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This week’s post will inaugurate my first in a recurring series on *Fashion*….

(I KNOW!!! How COOL am I to have *FASHION* from PARIS!?!)

NEW recurring themes: Fashion, Music, Writing, HDYGT Gets Fit, and Other – you know, any other thing anyone could possibly do, like Plastic Surgery, for instance.

My very first Fashion Guest Star is the lovely isa maïsa, a designer in Paris. Recently named the new Fashion Editor for fashion photographer Benjamin Kanarek’s blog, her eclectic Tee-shirts and accessories have been in Paris’ trendiest boutiques.

Watch for: International Fashion Photographer Benjamin Kanarek’s interview in January. (Oh YES I DID just say that!!)

isa maïsa and i met for a glass of champagne and crusty bread…i was terribly non-challant…that’s me in the beret, sunglasses, black stretchy stirrup pants, black turtle neck and dark red lipstick…

interview with isa maisa

hdygt: (not smiling) bonjour, isa maïsa…how lovely to meet you in this charming village, why iz eet we are meeting in zee country outside of Paree?

isa maïsa: (laughs at hdygt’s bad inspector clouseau accent) isn’t this a wonderful little village? it’s close to paris, on the seine river, surrounded by the largest forest in france. i love it here! i’m a country mouse, not a city rat.

hdygt: ah– a true bohemian. s’il vous plait, tell our readers what it is this thing you do for a living…

isa maïsa:    you don’t have to try to speak french, you know.

hdygt: (flipping through pocket dictionary) no,no… ça va… je…

isa maïsa:    i’m from iowa.

hdygt: (eyes start to tear up) … iowa?

isa maïsa:    but i’m half french. my father’s french and my mother’s bolivian …

hdygt: (lip starts to tremble)

isa maïsa: (looks worried) i have a french passport, and speak french without an accent…i speak three languages as a matter of fact: english, french and spanish

hdygt: (lifts glass of champagne to toast) tray bee-en…á la bohème!! please to tell our charming readers what it is you do?

isa maïsa:  i am a clothing designer, presently launching my one of a kind tee-shirt designs through several outlets.  i also enjoy working with my hands revamping home interiors.

hdygt: and how long have you been doing these, how do you say—

isa maïsa: — these “hand” jobs?

hdygt: (sucks champagne into windpipe, coughing)

isa maïsa:    just a little designer humour. you ok?

hdygt: i’m ça va

isa maïsa:  i’ve been working with my hands for as long as i can remember.  i grew up sewing, painting, knitting, cooking.  if i were to give an age, it would be around 9 years old when i truly remember finished projects.

hdygt: (not afraid to ask the tough questions)   child labour laws aren’t enforced in france?

isa maïsa:    iowa

hdygt: (notes isa maïsa is oddly unconcerned by her abusive childhood)

hdygt: getting back to these “hand” jobs…what special skills or qualities prepared you for them? or is it just a french thing? (raises eyebrows abruptly)

isa maïsa:  i have well developed hand – eye coordination that jives with my off the wall imagination.  i have a terrific sense of imagination, and  patience.

hdygt: yes… hand-eye coordination would come in “handy”…

isa maïsa:    that’s what I said.

hdygt: i was just repeating it for effect.

isa maïsa:    (wishes hdygt would drop the inspector clouseau bit)

hdygt:  (marvels at how she’s picked up the french accent)  please. go on.

isa maïsa: i love to check things off my list-to-do. i am pretty organized.

hdygt: what did you do before becoming a designer?

isa maïsa:  i did loads of stuff that bundled up nicely to give me the skills i need today to be my own one-man-show.

hdygt: such as?

isa maïsa:    sales, p.r., cook, decorator, etc.  looking back, it made perfect sense to be soooo diversified with my past employment because now i can do anything…..

hdygt: any formal schooling for your many talents?

isa maïsa:    my masters in exercise physiology was so uninspiring that i dropped it to attend harper school of design in the u.s.  i then had an opportunity to intern and subsequently work with louis féraud, one of the few remaining  maison haute couture in paris. did you know there are only a handful of them left in the world?

hdygt: sacre bleu! pour qwa?

isa maïsa: not many people are buying $60,000 dresses these days.

hdygt: i see… (note to self: accost all rich ladies shopping at target) please continue

isa maïsa: so I paid off all my debt, packed my suitcase and headed to paris with $200 in hand to work for louis féraud, which led to studying design at paris’ renowned studio berçot, with a great teacher of marie rucki.  that was my secret garden for 2 whole years.  i loved it and it made me open up…

hdygt: what effect did working with other famous designers have on you?

isa maïsa:  louis féraud:  as an assistant to a directrice de la haute couture, a dream job, i learned about the rich and famous and became a damn good seamstress.

ralph lauren.  loved the window displaying.

givenchy with mcqueen.  nothing much except it was exciting to be standing next to the latest ‘it’ boy

hdygt: boy! so what do you like most about your work? please include the most intimate details.

isa maïsa:  i love the play and i love to work with my hands.  the 2 just jive together.  whether it be in the kitchen, garden or in my artist studio, i just love to play.

hdygt: (baffeled at why isa’s talking shop when the question was clearly seeking ‘it’ boy info)

isa maïsa: i also love the lifestyle that i create being my own boss.  no more alarm clocks which to me is a huge luxury.  i feel spoiled.  since i love to do one-on-one sales with my clientele, i am able to use my languages: french, spanish and of course, english.  i try to use italian whenever i can, my words are not always successful so i use my body language— there i am a true italian swinging my arms all over the place.

hdygt: any other memorable jobs along the way?

isa maïsa:    lifeguarding.  great tan.

clinique make-up rep.  loads of free make-up and perfume.

farmer’s market.  great food and received great home cooked recipes.

aerobic dance instructor and trainer.  best ass in the midwest.

hdygt: why, thank you! (relieved someone finally noticed)

isa maïsa: (digs the zone hdygt’s in)

hdygt: lastly, any life lessons you wish to share?

isa maïsa:  have fun.  do what comes naturally.  go with the flow.  allow things to come to you instead of you always going to them.  chill and enjoy!

hdygt: great jiving with such a cool cat, isa maisa… and as always – Thank You For Playing!!