Leaf Greener is a fashion writer, stylist, creative consultant, and founder of LEAF WeChat magazine, and writes a column on Fashion Statement every month. Check out her studio’s website at www.leafgreener.com.

leaf greener stylist having christmas eve dinner with mr lucien pages in paris 600 x 600

#Paris
Paying tribute and bidding farewell to the fading traditional European spirit

‘In Paris, ambition is never recognised,’ Mr. Talent Scout said to me. That’s my nickname for Mr. Lucien Pagès, who is a public relations extraordinaire and pivotal figure in fashion known for discovering and supporting up-and-coming designers. He’s managed brands such as Loewe, Lemaire, J.W. Anderson, Moynat, Sacai, Courrèges, Ronald van der Kemp, Elie Top, and Koché. ‘In Paris, please do not create a sense of urgency,’ said the astute Pagès. ‘Even if you have a goal you really want to achieve. You need to first create a comfortable ‘environment’, and allow that environment to help you accomplish that dream,’ he said with earnest.

His words reminded me of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig’s era in The World of Yesterday, in which he wrote: ‘Haste and panic was not only unrefined, but unnecessary.’

I was invited to a Christmas Eve dinner by Mr. Lucien Pagès back in 2015, which was hosted by indie perfume brand Byredo. The fragrance brand is represented by the most prestigious creative agency, M/M Paris, so naturally, the event was going to be an experience to remember. The dinner location was at a restaurant at the Parisian boutique hotel Grand Amour Hotel (find out what other places we’d go in Paris and other Fashion capitals), opened by French graffiti artist André Saraiva. The fireplace roared and the room smelled of pine from the garden. Poinsettia and pine needles were scattered amongst lit candles on the table and the whole event felt more like a warm family gathering rather than some ambitious fashion networking event.

#Paris
Paying tribute and bidding farewell to the fading traditional European spirit

‘In Paris, ambition is never recognised,’ Mr. Talent Search said to me. That’s my nickname for Mr. Lucien Pagès, who is a public relations extraordinaire and pivotal figure in fashion known for discovering and supporting up-and-coming designers. He’s managed brands such as Loewe, Lemaire, J.W. Anderson, Moynat, Sacai, Courrèges, Ronald van der Kemp, Elie Top, and Koché. ‘In Paris, please do not create a sense of urgency,’ said the astute Pagès. ‘Even if you have a goal you really want to achieve. You need to first create a comfortable ‘environment’, and allow that environment to help you accomplish that dream,’ he said with earnest.

leaf greener stylist having christmas eve dinner with mr lucien pages in paris 600 x 600

His words reminded me of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig’s era in The World of Yesterday, in which he wrote: ‘Haste and panic was not only unrefined, but unnecessary.’

I was invited to a Christmas Eve dinner by Mr. Lucien Pagès back in 2015, which was hosted by indie perfume brand Byredo. The fragrance brand is represented by the most prestigious creative agency, M/M Paris, so naturally, the event was going to be an experience to remember. The dinner location was at a restaurant at the Parisian boutique hotel Grand Amour Hotel (find out what other places we’d go in Paris and other Fashion capitals), opened by French graffiti artist André Saraiva. The fireplace roared and the room smelled of pine from the garden. Poinsettia and pine needles were scattered amongst lit candles on the table and the whole event felt more like a warm family gathering rather than some ambitious fashion networking event.

Suddenly a crisp voice broke through my thoughts: ‘Are you wearing Vanessa Seward?’
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘I like Vanessa. By the way, I’m Claire,’ she said.
‘Hi, I’m Leaf,’ I said in response.
‘I work at Self Service magazine, do you know it?’ said Claire.
‘I do,’
‘I heard you’re a social media star, what’s your Instagram account? We should do something together at the next Paris Fashion Week,’ she said.
‘Sure, what would you like to do? My Instagram is leaf_greener,’ I responded (This isn’t a classic Parisian conversation; Parisians are never this direct. Later I found out Claire is a Brit living in Paris.)

leaf greener stylist at grand amour hotel paris 600 x 600

Nowadays, social media accounts have replaced the role of name cards. But luckily, I have not fallen victim to the social media faux pas of overdressing on my account. In Paris, appropriate attire functions as conversation starters for an otherwise non-social me, especially since everyone was speaking French, which I don’t speak. That night, my ‘unambitious’ Parisian outfit consisted of a black blazer, a white wool scalloped turtleneck, and a black dress inspired by YSL’s ‘Le Smoking’ jacket (all from Vanessa Seward’s much-buzzed AW15 collection) and a pair of Nike Cortez trainers (as worn by Forrest in Forrest Gump).

