Exuberant, but above all, free. This is the Estelle Chemouny way! A recognisable image that the influencer shares daily on social networks, and whose secrets she shares with us in the privacy of her home, alongside her husband and collaborator Elie. Working with Elie, the entrepreneur founded the Paradise Garage boutique on her return to Paris. A multi-brand where you can find subversive creations that highlight emerging designers “very little (or not) stocked in France”. Just like her own clothes! A range of pieces that, together, form bold and surprising associations, making her – by her own admission – “look like a character from Pirate of the Caribbean one day and Dalida the next”. So many inspirations accumulated from a very young age, whether on the internet, from her parents’ wardrobes or during her London years – which enabled her to climb the fashion industry ladder until she was in a position to launch her own business – and which now influence even the decoration of her apartment! “A mix of anything and everything, just like my wardrobe”, which shows – among other things – the self-taught artist’s love for animal prints. An assertive personality, the now Paris-based Estelle believes in “neither the beautiful nor the ugly” and has forged her own fashion and design education through her own experiences. Her highly personal taste, which people either love or hate, and which The Socialite Family invites you to discover during this Paris Fashion Week.
Estelle, could you introduce yourself, please?
I am originally from the south of France, from Sète, to be more precise. I spent ten or so years in London before moving to Paris about five years ago.
What is your background?
From a very young age, around four, I think, I knew I was going to work in fashion. I had no idea exactly how, though. I had the intuition that clothes were my thing. I moved to London when I was 18, with no real prospects, but I liked the energy of the city and felt that great things would happen there. I really didn’t start out very well. I started out serving kebabs on the Edgware Road with the sole motivation of paying my rent and going shopping at Topshop. Then I found a job as a sales assistant in an up-and-coming multi-brand store. I discovered that sales wasn’t my strong point, but that I had a knack for sensing which brands would be successful. From there, I became a purchasing assistant and learned on the job. At the same time, I was dressing my friends when they were going out and for events. I was a kind of personal stylist for them. Two years later, and with a full address book, I decided to become my own boss and launch my “image consulting” company. At the same time, my Instagram account took off, and by necessity, I became an influencer. I like the word “influencer” because the job is all about getting people to buy what I wear. And then I met Elie, my husband. I left London, and after a year of thinking about what I was going to do in Paris, we came up with the idea of Paradise Garage: a multi-brand boutique where we showcase new and extremely talented designers who are rarely (if ever) stocked in France.
Tell us about your education in beauty.
I made my own fashion education, alone, just me. As a kid, I used to spend hours on style.com taking screenshots of my favourite looks and trying to recreate them with my mum and dad’s wardrobe, and shopping around in charity shops! I think the fact I didn’t have the budget to pay for the outfits I was dreaming about really helped me to create a unique style. I don’t believe in beauty or ugliness. Some people love my style, and some people hate it, and that’s fine. Fashion is fun and mostly subjective. There are days when I look like a character from Pirates of the Caribbean, and the next day, I wake up wanting to look like Dalida. I follow my mood.
I don't believe in beauty or ugliness. Some people love my style, and some people hate it, and that's fine. Fashion is fun and mostly subjective.
Influencer, fashion entrepreneur: you wear quite a few hats. What does each of these diverse professions bring into your everyday life?
Everything fits together perfectly like Lego. My shop is my first baby, an extension of myself. I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I am currently working on a new project, still in fashion. I never feel like I’m working; I love what I do, and that’s my personal success.
How about designers and artists: whose work has influenced you and your work?
I often say this, but the designer who really gave me a taste for fashion is Nicolas Ghesquière. I remember his first shows for Balenciaga. I scrutinised every detail of his creations. I even served fish one whole summer to go shopping at Balenciaga. I don’t know him at all, but I’m very grateful to him.
How does your fashion awareness interact with your interior design?
It’s very simple; I don’t think about it. If I like it and have the budget for it, I buy and then sell it, when I eventually change my mind. I do have an obsession with animal prints, which explains the large leopard print chair. But I also try to calm things down with black pieces like my big table or a big black carpet. It’s a mix of anything and everything, just like my wardrobe. People who come to my house are often surprised.
You spent several years in London. To what extent did this English experience inform your taste?
People in London dare to be who they really are and this is reflected in the way they dress., There are no particular trends; this is freedom! Something that is sadly lacking in Paris. People here don’t dress for themselves but more for other people to look at, and that’s sad.
Your apartment is distinctive because of its abundance of colour. What does it say about you?
I’ve never known how to define myself.
What is your favourite designer piece here?
It changes all the time! But I’m very much attracted to the space age.
Any hidden secrets to recommend in your neighbourhood?
I spend my life at Echizen Soba, Sanjo and La Corte, the best pasta in Paris! Not really secret, but very good!
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
Timeless pieces that can find a place in any interior.
Photography : Constance Gennari – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily