(Additional note: I’m very honoured to say that Frédérique Renaut enjoyed her interview so much she posted it on their Fashion blog! Now where’d I put my tiara??)
FASHION: Ahhh, Paris! If you *heart* the fashion world, or work in any creative field requiring inspiration, you must meet my next Guest Star… she’s a REAL LIVE MUSE!
Papers seek out her Hot Off the Press Fashion Reports, like The Demise of Christian Lacroix Fashion House. She’s worked for Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier, and even Alexander McQueen, to name a few.
HDYGT: (hands Frédérique small gift box from Tiffany’s) Welcome Frédérique Renaut. I know you’re busy Musing for fashion photographer Benjamin Kanarek, but I’ve got terrible writer’s block and was wondering–
Frédérique Renaut: What are you talking about?
HDYGT: (lowers voice) Look, I know what you are. I’ve seen the movie.
Frédérique Renaut: (ignores box) What movie?
HDYGT: The Muse – with Sharon Stone. She plays a muse, like you, who inspires all of Hollywood, but she’s finicky. She’ll only work if showered with expensive gifts. (rummages inside large bag) Dagnabbit – I TOLD the sales lady that key ring wasn’t good enough…
Frédérique Renaut: That’s ridiculous. I do Communications, Marketing Positioning and Strategy for Luxury brands.
HDYGT: (pulls out larger Tiffany’s box) Yeah, yeah– you’ve got to help me! My characters are running havoc in my head, I can’t eat or sleep, I’m driving my husband crazy –
Frédérique Renaut: (shoves box away) I can imagine.
HDYGT: Just a little eensy-weensy idea, a shove in the right direction…?
Frédérique Renaut: (peels HDYGTs fingers off her arm) I have work to do.
HDYGT: Alright, alright – we’ll do it your way—Please tell our readers what you do for a living.
Frédérique Renaut: I worked for luxury brands for 15 years, and spent the past 10 of them also doing Artistic Direction and Digital retouching for beauty & fashion shoots, and I’m the Fashion and Beauty Director on http://www.BenjaminKanarekblog.com.
HDYGT: And what exactly makes you suited to working for all these luxury brands… would you say you INSPIRE them?
Frédérique Renaut: I’d say it’s my adaptability, reactivity, overview and attention to detail. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe would say “God is in the details”
HDYGT: Does this detail driven God happen to be a family member of yours named… ZEUS?
Frédérique Renaut: (blank stare, starts to leave)
HDYGT: OK, I won’t go there. Please tell us what qualities someone of your *persuasion* might need on the job, or were you…uh…born to do this?
Frédérique Renaut: I’m a perfectionist. I have convictions and fight for them. Nothing worse than being a yes-man when you work with creative people!
HDYGT: Yes, YES!! You’re so right! Wow, your life sounds like an odyssey full of excitement and adventure.
Frédérique Renaut: I guess it has been a bit of an odyssey. For 9 years, I was Media Director for the world for Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier and Narciso Rodriguez perfumes (BPI) an affiliate of Shiseido based in Paris and was responsible for the world-wide media strategy in all the traditional and new media concepts for the 3 brands.
HDYGT: Did this lead to *what you do* today?
Frédérique Renaut: Yes, I know all about the corporate language and the problems advertisers face with social networking. Working with more than 50 countries, I dealt with managers from very diverse cultural backgrounds.
HDYGT: What other positions stand out in your past—perhaps an elegant profile stance while strumming a lyre?
Frédérique Renaut: In the mid 90’s, I worked at Louis Féraud Communication Department for 3 years. It was a wonderful chance to work with one of the last Couturiers, still running his own Fashion House. I organized more than 8 Haute Couture press shows in Paris.
HDYGT: Glamorous and historical!
Frédérique Renaut: I also assisted Alexander McQueen for a short period of time when he was the Artistic Director at Givenchy.
HDYGT: As his Muse?
Frédérique Renaut: No!! I was his translator, as he had to work with French teams from the “Givenchy ateliers”. A very creative and talented designer!
HDYGT: (winks) I see… good cover.
Frédérique Renaut: (rolls eyes)
HDYGT: Just imagine, inspiring –I mean *communicating* with people throughout the fashion world…what a valuable experience.
Frédérique Renaut: Valuable yes, but the most exiting part is to come. Social networking is fundamentally changing how people connect. Companies are not facing an evolution but a revolution that might leave some of them on the side of the road.
HDYGT: Which is why I am here, pleading with you, the characters in my book are revolting.
Frédérique Renaut: Created them in your own image, heh?
HDYGT: I mean they’re all running amok, they’ve left ME on the side of the road. You’ve got to help me!
Frédérique Renaut: For the last time, I can’t inspire you!! I switched to fashion and photography ages ago. Besides, another one of us does literature… but you’ll need a much bigger gift for her.
HDYGT: I KNEW IT!! (does the Happy Grecian Urn interpretive dance and twirl)
Frédérique Renaut: As for me, I have an exclusive Muse-ition with Benjamin Kanarek now. (floats out of room)
HDYGT: (calls after) Wait, what’s the other one’s name? Does she have a mobile phone?
Frédérique Renaut: (loud clap of thunder) Sorry Dad – I didn’t mean to tell her, but she wouldn’t shut up! (blinding lightening) You’re right – no one will believe that nut job anyway. (dulcet laughter)
HDYGT: The Muse has spoken… as always, Frédérique Renaut, Thank You for Playing!