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Diane Pernet, Fashion Icon, Paris/New York

Now and then someone comes along in the world of fashion who becomes an icon - and in this case, the icon is American born, Paris-based Diane Pernet, the infamous fashion journalist and blogger who boasts a major cult following - and cult style. Even Parisians who don't move in fashion's elite circles recognise the striking pale-skinned lady in black with high towering hair and lace mantilla. Diane started out as a designer in New York then moved to Paris where she focussed on writing about fashion - including a stint at Elle. Now she has her own blog 'A Shaded View on Fashion' and also curates art, fashion and film exhibitions around the world. Creative Mapping caught up with Ms Pernet in Cannes recently and she took us on a walk through her career; from costume design to fashion journalism...and the birth of her fashion film festival.

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A CONVERSATION WITH DIANE PERNET, INTERVIEW


Creative Mapping © Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.


A CONVERSATION WITH DIANE PERNET, TRANSCRIPTION

How did you come to work with film maker Amos Gitai (on his 1992 film ‘Golem l'Esprit d'Exile’)?
What came next for you after costume designing?
How did your journalistic career progress?
How did you start shooting lo-fi films?
Tell us about Fashioned Out! (a fashion division of Disciple Films sponsored by Galeries Lafayette, Paris)
And of course we want to know about your interview with the great Catherine Deneuve!
How did your fashion film festival get started?

In 2008 you launched A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF) – why this name?
Tell us about connection of ASVOFF to the Centre Pompidou.
How did you develop your distinctive style?
 


How did you come to work with film maker Amos Gitai (on his 1992 film ‘Golem l'Esprit d'Exile’)?

I met Amos in New York when he was having a retrospective and I knew the woman he’d hired as Art Director. She introduced me to Amos and said ‘Diane should be the costume designer’. So he had me come to the office and read the script in French which was difficult – it was twenty-one years ago and my French wasn’t that great! Then he said, as a brief, it’s (the film) anywhere from three hundred years before Christ to now – what kind of a brief is that? (laughs).

What came next for you after costume designing?
I was kind of not that impressed by my costume designing experience and got a job assisting a producer at CBC – short cut Fashion Files. This is funny because I never considered myself a journalist – I still don’t even though I write.

How did your journalistic career progress?
Everything in my life has been organic. It’s never been a strategy. I started working for elle.com (Elle’s online magazine) where I was asked to be Dr. Diane and give styling advice. Then I went from elle.com and set up vogueparis.com. So I did that for three and a half years and during that time – February 2005 – I set up my blog; A Shaded View on Fashion.

How did you start shooting lo-fi films?
At the same time I was working for Vogue, I started writing something called Diane’s Diaries for a small production company Disciple Films... and I started shooting little lo-fi films with Alex Czetwertynski who now works in Los Angeles. I was shooting but not editing and if you shoot but don’t edit... it’s going nowhere (laughs)

Diane Pernet Fashion Icon Interview Paris New York

Tell us about Fashioned Out! (a fashion division of Disciple Films sponsored by Galeries Lafayette, Paris)
I called it Fashioned Out! because if you want to cover the collections; New York, London, Paris, Milan.... I’d say “I’m fashioned out” ... can’t look at any more fashion. So we did this little thing where Alex and the team would go out and record the atmosphere of the shows and sound bites and things and a little bit of the runway, but not very much – and it ended up in the windows of Galeries Lafayette.

And of course we want to know about your interview with the great Catherine Deneuve!
This was really amazing – I went to Gilles Dufour (he used to be the right hand man of Karl Lagerfeld) and I said can i do an interview with you and it’s going to be in the windows of Galeries Lafayette; he said come back at six o’clock and I’ll do the interview for you with Catherine Deneuve. It was around (the time of) my birthday too, so it was absolutely amazing, and all the people from Galeries Lafayette were ready to kiss my feet (laughs) because they were so excited to have Catherine Deneuve in the window!

How did your fashion film festival get started?
I started my fashion film festival in 2006 – but to call it a film festival in 2006 was a bit of an exaggeration – it was more like a curated programme. At that point no-one knew what a fashion film was – everyone’s like; ‘what’s a fashion film?’ A fashion film is like any other film – we have to fill the same criteria – except fashion has to be the protagonist.

In 2008 you launched A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF) – why this name?
It’s an offshoot from my blog (A Shaded View on Fashion) and A Shaded View on Fashion’s kind of playing onto the fact I wear sunglasses all the time and that it’s my vision of things – my perspective.

Tell us about connection of ASVOFF to the Centre Pompidou.
I was talking to Geraldine Gomez (Director of audiovisual programs at Centre Pompidou) and she said they can’t do work with festivals that aren’t part of the internal organisation, but she loved what I was doing so much that she wanted to give me one day carte blanche – and the date was October 8th, which happens to be my birthday. Now it’s the 5th edition of ASVOFF which is November 9th, 10th and 11th, and it’s the fourth time at Centre Pompidou. It all started organically, as usual.

How did you develop your distinctive style?
Wearing all black started when I was a designer. I used to wear prints and colours and things... but I didn’t want my clothes to be in competition with what I was creating (and) if I’m all in black it’s like a blank canvas. It’s my favourite colour, I think it’s timeless, I think it’s elegant, I think it gives you a certain power and it’s also... shaded. (Re her infamous veil) In 2005, there was a picture of me in the New York Times wearing the veil, (and) I think it was about then I started wearing it... and I just feel comfortable in it.

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