished and beautified, endlessly!
Any particular brands you work with that you’re particularly excited about?
Right now I’m very excited about Garce Dimofski, Noe Duchaufour Lawrance and Aline Asmar d’Amman and their entrancing furniture collections which will be available exclusively through us (coming soon!)
Which hotels do exquisite interior design? Why?
Maisons Pariente – French interior designer & architect Charles Zana (who is on our roster & we admire very much!) has curated the interiors for a few of their outposts – gorgeously intimate, magical retreats…
Who is one of your biggest design inspirations?
Isabelle and Anna, founders of The Invisible Collection! They are design buffs and obsessed with interior design: they can easily recall a piece of furniture they saw 20 years ago in a magazine, or the name of a landscape gardener in a Belgian property… Their taste is so cultured and personal, and their homes incredibly chic, yet wholly comfortable.