Stylist Nathalie Garçon, the ambassador for Paris, Shopping and fashion capital,has a chic, ethnic style full of colour. Having discovered her love of fashion in Cannes, where she is originally from, she now considers herself 100% Parisian and tells us all about “her” capital.
Parisian by adoption for 30 years, you know the capital better than many of its citizens. If you had to persuade someone to visit for the first time, what would you say to them?
N.G.: It’s the most varied and disconcerting city I know, with such a classic air. It’s constantly changing with the times; a capital that manages the ultimate mixture of a rich historic past and the eclectic influence brought by a large influx of foreign visitors. But it’s also a dream city for any fashion lover!
If you were to spend 24 hours rediscovering Paris, in your own way, from breakfast to late evening, what would you choose to do?
N.G.: First of all, I’d have breakfast at Dalloyau in the 6th, with its view over the Luxembourg garden, followed by a walk and certainly a game of tennis in the “Luco”, which I absolutely adore. I’d then stroll around the surrounding streets for a bit of shopping, before stopping off around 11.45am, for a coffee at Flore, boulevard Saint-Germain, and a bit of people-watching. I’d then head towards the Musée du Quai-Branly to rediscover the collections of oceanic masks which is just as enjoyable each time I visit. Then it’d be off to Trocadéro, for a bit of a walk and to admire the Eiffel Tower; passing by the terrace at Carette, a hot spot for Parisians.
After that I’d go to the Marais district and get a Vélib; a quick stop along the lively rue de Bretagne for some organic fruit, and then I’d take a look around the Musée Picasso. I’d have lunch quite late on rue Charlot, in one of the little restaurants that have recently opened there, before continuing on to Drouot, where I’d hope to find something a bit unusual. At the end of the afternoon, a drink at the bar of the Meurice, before a trip to the theatre. Dinner at Cristal de Sel, a little bistro I love, one last drink at Mathis and finally to bed!
As an internationally renowned stylist, is Paris a source of inspiration?
N.G.: Paris instills into creators a subtle mixture of freedom, fantasy and elegance. But it’s also a multicultural capital, and so open to the entire world, making its influence both very Parisian and completely cosmopolitan at the same time.
Paris is continually evolving, with new boutiques, but also the opening of many palaces in the coming months. Do you think that this return to such grand luxury will breathe new life into the city?
N.G.: These palaces are both a reflection of a constantly changing world, and a strong sign of the end of the economic crisis. Paris is offering a large number of exceptional venues that will attract foreign visitors, many of whom may never have previously visited the city; they will also bring back visitors who are looking for high quality, up-market accommodation.
The elegance of Parisian women is often the envy of the world. But what do you think of Parisians, and what would you like to suggest to them?
N.G.: Definitely a bit more fantasy and freedom, both of which are fun. Men are definitely less favoured than women with regards to day-to-day fashion, as they’re still limited to a suit at work, but a simple accessory in a lively colour or elegant shoes would add a bit of creativity, making it less dull. And certainly more humour and lightness … And if their professional environment doesn’t allow them freedom with their clothes, my main advice would be to try and make a real effort at the weekend, rather than slouching around in jogging bottoms or other clothes that may very well make their own grandfathers blush!
You’re the ambassador for Paris, Shopping and fashion capital. For the “Soldes by Paris”, what advice can you offer to visitors and Parisians looking to make the most of the sales?
N.G.: The sales are always a chaotic time that merit a bit of practical preparation: good shoes (don’t wear them if they’re new!), clothes that are easy to take on and off in the changing rooms without a struggle …Then, you also need to make sure you avoid the well-known areas, as they get very busy. Go and discover new places during the sales with friends; and of course an outside opinion is always handy to avoid those shopping mistakes!