That’s Clutch: An Interview with Designer Catherine Petree-Biron

The Standard - in a sea of Alejandro Ingelmo Shoes Photo Credit- Owen Hoffmann

New York-based fashion designer, Catherine Petree-Biron, developed a strong interest in unique vintage fabrics, jewelry, hats, and dresses from boutiques, flea markets, and estate sales during her childhood. Once she combined these different hidden treasures, House of Biron was born.

“I continually was looking for the “perfect event clutch” and never could find one,” Petree-Biron reveals. “It hit me… Why not design a Lucite clutch that women could customize with House of Biron’s fabrics and hardware to fit their creative styles?”

With its distinctive design, its originality, and its refinement, House of Biron’s Lucite clutch makes for the perfect day/evening clutch. “The concept behind the House of Biron’s Lucite clutches is to showcase the insert bag. The insert bag can fit your cell phone, makeup compact and anything else you need for an afternoon or evening out and about,” the designer explains.

How would you describe your style?

I would say I have an eclectic sense of style. I love mixing and matching! But my style is all about being chic (sometimes a little boho-chic) – and being confident. I love evening wear and fine jewelry. An evening gown is one of my favorites things to wear and design. On the other hand, I also love a crisp, white collared button shirt and fitting pair for jeans with some awesome accessories from a far off land. Of course, every look is always accessorized with a House of Biron clutch.

How do you define elegance and femininity?

To be elegant you must be confident, stylish, and carry yourself well. You must act like a lady; always look to make a fashionable statement, but do not draw all the attention towards yourself. Be refined. You should try to always act in a way that you can serve as a model for others. To be feminine you must put your best self forward- act like a lady, be confident (walk with confidence), love every inch of yourself, be funny, be supportive, and be compassionate. It’s less about what you are wearing and more about how you are as a person.

What inspires you?

There are a few things that “inspire” me. I am inspired by my amazing mother,Theresa, and my younger sister Isabel.  They both are chic, confident, and intelligent women who have shown me nothing but love and support over the years. I am inspired by my friendships. Lizzi Bickford Sned has supported my vision for House of Biron from the beginning. She wore one of my first bridal samples on her wedding day in Palm Beach, Florida back in April. Kathryn Rotella, who works in the Fashion industry in New York City, also has been by my side to talk through each collection. Both Lizzi and Kathryn are young and confident women. I am inspired by one amazing fashion icon; I have always loved and respected Oscar de la Renta. Oscar has inspired me since I was 13 years old as a young fashionista at boarding school at Indian Mountain in Lakeville, CT. I also love designers Miguelina Gambacci and Reem Acra, both [such] fantastic designers [who] use amazing fabrics.

I am inspired by the places I have travelled; I love learning about other countries and their cultures. I am inspired and energized the New York fashion industry. I am also inspired by women of New York that support young designers.

House of Biron’s clutches are unique and customizable pieces. Is it very important to you to keep an ounce of identity and originality, especially in a time where most women copy each other and often wear the same outfits and accessories?

Completely agree with that statement! I think that we live in a fashion-oriented society that is based on trends (what’s hot right now). My House of Biron clutches allow you make your own statement. It’s not what the magazines are telling you buy – it’s what speaks to you.

My Artisans Collection, which [has] sourced fabrics from around the world, was not sourced with the need to be “hot right now,” but to me each fabric has a story and by wearing one of those fabrics you are helping tell their story. The fabrics we have found that cannot be bought in a fabric store in New York or anywhere else in this country- that is what makes House of Biron different.

What is your favorite House of Biron’s clutch?

That’s a hard one. My favorite is The Standard. It is crisp and clean with black and white lines: a perfect clutch for the summer.

What would you wear to go on a date, a business dinner, a charity gala?

My husband, Laurent Biron, loves The Standard and The Pink Peony so on date night those are my go-tos. At a business dinner or dinner with friends, I would either wear The Oscar or The Magnet (depending of the outfit and other accessories). My favorite for evening wear and galas is The Bella (named after my sister Isabel) – it’s lush and makes a statement.

Since summer is coming we’d love to know your must-haves.

There are two must-haves this summer: The Standard for daywear and The Bella for evening wear (the gold bag just pops).