Restaurants have always played an integral role in some of our most memorable social experiences.
From the food— whether it be familiar or palate-pushing—to restaurants as a venue, providing unique meeting places and an ambiance that can stimulate and dazzle all 5 senses; dining out has the ability to leave you reeling with memories that can stay with you forever.
No one appreciates the restaurant experience quite like that of Pierre Boiselle. As the founder of the clothing label Reception, Boiselle has built a brand around commemorating his favorite dining destinations and experiences from around the globe. Based out of the culinary capital of Lyon, France, Boiselle selectively highlights his fondest food memories and presents them to the world on longsleeve tees, with relevant restaurant info on the front and decorative artist interpretations on the back
Today we find ourselves in a world we could have never imagined, a world where the restaurant experience is off limits to each and every one of us. Just like that, dining out is off the table. 86’d! And while its return is inevitable, now more than ever we can relish in, and relate to, Boiselle’s creative vision and stylish tribute to the great restaurants of the world and the experiences they can provide. Below is our interview with Reception founder, Pierre Boiselle. Dig in!
Tell me about how the brand came to be? What inspired it?
Both my wife and I always wanted to start our own brand. After living abroad I moved back to Lyon in 2016 where we have settled down and had kids since. Lyon is great from a family/lifestyle perspective, however if you work in the fashion industry, you better create your own business, as there is no opportunity in that field locally. A chosen lifestyle, for good or bad, is what inspired us, and of course a rooted passion for fashion, art, travel and food.
Do you remember when you first came up with the idea? Was it over a meal? If so, where?
Yes, the idea came to me while we were in NY back in October 2016. We were there for a long weekend doing what is common to do in NY— walking, shopping, dining. At some point we made a stop at Fanelli on Prince & Mercer for a few drinks. By then I was really desperate to start something, and drinks helping, I tried to identify what was interesting in our life that I could translate into clothes. My first thought was skateboarding, but I don’t skate anymore (skateboarding is still a huge inspiration to me from a community, and of course, from a style perspective) and it felt super non-legit for me to use it as a medium. So, once again I asked myself, ‘what’s cool and inspiring in my life?’ And instantly I realized that traveling and meeting people was it! The idea of an international community was what I was aspiring to. When abroad you usually met in bars & restaurants, right? So I thought I should celebrate these places as dots connectors and eventually for their food, wine, quality.
What was your background before the brand? Do you have any background working in restaurants?
I worked for over 6 years for Edwin Europe, the European license of the Japanese Denim brand Edwin. Edwin Europe is part of « Work in Progress ». I did almost every job there, met friends for life and was so lucky to travel a lot.
How many restaurants have you memorialized with a shirt so far?
Twenty-nine: including two bars, one picnic location, one club and an ice cream trolley.
What are your criteria for choosing a restaurant to pay homage to on a shirt?
It’s the souvenir shared at the place, whether it’s with friends, colleagues, lovers…. Ninety percent of the time the food quality is not leading our choice.
Do you let people know you are doing a shirt based on their restaurant? If so, how have they been received? Has there ever been a restaurant that wasn’t into the idea?
For a great majority of them we have been in touch with the owners, and all of them were really happy with it, except one. Since then the relationship has positively evolved and we should be releasing new stuff together, but I won’t say who for now.
When you go out to eat, how do you pick a restaurant?
I mostly ask for recommendations from the locals. No need for guidebooks.
What was the last great meal you ate?
I am right now in Mauritius… fresh raw tuna yesterday.
Tell me about Lyon. Is it as great of a culinary town as people say it is?
Yes, historically Lyon is a great place for food, but unfortunately super conservative. Paul Bocuse, who passed away a few years back, is a huge institution that has turned into a big business locally. A great majority of the typical dishes are very rich and are not what we eat on a daily basis.
Do you sell your clothes locally in Lyon?
We have one customer in Lyon called Summer. Stephane is a friend and the store selection is great. It will be a dream to open our own space but I still can’t figure out if it should be a store or a bistrot.
Are you well known around Lyon for this endeavor?
No, we are still very new, and as I said the city is pretty conservative, but hopefully this will change. We should be actors not haters.
Do you get travel to other cities for the brand, or do you fit in these experiences in your spare time as part of vacation and general travel?
Traveling is the main motivation, so while traveling we always scout for new places and new people to meet.
What is your favorite restaurant city?
Can you name your Top 5 restaurants? Or is that impossible?
It’s impossible, but I can name five restaurants I love:
-Le Cabaret Tokyo
-Kaikaya - Tokyo
-Bistrot Senior - Lyon
-Gargani - Firenze
What is your favorite part of a meal?
I love the cigarette break after your starter with a glass of wine while having a chat with someone.
Have you ever had a bad meal at a famous place?
Yes I did, and I felt bad about it because I invited my friends from WOODWOOD there.
I won’t name the place, this is personal and we never want to be food critics in anything we do.
Tell me about the art. Who does the art and how is it conceived?
I work very closely with my art director Clement Bertrand. I normally brief him visually on the spot and he starts from there.
Who is the Maggi you mention on one of your shirts?
Ahaha! Maggi used to run a little beach bar on Koh Phangan Island. She served very common drinks but sold very good weed, which we enjoyed every day!
When and why did you decide to branch out and extend your focus to casual wear and apparel beyond the graphic tees? Did that present you with any challenges?
Since Day One the idea was to launch an apparel line in addition to our graphic tees. The challenge is huge, especially from a production point of view, but everyday we learn and already this is rewarding.
Would you care to comment on our recent state of affairs given the current restrictions on dining?
We have faith in tomorrow, but everything we love is cancelled. We work on our contribution to go back to (new) normal life.