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Before Bryanboy, there already was Diane Pernet |

Fashion and Beauty

Before Bryanboy, there already was Diane Pernet

LIVIN’ AND LOVIN’ - Tetta Ortiz Matera - The Philippine Star

That’s right.Before there was Bryanboy, Susiebubble or The Sartorialist and other smartphone-toting, Instagram- and Twitter-posting fashion bloggers, there already was Diane Pernet.

The noted fashion journalist and fashion film curator pioneered writing about fashion on the Internet and became the first fashion blogger with A Shaded View of Fashion (ASVOF) in 2005; she was recognized as one of the three most influential bloggers in 2008. She has since parlayed ASVOF into a highly successful, international traveling event called A Shaded View of Fashion Film (ASVOFF) showcasing feature films, documentaries, conferences, performances and installations by creative minds from fashion, film, advertising and visual arts. Entering its seventh year, ASVOFF began its journey at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and has since become a part of the annual lineup of activities at this popular, post-modern, high-tech complex in Beauborg.

Diane Pernet started her career in fashion as a clothes designer in New York in the 1980s; a graduate of documentary filmmaking from the Temple University in Philadelphia, she also dabbled in costume design for films. She moved to Paris in the 1990s after her first husband passed away and AIDS took the lives of many of her friends and neighbors in the Big Apple. She has considered Paris home since.

In an exclusive interview with The STAR during A Shaded View of Fashion Film-Tokyo, she opens up about her trademark ’do, her low register voice, her love for fashion and film, and why she will never return to live in New York.

THE PHILIPPINE STAR: You are a very accomplished fashion visionary with the distinction of being the first fashion blogger ever, how did that happen?

DIANE PERNET: I was a digital fashion reporter for Joyce Magazine, and French Vogue so I was already in a sense “blogging” about fashion. I decided to make it official in 2005 when I formally launched my blog, A Shaded View of Fashion.

Why the name “A Shaded View of Fashion”?

I thought it was the perfect representation of my dark shades and black-outfit-wearing self.

That’s ingenious and most certainly apropos! Can you tell me how this look became your signature style? What’s with the platform shoes?

After seeing so many designers at work in their ateliers in plain white lab coats, I realized that one has to be absolutely pure and never distracted by his or her own appearance when creating fashion so I adopted the same principle, but went with black instead. I wear platform shoes because as you can see I am rather petite and they are very comfortable. I’ve had this look from when I started designing, the hair just got taller and taller as the years went by!

Do you ever remove your shades?

In public, never.

How long does it take you to get ready?

Quite honestly not too long. It takes me about 15 minutes to do my hair which I trim myself and maybe another 15 to put on my clothes, red lipstick and black shades.

Ah, the signature red lipstick! You don’t seem to wear any makeup except for the red lipstick. Your skin is flawless, absolutely glowing. How do you keep it that way?

First of all, I never ever go under the sun. I also use all-natural, very skin-friendly products from Aesop. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, plus I don’t eat meat. I was once a vegetarian but not anymore, I just eat more carefully.

I know you are quite fond of Japan, why is that?

Apart from the fact that I love Japanese food (and not French food!), I find that Tokyo is the most fashion-conscious city in the world.

Speaking of fashion, who are your most favorite designers?

I admire the work of Dries Van Noten, one of the original Antwerp 6; I also like the designs of California native Rick Owens and Colombian designer Haider Ackerman.

I could not help but be awed by your very low-register voice; I have to strain my ears to understand you very well. Have you had problems expressing yourself with such a unique voice?

Well, I express myself, my emotions through my work. People actually say that my voice is very Zen, Joyce Ma of Joyce Boutique-Hong Kong even went on to say that, “I like being around you because you make me feel calm.”

This will be your 24th year living in Paris, have you ever thought of moving back to the United States, to New York?

No, I haven’t, not even once to return and live in the United States but I do visit on occasion. I feel right at home in Paris and the Parisians have embraced me. I love living in Paris because of its rich history, because of all the exquisite art around the city, its beautiful architecture and reverence for fashion. Plus it is a walking city and I enjoy walking!

Aside from the personal reference to the title of A Shaded View of Fashion Film, why ASVOFF?

ASVOFF brings together under one platform my love for fashion, film and art. It is a medium for designers, photographers and artists to collaborate on creative projects. The selection of in-competition and out-of-competition documentaries and short films on fashion, style and beauty that have come to define ASVOFF has just been such an exciting and fulfilling process; the compilation of work that finally makes it to ASVOFF are some of the most extraordinary work I have seen in my entire fashion career.

I spied our very own international supermodel Paolo Roldan in Ellen Von Unwerth’s The Red Handcuffs for Vs, who are some of the other notable fashion industry figures who have participated in ASVOFF films/documentaries?

There are many but to name a few from the latest ASVOFF installment, there is Bruce Weber who made a short film for Dior Homme, visual designer Matt Lambert who created the BFC London Collection: Men’s F/W2013, British photographer and director Malcolm Venville who filmed Karl Lagerfeld for the short film Zillions for Nowness and fashion photographer Justin Wu who made Coup De Grace.

What’s next for the indefatigable Diane Pernet?

Hmmmm, just read my blog and you will see all the exciting projects I am involved in.

ASVOFF recently finished its run in New York City and Diane Pernet received the 13th Felicidad Duce Fashion Award from the Escola Superior de Disseny Felicidad Duce in Barcelona last week for her outstanding career in fashion.

The American in Paris with the seemingly intimidating persona is actually a warm and kind-hearted person who with her self-deprecating laugh brings a level of fashion intelligence, reality and genuineness to an industry that is commonly associated with grandiosity, commercialism and snobbery. The energetic Diane Pernet has managed to remain relevant and current in a constantly changing, often fickle industry and she shows no signs of slowing down — the lady in black is nowhere near retiring her black shades and giving up her shaded view of fashion.

* * *

Special thanks to George Inaki for making the interview possible, @bryanboycom for letting me use his Instagram photo with Diane Pernet, Japanese photographer Mitch Nakano for his photos from ASVOFF-Tokyo & Loredana di Porcia e Brugnera of Dom Perignon for the photo with Rila Fukushima.

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @tettaortiz.

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