Ever thought decoration was a vehicle for optimism? For Anais Seguin and Alice Gras – the creative duo behind Girlzpop – there is no doubt! “Colourful, bold and positive”, their Parisian apartment has a country air that reflects their identity from the furniture through to the colour palette they have chosen. Two creative women with a thousand and one ideas who allow themselves to be guided by their emotions. Not only in their professional life, but in their private life too! The two entrepreneurs, who also work together, have decided to use these sunny spaces on the fifth floor of this Haussmannian building to create and design their projects, as well as to entertain. Both a place to live and a place to work – where photoshoots and events follow one after the other – the two consultants have created a hybrid interior with a style that is “very much in the present”, a “place for sharing and experimentation”. Here, the imagination is given free rein. The various floral arrangements occupy different pedestals by day and at night, in line with Alice’s many DIY ideas. Playful creations that come to life in her expert hands when she’s not designing the furniture that goes into her living rooms. Self-taught, the two artistic directors also take great pleasure in exhibiting the work of craftsmen they admire, including lighting creations from Studio Numéroté. Captivated by their shapes, it is also because of the human element hidden behind each piece that the Parisian women choose these items to furnish their superb home. Because they set great store by their encounters. Encounters that bring inspiration, light and energy: “Life, other people and nature are infinite sources of inspiration”. The reason why Moyo Paris was born: the ultimate project, this time in the world of media and positive business. The result of a benevolent and open-minded attitude that has worked wonders for them!
Alice and Anaïs, can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Alice Gras and Anaïs Seguin, founders of the creative studio Girlzpop and the media MOYO dedicated to positive business.
What is your background?
After a literary baccalaureate in the plastic arts and a diploma in graphic design, I spent five years as an art director at G.L.A. Hotels, a company that developed well-known boutique hotels around the world. Back then, Instagram was in its infancy, and blogging was starting to take off. I was very much in tune with this new way of discovering and sharing things. So I created a blog and an account where I shared my two passions for cooking and graphic design. As a result, I was able to write several books, and it led to me meeting Anaïs.
I have a literary baccalaureate in theatre. I then went to school to learn audiovisual production and directing and started my professional life in the film industry. An exciting world where the Swiss Army knife approach is essential and where all the energy is directed towards the success of creative projects. It’s also a very tough environment emotionally. Meeting Alice opened up other professional perspectives that I had never imagined.
Tell us about your upbringing. Where did you grow up – and how did that affect your taste for beautiful things?
I grew up in a family where we express our love for each other a lot, a bit like a tribe. It’s a very traditional family but, at the same time, full of encouragement for creative pursuits. Piano, drawing and dance from the age of six. I write a lot of poems, too. I remember being really introspective. I was bullied at school for several years, which meant I developed a huge inner creative capacity, like a refuge.
I grew up like Alice, in the Paris suburbs. A very conventional everyday life where reading was an incredible opportunity for exploration. I remember my mother used to take us to the library every Wednesday afternoon, and I loved it. The muffled sound, the smell of books, wandering through the shelves and randomly opening pages of art books and novels. That’s how I came to the theatre, and that’s how I became passionate about it! I’ve been doing it for several years, and it has developed into a form of creativity that I call ‘practical’. My parents also regularly took us to exhibitions in Paris.
Life, other people and nature are infinite sources of inspiration.
As a duo in the city, just like on stage, you share a common vision of creativity that you pass on to the brands you collaborate with. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Life, other people and nature are infinite sources of inspiration. Everything inspires us: Ariane Mnouchkine’s theatre, the work of choreographer Ohad Naharin, Josef and Anni Albers’ use of colour, masterpieces created by Claude Monet and Yves Saint Laurent. Music plays a very important role, too. It’s the joy of our encounters and discoveries that inspire us the most. Colour is also fundamental to our work and our home; it is a reflection of our emotions and values. We’re not really focused on any particular era or trend, but more on who and what we encounter and the energy we get from that. In addition to this, travel and places play a major part in providing us with inspiration. Japan and Morocco, in particular, have left their mark on our creative approach. That’s why we don’t have any boundaries between private life, work and outside. It’s what makes us who we are and what we share.
How would you define your artistic style?
Colourful, bold and positive. It’s a style that is very much rooted in the present, one in which we have fun reinterpreting the heritage of the 20th century.
