Conversation With: Raoul’s Odile Benjamin
We caught up with Odile Benjamin, half of the husband and wife team behind the brand Raoul. Odile and her husband Douglas live in Singapore, where they design the collection and travel frequently to New York and Europe to seek inspiration and meet with their customers. Raoul started in 2002 as a shirt brand for men. Within two years, responding to customer demand, they launched a women’s collection, and today have become a complete lifestyle brand for both men and women. The brand was first launched in Asia, where they have several Raoul stores.
NMdaily: What is the story behind the name Raoul?
Odile: Raoul is our son’s name. When he was 6 years old, he asked if we would pay him a $1 for every shirt we sold, since we “borrowed” his name.
NMdaily: Can you describe the Raoul woman?
Odile: A multi-tasking, assertive, confident woman who takes charge of her life. Although she has to juggle many responsibilities in her daily life, she knows what she wants, and is looking for function and quality in her wardrobe. She is sophisticated and understands quality.
NMdaily: What was your inspiration for Spring 2012?
Odile: I was inspired by that adrenaline rush that comes with the anticipation of Summer. We called it “The Fast Look” with eye catching, bold and bright traffic-light colors such as Hot Pink, Pumpkin, Summer Green and Cobalt. The lines are very graphic, reminiscent of the minimalism of the Nineties with lighthearted whimsical twists. After all, Summer is all about having fun!
NMdaily: What is your best styling advice?
Odile: Go for quality rather than quantity. Understand your sensibilities, and let your sense of style reflect your personality.
NMdaily: Stars are starting to wear Raoul. Who have you dressed and who would you like to dress?
Odile: Yes, we have been privileged to have several stars wear our designs. Giuliana Rancic, Viola Davis, Rebecca Romijn, Elle Macpherson, Emmy Rossum, Lea Michelle, among others. The stars I would love to see wearing Raoul are too many to list, but my greatest satisfaction comes from dressing my customers. I derive so much pleasure from seeing them enjoying my designs.
Raoul is sold at Neiman Marcus stores and NeimanMarcus.com.