Suddenly a crisp voice broke through my thoughts: ‘Are you wearing Vanessa Seward?’
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘I like Vanessa. By the way, I’m Claire,’ she said.
‘Hi, I’m Leaf,’ I said in response.
‘I work at Self Service magazine, do you know it?’ said Claire.
‘I do,’
‘I heard you’re a social media star, what’s your Instagram account? We should do something together at the next Paris Fashion Week,’ she said.
‘Sure, what would you like to do? My Instagram is leaf_greener,’ I responded (This isn’t a classic Parisian conversation; Parisians are never this direct. Later I found out Claire is a Brit living in Paris.)

Nowadays, social media accounts have replaced the role of name cards. But luckily, I have not fallen victim to the social media faux pas of overdressing on my account. In Paris, appropriate attire functions as conversation starters for an otherwise non-social me, especially since everyone was speaking French, which I don’t speak. That night, my ‘unambitious’ Parisian outfit consisted of a black blazer, a white wool scalloped turtleneck, and a black dress inspired by YSL’s ‘Le Smoking’ jacket (all from Vanessa Seward’s much-buzzed AW15 collection) and a pair of Nike Cortez trainers (as worn by Forrest in Forrest Gump).

leaf greener stylist at grand amour hotel paris 600 x 600

French/Italian actress Chiara Mastroianni wore a simple black jacket with zero makeup on her face to attend this dinner. In Paris, female celebrities don’t need to arm themselves by getting all dolled up, and don’t need bodyguards or an entourage. I didn’t even notice her entrance. Famous French stylist Camille Bidault Waddington also wore a simple beige cashmere sweater, and Dior’s jewellery designer Victoire de Castellane wore her signature knit black dress matched with her incredible taste in jewels. It was that simplicity that introduced my thoughts to a stark, empty room that was full of imagination – but void of ambition.

‘Leaf, I’ve been wanting to introduce you to Mr Jay Ahr,’ Roger Vivier’s PR graciously said, pushing me in front of the designer.
‘Jay, this is Leaf, a well-known KOL from China.’
‘What is “KOL”?’ the French designer asked in confusion.
‘KOL is “Key Opinion Leader”, or what we call an “opinion leader”. The Chinese call them KOL,’ Jay’s wife hurriedly whispered.
‘Oh, hello!’ The designer reached out and shook my hand enthusiastically.
‘Haha, hello! I’m not some “key opinion leader”, I’m just an “OL”, an ‘office lady!’ I said jokingly.
‘Haha, that’s a good explanation!’ he said.

leaf greener stylist with sander lak new york city 600 x 600

#New York
At cutting-edge designer Sander Lak’s studio

Sander Lak worked behind the scenes for famous Belgian designer Dries Van Noten for years before moving to New York just over a year ago to start his own fashion label Sies Marjan.

During a lacklustre New York Fashion Week (read our take on Fashion Week), Marjan’s show became a notable highlight and attracted all the important media and buyers from the UK and US (however, it seemed they conveniently forgot to invite Chinese media). This wasn’t surprising considering the show was styled by Vetements stylist-of-the-moment, Lotta Volkova, and managed by acclaimed producer Alexandre de Betak of ultra selective PR agency – PR Consulting. I didn’t know better, so I didn’t go to his show that day. But, to make up for it I went to Lak’s showroom instead to view his collection.

Inside, a printed dress made out of shower curtains immediately caught my eye. It was explained to me, however, that the dress would not be produced because it probably won’t sell well. Later, a blended hand-woven knit captivated me. Sander saw my interest, and said: “The things you like most are all the most expensive pieces in my collection. You must have a rich boyfriend.”
To that comment, I snickered back: ‘That won’t be necessary because I can manage just fine on my own.”
Then he continued: ‘[Our mutual friend] Michael told me you’re a superstar!’
‘No, he’s exaggerating’, I said.
In a curt manner he said, ‘Oh yes I have a meeting now. I’m glad you came to see my collection.’

I know what you’re thinking – but that’s New York. It’s how it works and I forgot to change my mindset. But, how can I when I only have one – my own? Perhaps it was because I was just in Paris the day before and I didn’t care about New York’s pretentious way of communicating. Maybe I should have responded to him in a high-pitch saying, ‘Superstar? You must have read New York Times’ report on me.’ Just then I realised that I need to bury away Lucien’s teachings on humility. Ambition is good! At least here in New York, when you should always bother to try to sell yourself…

For more stories from Leaf Greener, go to The Fashionista

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