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Djibril Cissé, the dandy of the round ball

March 22 2017

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The striker of Yverdon Sports FC has a passion for football, but not only: he is passionate about perfumes, watches and fashion. Djibril Cissé has created his own brand of sportswear clothing, Monsieur Lenoir, and a second line, Mavros, more pointed, while he dreams of wearing kilts and skirts of Yohji Yamamoto. He has also created a paradoxical perfume, which expresses both his exacerbated masculinity and a totally assumed femininity. Meeting at Folies Bergère. - Isabelle Cerboneschi, Paris.

It was during a party at the Folies Bergères, in Paris. Funny place for a meeting. Pianist Joachim Horsley, who plays Cuba's Beethoven symphony, was performing on a European stage for the first time. On the seat, right in front of me, was sitting Djibril Cissé. It's not so much his stature - 1m83 - that impressed me, as his perfume. He emanated from him a paradoxical fragrance, both masculine and feminine, something aquatic and flowery at the same time, but a dangerous flower, carnal, like a tuberose.

At the end of the show, I could not help but ask him the name of his perfume. "It's mine," he says, "it's me who created it, its name is Monsieur Lenoir."

And the conversation continued, on the perfume, on his own brand of clothing, on the one he dares not yet launch because it might not be the taste of his fan club. It was also about his desire to wear kilts and the influence of a suit on the posture of a man. He also spoke about his tattooed wings in the back and the bond of friendship that binds him to the team of the watch brand Corum, which he has been a client of since 2002 and with whom he co-created a model, to discover at Basel.

In short, there was not a lot of football, a bit all the same. The striker of Yverdon Sports FC is a dandy. He realized that I did not know anything about it ...

IC: You are a man who wears a fragrance with extremely feminine notes. Where did this desire come from?
For me, the senses are very important. Apart from the facade and the beauty of a person, the smell plays a big role in human relations. Since childhood, I am fascinated by perfumes. Despite a strong masculinity, I have a feminine side, like everyone else and I totally assume it. I like to take care of myself, to have a beautiful skin, to smell good. One day I was offered to launch a perfume. I said yes, but I did not just want to stick my name on a bottle: I really wanted to be involved in the project. At the time, I was wearing Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir and l'Eau d'Issey, I also put oil on Oud because I lived in Qatar, and I wanted a perfume that would bring all this together . Five prototypes were made and I finally chose the one that became the perfume Mr. Lenoir, named after my clothing brand.

Why do you wear women's perfumes?
I like their finesse. The perfumes of men are often too strong and catch in the throat.

And yours, is it still on the market?
No, it worked so well that we are out of stock. I must have about ten flasks left. There are still many requests today, but the Grasse factory I was working with closed down. I am looking for another partner who could do it again. Everything already exists: the name, the packaging, the bottle, the fragrance ...

What perfume did your mother wear?
She wore perfumes of Chanel, Dior too. They rocked my childhood. We Africans, we particularly like to dress, to be presentable, to be beautiful and to feel good. It's a tradition. I bathed in these smells. Maybe that's where I got the urge to make a perfume.

Do you scent when playing football?
Yes, before playing I put deodorant, perfume. Some do not understand, but for me it's a form of respect for the opponent.

Do you feel like you're incarnated in this bottle?
Yes, its colour is matte black, it is very masculine, the packaging too, but it is only outside: inside, we find this part of me, which is feminine and sensitive. The juice is very feminine released from a bottle. In fact it's me. It's a mixed perfume. I was asked to make a female version, but I find it very well like that. I think I would have missed, because I do not have the experience of what women wear.

Did you create a clothing brand because you did not find things on the market that made you want to?
No, I dream of wearing kilts or skirts. But with my brand I listen to my fans and I try to adapt to what is done. My target is the 15-40 years: but many young people would not dare to wear kilts.

