Designer & Journalist
BEING A WOMAN IS...
Being lucky to be able to love a man and lucky for them to be loved by us. Being able to build a family. Being a woman is about procreation and giving birth to new things, new ideas. We are making babies, making projects, making time, all within an infinite schedule with infinite things to do. I like to say that I am a conductor of a pool of creative people, which men can be too, although we tend to conduct better.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT?
When I’m lost in a country where no one recognizes me, I like to travel and to be out of my comfort zone. When I’m in Paris, a city that I know full of people that I know, I bump into too many familiar things. I am more confident when I have to reinvent myself elsewhere.
WORDS YOU LIVE BY?
Il y a des Ecrivains qui ont besoin de geographies et d’autres de concentration: Des. Voyageurs et des voyants by the writer Nicolas Bouvier.
In English it translates to “There are writers who need geographies and those of concentration: The Travelers and Psychics.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR 20-YEAR-OLD SELF?
There is a Ghandi quote that says in order receive or give love you must first love yourself. I heard a philosopher at a talk once who doesn’t agree with that at all. The philosopher said that you have to love the world, nature, people and open yourself to life before you can learn to love yourself. If you only work on you, your world is small, once you open your world, you are able to love more of it and more of yourself. I would also tell myself to know what I want and to hook onto it. Not to let a good thing go – listen to your guts and make decisions based on what you want.
YOUR FASHION ICON?
Diana Vreeland, who used to say the eyes must travel.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND KILOMETRE?
Kilometre is the mix of my twenty years working in fashion and my trips. It’s a product of my early childhood in Senegal, to New York, and the globe as my home. I’ve always been a collector of world maps, road maps, hotel stationary, stamps; it’s an aesthetic I wish to share, the aesthetic of both tradition and contemporary inventions of the new-world.
I was fed up by the mundanity of in-flight entertainment and the tackiness of airline companies, and wanted to challenge the travel industry for its lack of fashion. While the worlds of art, hospitality and gastronomy migrate with the modern, the travel industry moves forward in bad taste. This fashion-travel story is so important. The world of gastronomy is super ahead, super fashionable, so is the world of art. Travel is a bit behind and I think we need to infuse a bit of fashion into the travel world. I was a teacher in Mexico and I had met communities of embroiderers. I had bought vintage nineteenth century linen shirts in the South of France and I had the idea to embroider onto them. From there, I called one of the students to help me find a community of women so I could be sure that the money went directly to them. I embroidered all these shirts with stories, with spots in the world that will be the St. Tropez of tomorrow.
BIGGEST MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
I think the major moment was when I stopped journalism and then I was hired to be the founding Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar France. I was travelling from New York to London to Milan, building and conducting a team and thinking of how to reinvent an American magazine for the French market. I got to experience working on the digital part which I had never before, until suddenly the Americans blew the project and decided not to come out in France after all. It was a real disappointment, a real shame that happened like an explosion at once. I think it is really sad that the magazine never came to France, and sad that there is no Harper’s Bazaar the way Diana Vreeland did it with all of her curiosity. I think it’s missing on the French market and this was a big moment for me.
FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE TRAVELED RECENTLY?
Tasmania. We went from island to island and ran with kangaroos.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR STAYING MOTIVATED?
To always be pressured and to be ready. To always have something to look forward to – always thinking ahead. To really speak about book two before finishing with book one.
WHAT IS YOUR ANTIDOTE?
No jet lag – when I’m in countries where I have jet lag I go to clubs to get tired. I also have an antidote against bad taste.