The famous fashion blogger, the fashionable outrageous critic, who collaborates with Elle and French Vogue. Many people know her image in black glasses and a medieval cape, decorated with a spider-brooch, for which she has been nicknamed as a witch. In 2008, the New York Metropolitan Museum named Diane Pernet’s blog one of the most influential blogs of our time.
The elegant and mysterious Diana Perne enthrals and inspires the world of fashion with her seductive charm and the original image. Dressed in a stylish black and wearing her own brand shadows and red lipstick, which became her calling card, she appears to us as an inviting, unpredictable woman who can be interested in anything and not afraid of any changes. Although she has seen hundreds of shows in the fashion industry for decades, Pernet is not exhausted by this and is ready again and again to comprehend innovations and progressive thought. She was one of the first to predict the Internet revolution in the fashion world, starting to release her now cult blog A Shaded View on Fashion in 2005. Based in Paris in the early 1990s, a native of Philadelphia, in September 2008 created a new project, A Shaded View on Fashion Film, an annual film festival dedicated to fashion, beauty and style, and open to participants from around the world. SVOFF continues to travel around the world, gathering more and more fans every year ... We decided to talk to Diana, who had just returned from Argentina, about the attractiveness of black color, about creating a new line of flavors and how fashion became an integral part of her life.
How was your trip to Argentina? Have you been there for the first time?
Yes, for the first time. It seems to me that in my head there was a certain illusion, inspired by thoughts of Evita, and the anticipation of the atmosphere of some romanticism. But, whatever I thought, it had nothing to do with reality. I expected more nostalgia and inspiration ... What struck me was poverty. I have been to Mexico City several times, and if you compare it with Buenos Aires, Mexico City has a lot more energy. I spent two days in Argentina, but I did not feel them.
I recently watched a documentary film Iris Apfel, in which she says that she never wears black because she perceives it as a uniform. Would you agree with this?
I do not perceive it as a uniform, but to some extent, I can understand it. Black color makes me feel strong and domineering. I started wearing only black back in the 80s - I didn’t want something to distract me as a designer, and black helped me concentrate. I do not look at black as a dull or lifeless color, I like to use different textures, complement it with jewels. Black is a luxurious and elegant color. I can, for example, put on my black brocade Dries Van Noten coat with a crepe skirt David Szeto and a black tight cotton blouse and combine it with some bright jewelery. My guests are often surprised - they expect to fall into some gloomy den, and I love colors. I like to see them on others. At home I can wear blue striped pajamas or red kimono ... I love the energy of colors, but I just don’t wear them. And, to admit, never missed them.
When did you start associating with black?
I guess in the early 80s, when I switched from bright colors and prints to black. I was living in New York and worked as a designer of women's clothing. Somehow, I remember, I put on a bright photo session and felt pretty good, but the black color is still my favorite. If you wear red, you must be confident, as this is a strong, dominant color. The colors dictate to us the looks and behavior that leads to the admiration.
You are often called an icon of style. What do you think about that?
I have never considered myself an icon of style. Madonna, perhaps, sees herself as one of them. But for me personally, this has never been of special importance.
And what do you think it means to be an icon?
You have to be real and true to yourself. Icons do not think about trends, they are timeless. They ignore all sorts of fashionable pieces, concentrating on their personal style. Look at Anna Piaggi or Isabella Blow, they were unique in their own way. Even when Piaggi was changing outfits every day, there were always repetitive elements in her image - for example, blue hair, or small hats. You need to be sincere and constant, to remain completely faithful to your principles, to believe in what you create.
Who are style icons for you among designers?
To me, this Azzedine Alaïa and Rick Owens. They are real innovators and do everything in their own way. They do not seek compromise, and this makes them strong. The dress from Alaïa will always look attractive, because the products from the icon have no expiration dates. They put the soul, and it is felt in their clothes.
Tell us what preceded the launch of your perfume collection.
It was great to start creating again, although, of course, I have a long road to go. I am not the most patient person, but perfume takes a lot of time. But I am very pleased with the result. The meeting with Celso Fadelli from Intertrade was the starting point. The search for perfect combinations took several months, but on the whole, everything happened naturally, one might say, in my style.
You do not have a strategy that you pursue?
I admit, it never existed. It would be desirable, of course, but what I do, it turns out purely instinctively. It also happened with ASVOFF. At that time, there were already several film festivals, and even quite successful ones, but none of them seemed to be aware of the importance of cinema fashion. Fashion is not a trifle, and directors should not underestimate it. I designed costumes for several films and saw how fashion helps to create a character, which seemed to me very interesting.
Many, especially the younger generation, refer to you as a source of inspiration. What do you think, why?
I am sincere. And I love what I do. When I have fashion collections in front of me, I am not guided by my own taste, the basis of everything is the emotions that I feel when I look at these clothes. If the collection makes me feel, then I understand: this is what I need. The same thing I want to convey to the readers of my blog is a feeling of agitation when you discover something new for yourself ...
How do you think the work of the designer has helped you better understand the life of the fashion industry?
Of course. I know exactly how this whole system works, I know all its advantages and disadvantages. I never looked at the designer as a deity - I myself was a designer for 13 years and know the process inside and out. You see only ten minutes of fame, and all that will happen next, the rest of the year, is hard work. We have to solve a huge number of problems, from product development to selling it ... We need to look for bright ideas, to choose the right team. Every day we are faced with a lot of stress ...
Why did you leave the design field?
I cannot say that the situation was pressing me, but New York turned into a very depressing place with the spread of AIDS, drugs and an increase in the number of homeless people. He just stopped inspiring me, and I had to leave the city. I have always loved fashion, and I still love it. Fashion should bring joy. Fashion is a celebration of the soul. People enjoy dressing, they like to combine things. That's the beauty of clothes. This is a creative process that makes people happy. I remember as a child I liked, watching a movie, looking at the clothes of actors ...
It's funny, you speak about yourself as an impatient person, and in your life most of the good happened rather late ...
Now I understand that everything has its time, not all we get right away. You know, I was engaged in fashion most of my life. When I was a designer, I had a dream - to release my fragrance. But my financial position at the time did not allow it. And only four years ago I managed to fulfill my dream. After becoming acquainted with Celso, it took me only a year to translate my idea into reality. I think no need to rush things. The longer you are in business, the more you are respected. You have to hold out in this ephemeral environment — this is the challenge that needs to be taken.
Do you believe in fate?
I guess so. After all, each has its purpose, does not it? When I first arrived in Paris, it was very hard to get used to the city. But I realized that I had to stay here, and showed perseverance. The first three years were terrible - everything went so slowly, everything was so inhospitable around! .. But then I could feel quite comfortable, and I even managed to develop my business.
Do we need to visualize the desire to be fulfilled?
Of course. I remember one Japanese photographer who took suicidal photos. It seemed strange to me, because he looked quite a cheerful person. He told me once that our life is a big highway along which we drive. And that our only chance may be in our way, right on the course, but instead of looking after it, we turn left or right. And now the chance has been missed, and it will never be possible to use it anymore ... Every person has his own way in life, and if you follow it, it will surely take you where you really want.
Material published in the twenty-fourth issue.
Interview: Philippe Pourhashemi / Photo: Sylvain Norget