Wednesday, November 12, 2008

[Regina Walton's Expat Interviews] A style icon visits Seoul

Yipee! Today the Korea Herald's Expat Living section published my interview with style and fashion icon, Diane Pernet. That was really exciting. I saw her on the second day of Seoul Fashion Week when she got out of a vehicle. I was talking to a few attendees at the front door of SETEC.

I'd read that she was coming and I was like "Wow! There she is!" I had to explain who she was because, for people who don't know about her, all they see is her appearance: black beehive hair topped with a black veil, vintage sunglasses, layers of black skirting with a pale face and red lips. Her appearance is a mysterious constant in the ever changing world of fashion and trends. I was pleased to discover she's simply a very nice lady because I got the privilege to meet and interview her at Daily Projects in Apkujeong during Seoul Fashion Week.

My editor did a great job with images from her compilation of films on style and fashion, A Shaded View on Fashion Film (linked below). It's not really captured well on the webpage. However, like always, I've attached an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version of the actual page as it appeared in the paper today.

Before you head in, here is the link to a Q&A I did with Diane for the DeepGlamour website.


[Regina Walton's Expat Interviews] A style icon visits Seoul

It's not every day you get to sit down with someone who is routinely described as a fashion and style icon. That happened to me a couple weeks ago during Seoul Fashion Week. It was my second time covering Korea's biggest fashion event.

In addition to Korean designers, the event planners brought in a handful of fashion experts.

Diane Pernet was one of these experts.

She has been in the fashion business for years, and has an impressive resume. For over 13 years she had her own New York City-based fashion label. Her designs were featured in high profile magazines from around the world, including Vogue, and worn by supermodels, such as Janice Dickerson.

But before all that she was a photographer and in college she studied filmmaking.

Pernet has been a fashion journalist and critic for heavy media like and She is an associate editor for Zoo Magazine. She is also a consultant and editor for the biggest online fashion network, Igons. She also works as a curator and fashion and photo scout for the d'Hyeres festival.

Most important, to those plugged into the internet and fashion, she is probably best known for having one of the most influential fashion websites: Her blog is named A Shaded View on Fashion (ASVOF). It draws upon her iconic look: towering dark hair, black cat-eye shades, a black veil with layers of black clothing, which contrast with her pale white skin and dramatic red lips.

Pernet's blog is known for featuring new fashion talent and locations that help to keep fashion edgy and interesting. What's interesting about her look is its evolution. On Pernet's website you can see photos of her before she developed her look and you can also get a feeling for how she got there. You can get wrapped up in her image, but essentially Pernet is a creative and sensitive soul with interesting, and sometimes quite sad, events in her life. Thus, she's taken on a static look while working in an industry where looks change season by season.

You can say that in the midst of the dynamic world of fashion, Pernet's look remains a constant, adding an air of mystery.

In addition to her very popular website, she has another project - A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF). This project merges her knowledge and love of fashion with her interest in images and film. ASVOFF started off as a project named You Wear it Well with photographer Dino Dinko in 2006. The project is currently in its third year and Diane is now its head. ASVOFF launched at the esteemed Jeu de Paume in Paris.

As someone who has had so many roles in fashion, I asked her what had been her most satisfying role. "It's two things, actually, because I was a designer myself for 13 years, which of course was very satisfying, because I was creating something. And now that I'm doing my own film festival ... I make low-fi films," she said. "But the whole idea (is to put) together what I believe is the strength of the future: directors, designers and a new way of presenting fashion.

"Traveling around the planet with my festival and meeting people and hoping, like from this trip, I would love to find new Korean directors that want to collaborate with Korean designers. And we have one film in the festival from Steve and Yoni."

Pernet said she would like to expand the international aspect of the festival.

When speaking with her about fashion, you're talking to someone who is well-versed and knowledgeable. You also realize she's someone who doesn't just keep up with the established designers. She's also someone who makes an effort to see new designers. whom she features on her blog.

When I asked her which designers she was excited about, she gave me a list that differs hugely from the standard names most people discuss. "Well, I like Gareth Pugh a lot. I really like Marios Schwab a lot. And people that are a bit more established like Raf Simons ... Christopher Kane. I think London has the strongest creativity, in fact."

When it comes to Korean designers, of course, she has a list of some that she admires. "Well, I also like Steve J and Yoni P, but I've seen them in London and I saw them here. Jin Lee at her shows in Paris. The collection we saw last night, Woo Young Mi," she said. "I liked KIIIM. I liked the two collections we saw the second day at Daily Projects (JAIN by JAIN SONG and Suh Sang-young). I also liked the first collection that was shown at the Next Generation show."

Pernet continued, "I'm not into destroying people. If I don't like collections I just don't report on them. It's not my way. For one thing, I was a designer myself for 13 years, which most critics have not been. And I know, even if you do a horrible collection, there were probably months of work and a lot of people involved in creating it.

"I'm just not about destroying people. ... I know that's what sells. I do know that, but I'm not going that route."

Regarding her film career, Pernet said it had started nine years ago when she wanted to put together a festival, but that there wasn't the material for it. Mark Eley - half of the design team Eley Kishimoto - had a hand in her beginnings when he asked her to make a road movie for him. "There was lots of runway on video but that's not interesting to me. So I forgot about it for awhile." She said that Eley asked her to do a movie for the Gumball 3000 rally - a car race. The result of filming Mark and the Gumball 3000 was a film named "Adventure of Pleasure."

"So I had a collaborator in L.A. and he was a contributor to my blog. ... I sent him 'Adventure of Pleasure,' which was the road movie and he said 'Do you want to screen it in L.A.?'

"Then my other contributor in Mexico City had sent me a film which I really liked. ... Then we (all) just decided to do a film festival, a fashion film festival." Last July she decided to work on the film festival as a solo project and "that's when it became A Shaded View on Fashion Film."

When asked how it feels to merge her two loves, fashion and film, Diane answered decisively. "It's great. That's why I did it," she said. "It feels really good and I want it to keep growing. I just want to build it and I think it's the future."

"It's a new way to present fashion."

You can keep up with Diane, her travels and the fashion that she likes at her blog: A Shaded View on Fashion, and you can keep up with her film project at A Shaded View on Fashion Film,
Diane's link to my article...yeah! And thanks!
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  1. Great in depth interview, quite a few facets I didn't know about Diane, and I've followed her own site for some time. Thank you

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback and glad I could give you a little more info on such an interesting person.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.