Agnès Boulard AKA Mademoiselle Agnès
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Bird of Paradise
Join Date: Jul 2009
Girl on the Run: Q&A with iconic fashion journalist, Mlle. Agnès Boulard a.ka. Mademoiselle Agnès
Agnès Boulard a.k.a. Mademoiselle AgnèsAgnès Boulard, better known by her TV pseudonym, Mademoiselle Agnès, is a bona fide celebrity in France. She has been covering fashion for nearly two decades and sits front-row at all the shows. (We don't really have a Mlle. Agnès equivalent in America; compared with CNN alum Elsa Klensch, Boulard is downright zany, yet she's far more serious about couture than any of the hosts of MTV's House of Style.) Boulard regularly collaborates with Loïc Prigent, best known Stateside as the director of the acclaimed documentary MARC JACOBS & LOUIS VUITTON and our own doc miniseries THE DAY BEFORE. This season marks the tenth anniversary of her show, GIRL ON THE RUN (September 9 on Sundance Channel). We asked her a few questions about how she got into the biz, and about some of her favorite moments from her past ten years in fashion.
You have such a great sense of humor about the industry, as well as a great respect for the designers. Has it been difficult to find that balance? Did it take a while to be taken seriously?
I still don’t know if I’m taken seriously, actually! But it took me some years: I try to do my job seriously but without taking myself too seriously and keeping the right distance. When I began dealing with fashion on TV, all the programs about fashion were very serious and boring. Humor seemed a good — and fresh — way to deal with fashion.
Have you encountered any backlash to your show? Have you always been so close to the designers (e.g., Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, et al.) or did it take time for them to warm up to you?
Ten years ago, I attended in the seventh row at Dior. Now I’m first-row. So yes, it took a few years to get close to some designers — not all of them, of course. It was a lot of work with some of them, and more instantaneous with others. For example, today I just met Dolce and Gabbana, whom I had never met before. And I can say for now that they have three beautiful dogs! With Karl Lagerfeld, we clicked quite rapidly and shared some complicity. And Marc is very good at the Q&A game, so he always answers any question of mine, even the most senseless one.
What was your first job in fashion? Was it an industry you always wanted to be in?
Actually, I don’t consider myself to be working in the fashion business but in the TV business. I started on TV as the weather girl. I used to play a lot with clothes when I was a weather girl: I wore couture outfits, incredible gowns, just to host the weather section. So the next step was to make fashion reports on TV, and then the next next step was to get inside the fashion world.
And the next next next step was to impersonate Anna Wintour! That was the biggest moment in my fashion career!
‘Girl on the Run’ gives a perfect wrap-up of each season — in-depth looks at who the standout designers were and how the editors reacted. It’s like every fashion magazine rolled into one. What was your favorite trend for winter 2010, and what was the biggest flop, in your opinion?
I don’t really talk about trends anymore, because there are so many trends. And not just one or two or three. Especially in Paris, where each fashion house has its own codes and history. I’d rather think of fashion moments: We were cold at the Chanel show; Dries Van Noten’s show at the Hotel De Ville was great; Balenciaga’s shoes made of Formica were amazing …
You are very passionate about young French designers and the apparent the lack of support and attention that they receive. Have you seen any improvement since the last season?
I’m waiting for the next season to see the evolution of this support. Some improvements have been made, but efforts need to be done still.
How do think New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week differ?
Paris is home. I know everyone here; I don’t need any invitation to get to a show. The first time I went to New York Fashion Week, I felt like I was from some Bulgarian TV network. I had to keep repeating “Mademoiselle Agnès” as everyone asked me my first name. More seriously, I have the feeling that the New York Fashion Week is very oriented to U.S. customers. In Paris, it is more abstract, more subjective: They dress “La Femme.”
How has fashion evolved, in your eyes, in the past ten years?
Craziness is gone, in a way. You don’t live those frantic moments backstage anymore. Everything is quieter, more professional. It is now a real business in itself, which was not really the case a decade ago.
Looking back at the ten years of your show, do you have a favorite moment?
I cried, I laughed, I cried, I laughed. I impersonated many people …
For one HABILLEES I have been a fashion-show photographer: a terrible ordeal. One does not realize the terrible conditions in which these people are working!
I cried because I had missed Jeremy Scott’s show.
For more than 15 minutes, I have been listening to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” used as a Dior show soundtrack: a fashion experience for the ears.
I put off my skirt before beginning an interview with John Galliano (don’t miss this sequence in the ten years of HABILLES!).
I had a panic attack at the Louis Vuitton show.
So a lot of emotions for Fashion Week.
Who would you love to see designing again?
Helmut Lang and Tom Ford. No comment.
Your personal style is off the charts! How would you describe your look
I don’t like the idea to have one style — I’m not monomaniacal at all. But I like the idea to have “du style” … I’m a Parisian, and we love to smoke, to have natural hair and makeup. Even if I try to go into red lipsticks sometimes, I like looking effortless. … I like to mix: If I'm wearing a jogging, because I’m lazy someday, I choose a beautiful bag. A miniskirt with an XXL T-shirt. But I’m not a print woman.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Still in fashion?
I don’t know as for fashion, but I hope to be a great TV producer in ten years. And as young and fresh and beautiful as I am now! And with 22 children of mine!
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