Why do you want to wear a kilt?
I do not know. It's my thing. These are probably my African roots. We, men, in Africa, wear boubous, clothes that look like dresses or even skirts. Besides, I'm a fan of Japan and Japanese designers, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto. Maybe I should do two lines of clothing. I have another brand called Mavros, which means black in Greek, and that looks a little bit more like me. While Monsieur Lenoir, is more street, more commercial, even if I take pleasure to make these clothes and to wear them.

Do you work with a stylist?
No, I decide everything. I have my ideas, I know exactly what I want to do and share with people. I do not necessarily need a stylist. I work with a graphic designer for logos and designs, and I have been making clothes in a factory in Portugal for about four or five years. They know what I want, the prototypes come out pretty quickly.

And your second brand Mavros, where can we find it?
I made the collection but I have not yet marketed. I do not know if it's not too pointed for my audience ...

You are very creative, you have created a perfume that looks like you, clothes, and football in all that?
My father was a player, he was an Ivorian international (Mangué Cissé, Ed), my older brother too (Abu Cissé, note). Football, it came to me, I had to do that. There was nothing else. School was not my thing, other sports either. But I did not play football like my father, or my brother, it was a passion.

What are you passionate about football?
Adrenaline, stress. I am an attacker, it is the one who scores goals, so I am the player who has to make the difference, and I have less the right to make the mistake. That's what I like: being in danger. And despite the stress, the expectations, I like to show that I can perform. Stakes games are what I like. Pressure is my driving force: that's what motivates me to be good. I never resigned myself, I never gave up.

The photo of your Facebook profile shows you shirtless, fully tattooed. At what age did you start tattooing yourself?
At 17 years. It's been twenty years now. When we start, we put it everywhere, even on the fingers, on the feet.

Do your tattoos tell your story?
I tattooed the names of my children. I have a virgin and wings in the back because Djibril is the Archangel Gabriel. I got tattooed too ?? funny things, I made bets with friends ...

On your photos off the field, we often see you in costume. Does this change an attitude, to wear a suit?
Even though I have a streetwear side, I love wearing costumes. We behave differently, we wear a different body when we are in tracksuit or tie suit. It may be said that "the habit does not make the monk", but in any case, the habit makes the attitude. You can not stand bent, you have to stand straight, elegant in a suit jacket. Walking with sneakers or city shoes, it also changes your gait.

Do you have your own custom costumes made?
I have a tailor in Greece who knows exactly what I like, the fabrics, the cuts. I met him when I played in Greece. We made an agreement: I represented his mark and he provided me with a suit. It is not always a question of money, the representation:. I make collaborations with associations, artists, and there is no money involved. When I love, money is not the engine.

And what about your collaboration with the watch brand Corum?
It's strange this story. When I arrived in Switzerland, I asked my agent to put me in touch with this brand. I loved their watches and I had my first 2002 Bubble. A week later, I receive a message from Philippe Biard, Jerome Biard's son, the CEO of Corum, on Instagram. He wanted to work with me. I called my agent to congratulate him, but he did not have time to contact the brand. The will was the same on both sides. In the beginning, we negotiated a right to the image, but today we have passed this stage. I do not want to hear about it anymore. They became pals. When I participate in the creation of a model, I touch a percentage, which is normal, but that's it.

In a world where the so-called "ambassadors" of brands are content to cash a huge check just to take pictures, it is rather rare to meet someone who really participates in the creative process. What is the watch that you have co-created?
I do not know if the proto will be presented to Bâle. It's a black Bubble with a skull on the dial and 9 number in the mouth. Why the skull? I do not know, I like that, and the 9 number, because it's my number.

"Before playing I put perfume: for me, it's a form of respect for the opponent."

"I dream of wearing kilts or skirts. These are probably my African roots. We men in Africa wear boubous, clothes that look like dresses or even skirts. "

"We behave differently, we wear a different body when we are in tracksuit or tie suit."

"The habit does not make the monk, but the habit makes the attitude."