You are also the director of Moyo Paris media. Can you tell us what you mean by the term ‘positive business’? Who is your target audience?
MOYO was born out of the necessity to find answers to our needs. We are 100% self-taught entrepreneurs, which gives us great freedom but also considerable fragility. Looking around, we realised that many of us experience entrepreneurship in this way, and we understood the importance of role models and knowledge sharing to move forward. We also realised that there is a whole fringe of entrepreneurs who are developing their businesses out of a strong desire to match their needs with their values. This leads us to an aspect of entrepreneurship where the widely shared basis is positive business. It’s a form of business that has a positive impact on society, the environment and the life of the company. It’s about doing things, and doing them well for yourself and for others. MOYO aims to continue to inspire these entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your first encounter with the apartment you live in.
As is often the case, it was fate that put it in our path. It was a real encounter. First of all, there was the intense light flooding in, and the kitchen, which has certainly not changed for over 60 years with its unique history. Creative people have always lived here; it’s like it’s sharing a bit of magic with us. It dictates our decoration choices, with the historic green of the kitchen as the dominant colour. The curves of the window and the alcove make it very soft.
This interior is as much your living space as it is your working space. Creative workshops and rentals for special events are part of your daily routine. So how did you go about reconciling the private with the professional in its design?
We see the home as a place of sharing and experimentation in which we want to convey our feelings. There are no boundaries; we just live. Perched up on the fifth floor, it’s like being in a nest – the flat offers hospitality.
What does the place say about your personality?
That we have to allow ourselves to make, to test and to explore. That evidence is born of boldness and time. Trying things out and making mistakes are also part of the process if some form of harmony is to emerge. Everything we can’t find, we create with craftsmen, which leads to some exceptional collaborations. The mixture of personal creation and old pieces gives it its unique character.
Do you have a favourite piece on display here?
(Laughter) they all are, for different reasons! Designer pieces like the ceramic chandelier in Panijurek’s living room or the woven bedroom one by Studio Numéroté. Our beloved tables that we designed, that a friend of ours, the ironworker, designed and finally painted by a talented craftsman. In the same vein, we were looking for a piece of furniture that could accommodate the record player, the speaker and our small vinyl collection. We came across Squire’s Funiture, and it was love at first sight for his expertise! The carpets also have a very specific story behind them: we wanted pieces that would bring a bit of warmth, but nothing suited us. We discovered Lavinia, the creator of Color Therapis, and the desire to collaborate quickly became apparent. This exchange gave birth to the Giverny collection in homage to Claude Monet’s house which inspired us so much for this flat.
We see the home as a place of sharing and experimentation in which we want to convey our feelings.
You live in the 17th arrondissement. Why did you choose to settle in this area?
It wasn’t a choice. We loved the flat and found our feet in this district after we moved in. We spent our twenties in the 9th arrondissement and now our thirties in the 17th arrondissement where there are more parks than bars. We’re looking forward to seeing where life takes us next!
What are your favourite places here?
The three nearby parks for picnics in the sun: Martin Luther King Park, The Parc des Batignolles and the Parc Monceau. We also often visit the Museum of Romantic Life (a little further on) for its garden, the Museum of Montmartre (we have a passion for the shops and stalls of yesteryear) and the BAL (a place for artistic curation of contemporary images). And for the food (our passion): “Caducée” because everything is good, “chez Sam” for delicious Syrian home cooking. We also recommend the butcher’s shop “bourdenec” on rue de Lévis and the fishmonger “le petit chalutier” for its sustainably sourced fish. Finally, we buy all our flowers in the Batignolles covered market.
Where will we find you again in the near future?
We are taking over a corner at Fleux for three weeks from 8 to 26 June to present our selection of favourite designers in the shop. It’s a big step for some because they are not yet sold in the shops. We are truly honoured to have each and every one of these talents in our line-up and to highlight them. This will be a major first for Fleux and for us. We’re suffering a bit from stage fright!
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
A major source of inspiration and timelessly elegant collections. We love reading the profile; it’s so inspiring! It was truly an honour for us to present our home to you and to be among all these illustrious people.
Everything we can’t find, we create with craftsmen, which leads to some exceptional collaborations. The mixture of personal creation and old pieces gives it its unique character.
Photography Jeanne Perrotte – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily