On my latest trip to Paris, I was interviewed by the lovely Sézane team. I’m sharing some of my favourite spots in the City of Love as well as some personal facts in the interview below:
1. Apart from the spots you have visited with Sézane in the 7th arrondissement, what are your favourite addresses in Paris?
I have a few! L’Ami Jean in the 7th is a tiny bistro serving traditional dishes. My husband and I love going to dinner here.
The bar at the Raphael Hotel is a cosy, wood-panelled secret spot a couple of fashion editors once showed me. The perfect spot for a Negroni before dinner.
A tour of the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, the most resplendent mansion that feels untouched for centuries – is totally worth booking a ticket to. It’s heaven!
The Hotel Duc de Saint-Simon is a gorgeous haven to stay in St Germain, it’s like staying in the most beautifully decorated Parisian home.
Lastly, I am always looking for another bookshop or library to visit: last time I found the BNF Richelieu, which is free to enter and domed with the most magnificent architecture.
2. You began your career as a journalist, writing for renowned fashion publications. Did you have an interest in writing and fashion from a young age? If so, how did you turn your passion into a career?
My father is a writer whom I hugely admire. Since I was little, I always wanted to craft stories just like him. Then I fell in love with fashion and somehow mixed the two into a job as an editor, which was fun! I wrote for Vogue and Elle, before moving to LA to work in TV. Now, we live back in London and I launched an interiors brand, which is honestly my biggest passion. I love how life can take you on all sorts of chapters: I had no idea I would end up working in three different industries.
3. If you could communicate with the Louise starting her career and adult life, what advice would you give her?
Ooh that’s a good question! I’d tell myself not to worry so much. I’m very good at worrying, and also at mum-guilt. But I’m working on it. I’m learning that balance is fleeting, so even to feel balanced it for one day, is an achievement. So I would tell myself to enjoy the ride, and that it’s all going to work out ok.
4. You’re British, you’ve lived in the US for over a decade and have perfected French style… How would you describe each fashion style and do you have a preference?
I lived in LA, which has quite a different style to New York and the East Coast. The weather in LA lends itself to a lot of bright, floaty pieces, and there’s a big trend for athleisure over there. I have always loved timeless pieces: a great-fitting pair of jeans, loafers, a blazer and a simple tee. I think hair and makeup play a huge part in the vibe your clothes give off too – I have quite a choppy, wavy bob and don’t wear much makeup. So I think my style is a mix of English and I hope, French.
5. Has your fashion taste evolved over the years? What new styles have you welcomed into your wardrobe recently?
A lot more flats! Maybe it’s trends, or becoming a working mother, but heels are just for the evenings now. I also love a midi-length skirt, belted, and a crisp shirt with rolled-up sleeves. In general, I would rather own fewer pieces in my wardrobe, but make sure they are of excellent quality.
6. You’ve recently founded your own homewares brand Sharland England. Do you have any simple tricks and tips for brightening up the home during the summer months?
I am big on unique, artisan-crafted pieces that tell a story: my brand Sharland England consists of rattan furniture and tabletop that is all completely handmade. Right now, I’m loving a palette of cognac and green ceramics to brighten up the table. Rattan is such a warm neutral – it’s the perfect material for Summer – it literally goes with everything. I make a scalloped rattan tray that is perfect for serving cocktails to friends in the garden. And lastly, I am in love with heavy linen tablecloths! Nothing beats a beautifully embroidered tablecloth billowing in the wind, ready to welcome guests for lunch. That image always makes me think of childhood holidays in the South of France, and inspires my design aesthetic a lot…
7. What five things do you do every day to ensure a happy and healthy mind?
I drink as much water as possible- adding elderflower cordial helps me drink more. It sounds boring, but I get headaches if I don’t.
I do reformer pilates at least once a week, it’s my mental space to quieten my mind.
I have a roller under the bed and roll out every night, it’s good for posture and relaxing the muscles. If I’m doubling up, I’ll wear a sheet mask on my face as I do it!
I play with my daughters! Nothing is better for the soul than rolling around in the garden and hearing them giggle.
Having a glass of wine or a double date with my husband is essential too. Life is so busy, and so fast, we try hard to put our phones away and have a laugh together. We met on a TV set, we have always worked together, but we also make it a priority to just hang out and gossip – no work talk.
8. You have a beautiful family! Between work and a busy life, how do you make time for and cherish the people who mean the most to you?
That’s very kind, thank you. I’m still learning, and every now and then I hear a nugget of advice that really helps. I’m not afraid to say no to things. Family is number one, always and forever. Right now, I have two businesses, and Sharland England is still a start-up. So I’m devoting a huge amount of time to that, often getting up at 5am to squeeze in some extra desk time. Beyond that, my social life is sporadic: I love seeing friends but if I’m feeling exhausted, then I know I need a few evenings on the sofa to recharge. And I hardly ever go out at the weekend, walking distance only…
9. What are you currently…
Listening to…Sharland England’s Summer playlist, on repeat
Reading… I’m re-reading an old favourite, Rivals by Jilly Cooper, because they’re making a TV show about it, and i’ll be on set doing an interview.
Watching… The Last Emperor, the documentary about Valentino. Also cannot wait for the new series of ‘And Just Like That’.
Dreaming about… Visiting Tangier, it’s next on my list.
Proud of… My daughter Honor, for getting a reading award at school this week.
10. A book to make you:
Cry: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. It’s about bullying, and I read it at school during a very difficult, poignant time. She is the most incredible writer.
Laugh: Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott. The true story of how Truman Capote betrayed his best friends, the New York socialite ‘Swans’.
Feel Nostalgic: Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery. I loved all her books but those set abroad are just delicious and glamorous.
A book that feels like summer: Tasmin Perry’s Daddy’s Girls. The greatest beach read, set in the fashion industry, and written by my very first editor, when I worked at In Style magazine.
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