So exciting to be part of the feature 'I read so I am' in the January issue of SELF China!!!
It was a fun interview to do!
1.Tell us a little bit about your job and career. How did you get your start? What do you think it takes to become successful in your field?
I grew up between France and Tunisia, developing a flair for style and a strong sense of colors and texture.
After a degree in Fashion and Textile design from Duperré College of Art in Paris, I sailed for London and completed my studies with a post-graduate degree in Tailoring at Central St Martins.
A stint at Alexander McQueen reinforced my dream of one day running my own label.
After working as a freelance pattern cutter for various London Fashion Week designers, I felt ready to bring my dream to life, as a result of my different experiences.
You need to be creative and curious, determined, persistent, to not be afraid to make decisions, and believe in yourself.
2. How did you become an avid reader or book lover?
I have always been reading a lot. My first souvenirs of my childhood are with a pencil in one hand and a book in the other. Reading is a way for me to “escape” in different world, and also getting to learn about life and experiences.
It has definitely helped built my personality and my creative sensibility. For me, Fashion is a way of creating different characters, imagining their lives, what they look like, what they like to do and so on, and then imagining clothes that express all that.
3. Please recommend three favorite books to our readers:
a. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It’s a book I first read when I was a child, but keep reading every year or so, so much I love it! I never tire of it.
I love its wittiness, its humor, nonsense, poems and imagination. It challenges the reader through its complex language and world of never ending fantasy, but it is also a satire of society.
b. Coco Chanel, by Justine Picardie
What an inspiring woman! It was great to read about her life and how she reinvented herself. A strong, independent and successful woman who revolutionized the way women dressed and behaved. Whenever I feel down, I re-read a few pages of her biography, and it gives me energy again and again.
c. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s work is full of humor while addressing society's absurdities, is still very relevant today. His dialogues are always so well written, so sharp, and thoroughly modern.
d. The great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
I was firstly attracted to this book because it is set in the 1920’s-1930’s, and this is a period that has always fascinated and inspired me.
It is a novel much deeper that what it appears. Despite the characters glamorous varnish, they are utterly unhappy and dysfunctional. This is still applicable to our lives today, especially in the world of Fashion. It is a novel about dreams and angst, which mainly shape our lives.
5. What are your favorite quotes from books?
*Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland:
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
“Begin at the beginning, ”the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
*Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan:
“I can resist anything except temptation.”
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”
*Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband:
Ah! The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women...merely adored.”
“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”
*F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby:
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
“Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
“My life didn't please me, so I created my life.”
“Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.”
“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”
6. What do you like best about your current reading space? How do you manage to organize your book collection? Do you have any tips for maintaining a beautiful and comfortable reading space?
I keep all my favorite books in the bookcase next to my desk, so I can search for inspiration whenever needed. I also like to take breaks from work from time to time and to read a short story, to refresh my mind.
I organize my book collection mainly by topic, and then within each section, I like to place books by size and colors (but to be honest, it doesn’t stay so neat and tidy for long!)
7. Why do you think it’s important for women to read books?
For the same reasons that it’s important for everyone:
Reading gives you an insight in new cultures, different people and social backgrounds, different customs, different opinions. It makes people more open-minded.
Reading about the diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop your creative side. It also helps forming new opinions and formulating them.
Even if you can’t travel, you can get to learn about other countries just by reading.