Eugénie, could you introduce yourself please?
I have several labels. I am Parisian by adoption, my heart is in Normandy, to some I’m a journalist and to others, a fashion editor. I love the luxury industry as much as I love horseriding, I have a passion for music and I play on Instagram in my spare time, swiping between my personal account and another, more lifestyle-oriented one called Gooodspot. Always with humour and a bohemian touch to spice things up!
What is your background?
I was born into the world of horses, not fashion. So treading the path between riding stables and Fashion Weeks is quite confusing, but I guess that for me that’s the spice of life. I lived in Normandy until I was 17, dedicating my entire life to riding horses and show jumping. Then, one day, I felt like seeing the world, so I went off to Paris to study literature and journalism. I wanted to work in the equestrian media, but I ended up at Vogue. First of all, in the US (this is an anecdote that few people have heard) where I did an internship at the French TV station, Place du Palais Bourbon. I loved it. And as I wanted more, I applied for a job at Vogue Paris. I’ve been working there for almost 10 years now. How time flies!
How was your education in “beauty”?
Beauty is relative, what pleases one person will displease another! And I always like to be slightly out of step with the notion of “good taste”. I’d say I’ve developed a certain eye over the course of my life and experiences. I went through several phases, both in terms of clothing (my Goth rock period in college was one of the craziest) and in terms of lifestyle and decoration: my first apartment in Paris was literally empty except for a bed, a small bar table and a chair, so as to keep the space (which was small) for parties and dancing. But, like many people, I learned everything from my grandmothers and my mother. Especially the taste for beautiful things, our beautiful things.
What does your job involve?
I’m in charge of the fashion section of the Vogue Paris website, and I write in the magazine from time to time but that’s a plus. On paper, I’m a journalist, but in reality, its much more complicated than that. We are called “fashion editors”. With the development of digital and social networks, we do our job ourselves. Basically, I write my articles, but I also publish them. I illustrate them, promote them on social networks and sometimes even create them from A-Z by making videos and shooting with talented teams. I’m a kind of fashion Swiss army knife.
What do you like most about the job?
Meeting people, travelling, discovering new things, new visions, new ways of creating. Fashion is a huge playground.
Since your beginnings at Conde Nast, which encounter has made the most impression on you?
Its funny, because it is a meeting that didn’t really take place. Let me explain: One day I had the opportunity to interview Hubert du Givenchy for an article. But he was already quite elderly, so we arranged this meeting by letter. I wrote him the questions on a nice piece of paper and he answered me in writing as well. The whole thing was finally transcribed and put up on the web. I think that’s amazing, it’s poetic in a way.
Who are the designers who helped to shape your vision of style?
Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang, Demna at Balenciaga and Vêtements. I like difference, the idea of making something new from the commonplace. Creating something surprising from the familiar, isn’t that what we all want to do? I’m very attracted to their particular way of doing things, acidifying colours and totally shaking up the cliches.
And what about those who have influenced your personality?
A bit like everyone else I think, it’s a jumble of inspirations that come from my friends, my family, my lovers… And then there are the “Voguettes”, all the girls at Vogue, they’ve always inspired me. I used to watch them out of the corner of my eye, now I am proud to be one of them.
What does your interior say about you?
As one of my cushions says it so well: your home is a portrait of you. I think my interior says everything about me. It’s a cheerful mixture of memories and new things gleaned over the years and my obsessions. I’ve been living in this apartment for seven years now, it’s grown and evolved along with me. I would say that the vibe is bohemian, quite cool, comfortable free and relaxed. You can easily guess my obsession for travelling (real or imaginary) with that big old school map of Argentina that hangs above the sofa and those Native American cushions, throws and carpets. Motley it is a pretty good way to define it. The antique mirrors, for example, come from my grandmother’s house, the table and the lamps were found as bargains and revamped by my mother, but the coffee table and the little chest of drawers came from Habitat and La Redoute. I don’t follow a particular style, the important thing is the personal touch, the touch that will make your apartment look like no other: what you put in your frames or on your walls, books lying around, cushions and blankets… There’s something quite funny that I do and that I’ve rarely seen elsewhere which is to incorporate fashion elements into decoration: necklaces on a door handle, nail polish, lipsticks or small bags arranged according to colour. When you don’t have much space, you optimise and kill two birds with one stone!
How have you furnished it?
As with clothes, I like this idea of passing things on, of a piece of furniture that tells a story. It’s an obsession that’s a family habit, since my mother is nothing less than a flea market fanatic. However, I’m not a vintage enthusiast. Once a piece of furniture enters my home, it becomes part and parcel of my interior, replacing it would be like tearing off a limb. Ask me about any room in my apartment, there will always be a tasty anecdote. Any examples? These cushions on the sofa that came from an Etro fashion show which I left with my arms full, fleeing from the street style photographers, these ashtrays that I stole from Caviar Kaspia during a drunken evening, these plates that I brought back from Italy in my suitcases, rolled up in my swimsuits…
What do you like to be surrounded by?
I have many obsessions! Number 1: If you want knick-knacks there are plenty here. Mine come from my grandmother’s house or from Astier de Villatte. I love their ceramics made in Paris (latest acquisition: my cat who smokes, pretty saucers for my incense and other little bits of sorcery, as well as offbeat and amusing Christmas ornaments). Number 2: the multitude of cushions (the ones in my bedroom come from the Italian brand I love, Lisa Corti, who clearly dressed the room). Number 3: candles (I have a passion for Trudon Wax – they design the most beautiful candleholders and I love the pretty diffuser that is in my bedroom). Number 4: Butterflies are a bit of a common thread in my apartment. Have fun looking for them.
You have recently created Gooodspot, an Instagram account where you list your best “bargains”. Can you give 5 of them (previously unpublished) exclusively to the readers of The Socialite Family?
Gergei Erdei: The interior design label that I discovered on the MatchesFashion website (their homewear selection is incredible). My dragon and lion placemats and cushions come from them. He’s an Italian designer who combines the hats of illustrator and embroiderer and has also worked in ready-to-wear at Gucci with Alessandro Michele, which is evident in his baroque, antique and seventies inspirations. Solimene: I’m going to tell you a very big secret too, the origin of my coloured crockery with these little fish, pigs, chickens and turtles. It comes from Solimene on the Amalfi coast, in Vietri sur Mare. You can also order online! Sabre: I recently launched a survey on Gooodspot to find a place where you can buy nice coloured cutlery to go with my crockery (always the same set). The results came in, it’s at Sabre’s in Paris. Jonathan Adler: everyone knows him, but he’s one of my passions as a decorator. I find the best gifts in the world. Ritual Incense: complete “mystic” kits on offer for all those who are interested. Heather Levine: something to match my hippie feel at the moment, chasing away bad vibes in style.
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily