Today, I’m delighted to interview my favorite photographer and fashion writer, Frederique Veysset. Frederique, co-author of Paris Street Style with Isabelle Thomas (writer of the fashion blog Mode Personnel), is back with a second book. This time, Frederique and Isabelle present us with So Shoes! It is available as of this month in France, and is set for release in the spring in the U.S., England, Russia, China and Germany.
Are you Parisian by birth?
Yes, and my great-grandmother lived on the Ile Saint-Louis! I grew up in the Trocadero neighborhood, went to Catholic school and wore a uniform. My friends and I loved fashion. In the mid-70s, I saw Jane Birkin wearing red high-heeled boots in a magazine photo and begged my mother to buy them for me. That was a good purchase because I still have them!
Do you have an interesting shoe story?
I had a pair of Louboutins in the 90s that were blue and pink suede… and my daughter spilled ink on them! Unfortunately, that destroyed them.
Who inspired you to become a photographer?
The magazines Elle and Vogue in the 70s. They were fashion bibles and fashion was very creative. Fashion wasn’t an enormous industry back then. It was the beginning for many designers and everything was so fresh. It has become very marketing oriented; back then, it was all about real style.
A moment of your career that is most memorable?
When I was in New York and worked with Allure magazine. I was sent to Russia and loved this country and the spirit. It’s very Romanesque.
You spend more time writing books today than working as a photographer…
Today, everyone is a photographer. It’s a world that has changed. I’m happy to do books. The Internet has changed the manner in which people are entertained.
One of the subjects you most preferred photographing?
I loved working with Isabelle Adjani because she is such an extraordinary actress. She performs in front of the camera as well—freely, without censuring herself. She is one of those women who the camera loves! During a shooting with her, there are very few photographs that aren’t good. She expresses her emotions with intensity.
But I do love taking photos of people in general. A photo is an encounter.
People are fascinated by the idea of the Parisian look. Why? And can one become Parisian?
Being Parisian is a state of mind. It’s an attitude. A foreigner who loves Paris can absolutely capture this feeling. The Parisian mixes the natural with the sophisticated. She never has the “red carpet” look. For instance, she can wear a pair of shoes that are sublime with jeans and hair that’s undone. She knows what looks good on her.
Parisians mix the new and the traditional. A beautiful piece of clothing that is ten years old is fine to wear. We love to wear our mother’s handbag or shoes. We love things that tell a story.
Why are women so fascinated with shoes?
The shoe is a beautiful object that can be admired almost like a car. You can place it on a shelf. A dress must be worn to be pretty. When you have a beautiful pair of shoes, you feel good. And high heels add to sex appeal.
Are there classic shoes that every woman should have in her wardrobe?
This depends on each woman, her lifestyle and her job. I’m often in jeans so I love ankle boots.
A fashion tip?
A pair of jeans and a white shirt can be perfect for a day at the office or a dinner out in the evening. Just change shoes and accessories, and you have changed your entire look.
And right here, Frederique takes us into her closet to show us her favorite shoes!
1. “My favorite ankle boots!” Argenson ankle boot by Delage Paris
2. “Michel Vivien, the Karluz ankle boot. A classic. With an 8cm heel, these boots are sexy and comfortable—a must have!”
3. Maurice Manufacture “A small French brand, made in France, pretty and affordable. I love boyish shoes, especially when mixed with very feminine outfits. That breaks the 'obvious,' too sexy side. I like when femininity is a bit ambiguous, when it isn’t overwhelming!”
4-5: "Thomas Lieuvin is a new talent. As the writers of So Shoes!, we love him!"