Stephanie, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Stephanie Delpon. I live in Paris, between my home in Montmartre, and the Marais where I work.
Your career path shows that you have a “double” profile. Tell us about it.
I have a natural inclination for literature and philosophy, a taste and predispositions that became deeper still during my literary foundation degree. It was a period of my life that I loved (demanding, certainly, but joyful). After that, I wanted to make the left hemisphere of my brain work, and to avoid having a one-track mind (at the time I was a bit of a literary caricature, and had difficulty adapting to the world). So I enrolled in a business school in Paris, and then I worked in finance, and in a technology start-up in the United States. It was anything but natural for me, and I frequently felt out of place. I’m glad I did it, even though it was so alien to me, and it gave me so much. I discovered perspectives that I could never have envisaged previously. And then, when I was about 25, I was finally able to devote myself to what I loved. I combined these two forces, these two polar opposites I set up my own advertising agency where I tell stories and translate a world of brands into images; and at the same time, I write and read a lot.
Whereabouts do you write at home?
I write mostly in the evenings. On a table in my bedroom, or on my pink carpet in the living room, on the floor. Basically, where I can spread the pages out in front of me! I also love libraries. They’re a place where I feel particularly comfortable. I feel like I’m a literature student again, whereas the reality is that I’m managing my two activities, one very practical and operational, my business, and the other more cerebral and intellectual, my passion for literature. I also write on public transport, where I capture scenes, words and situations as they occur.
This house is located on the Butte Montmartre, facing the vineyard, a stone's throw from the Sacré-Cœur. It is an enchanting place, and very vibrant.
The place where you live is rich in history. How did you find it?
Through insomnia, completely by chance, I stumbled upon this house in the middle of the night. It was as powerful and unexpected as a love affair… Hot flush, palpitations, heart racing. I didn’t think it was possible to live in Paris in a house surrounded by trees and the birds singing. So, of course, I did everything I could to have it. This house is located on the Butte Montmartre, facing the vineyard, a stone’s throw from the Sacré-Cœur. It is an enchanting place, and very vibrant. I’ve learned to live with tourists and their guides (whose stories I know by heart). They don’t bother me anymore. It’s a house where a famous painter had his studio.
In the beginning, this place was intimidating, almost too imposing for me. But I tamed it and created a bohemian atmosphere. I respected its “country house” atmosphere. (That’s where I come from, by the way.) I feel good here, it’s a woman’s house. It’s tranquil and secretive. Poetic.
How do you choose your furniture?
I don’t have a passionate fetish for architectural furniture or designer pieces, and my home isn’t sophisticated. I have a round wooden table in the dining room, cane chairs that I picked up on Leboncoin, and trestles as a desk. Where I do step in, add my personal touch and fill the space, it’s with my clutter of stones, candles, books and flowers. I like it when there are lots and lots of objects, so it feels a bit like a bordello. It soothes me, and it doesn’t feel over the top.
You mix your work as an art director with your other passion, literature. And literature also plays a big part in your interior. What would be your ideal library?
If you’re talking about my ideal library of authors, it would include Rilke, Mallarmé, Céline, Bachelard, Deleuze, Rimbaud, Cocteau, Saint-John Perse, Huysmans, Bukowski, Bergson and Drieu la Rochelle. (All blokes, sorry, and sometimes bastards). If you’re talking about the library as an object, the one I have I like very much. It’s six metres high and was hidden by a door. I opened it up because I only feel good when I’m surrounded by books; books everywhere. I can reach their spines by using a ladder. My latest whim is to sort them by colour (the Instagram spirit and my mad aestheticism are never far away…). I have another bookcase, symmetrical and secret, whose door I close. It contains the books I don’t regard so highly. Personal development and other American self-help manuals (how to hack your life, your breakfast or whatever). My Anglo-Saxon background makes me buy a lot of these books (spiritual, quantum, esoteric, that sort of thing). I enjoy reading them, but I don’t show them off.
What inspires you?
People on the underground, they fascinate me. I pay great attention to their gestures and their words. Sometimes I take pictures of them. And then I print them, frame them and live with these people around me. I like being surrounded by strangers. And by the gardens too, the bucolic atmosphere. I spend my life in similar spaces next to my house, looking at flowers, collecting Ginkgo Biloba leaves or making herbariums. And walking on the grass too. I grew up in these kinds of environments. And finally, books, which I devour in vast quantities. I take them with me everywhere, and give me hope and a lot of joy.
What do you like to surround yourself with when you are creating?
Music is important, and preferably loud music. Plants, flowers and herbariums (even if I now discipline myself with flowers, so as not to put my pleasure before the planet). Stones. My collection is becoming more and more invasive, and it’s taking up more and more space on my desk. And books (not that I want to appear repetitive).
What are your favourite places in your neighbourhood, Montmartre? And in the Marais, a neighbourhood where you lived for a long time?
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily