OUI BUT NO BUT OUI
The authors from L to R: Sophie Mas, Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan and Caroline de Maigret
As Karl Lagerfeld says, “You don’t have to be French to be Parisian”, and lucky for all of us born outside it’s borders, four accomplished French women are here to help with their book How to be Parisian Wherever You Are – Love, Style and Bad Habits, by waxing cheekily on all of the above–with grace, humor and intellect.
The multi-talented authors–Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas — have been close friends for ages, working and killing it in the realms of music, film, fashion and publishing.
Co-author Sophie Mas graciously shares some of her prized Parisian gems, below. But first, let’s have a taste of the book. From the chapter:
YES BUT NO BUT YES.
She says hello to everyone but wants to talk to noone.
She eats a four-cheese pizza but puts Stevia in her coffee.
She buys very expensive shoes but never polishes them.
She goes to great lengths for a pedicure but wears mismatched underwear.
She smokes like a chimney on the way to the countryside to get some fresh air.
She drinks vodka in the evening and green tea in the morning.
She doesn’t believe in God but prays for help whenever she’s in trouble
She’s an environmentalist but sometimes takes her scooter to buy a baguette.
She’s a feminist but watches porn.
She’a capable of moving mountains but needs constant reassurance.
She’s aware her flaws mess with her life but changing is too much work.
Can anyone relate? BE HONEST.
Q & A: SOPHIE MAS
FAVORITE YES BUT NO BUT YES:
“She buys very expensive shoes but never takes care of them!” The perfect Parisian woman paradox.
As if it should suffice to have put money into the shoes, so once the purchase and investment is made, you’re not going to take care of them.
Neither do you want them to look like they’re expensive!
SIGNATURE FRAGRANCE & WHY YOU LOVE IT:
It’s #2 by Comme des Garçons. I smelled it on a very elegant and cool British girl that I had just met in a car and fell in love with it.
“It hit me like a drug. I had to ask her what it was and if I was allowed to get it for myself too.”
I don’t know why, but I felt I needed her approval before getting it. I’ve been wearing it for almost 10 years.
SIGNATURE ITEM & HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WEAR IT:
A copy of a navy blue YSL jacket that I borrowed from a friend and had redone brand new in India in 2 hours, for about 50 dollars. They are the masters of couture there!
I can wear it to a dinner party, at Cannes for a premiere, or for work meetings – it instantly makes me feel confident and elegant.
ON YOUR MANTLEPIECE:
It’s a mix of many little things that I’ve gathered all my life and move with me from one place to another: little colored rocks, postcards from my family or from exhibitions I’ve been to and loved, little post-its or birthday notes with kind words from friends, polaroids and old photobooth pics.
I carry some of them when I travel, they make me feel at home anywhere.
5 OF YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN PARIS:
It’s the places I keep coming back to-
– Book store : L’Ecume des Pages in Saint Germain
– Cafe de Flore: for anything. A moment for myself, celebrating a birthday, a work lunch, a romantic drink, to meet a friend..
– All the Parisians I know, including myself, have this fetish relationship with the store Monoprix, sort of upscale version of a chic Target.
It’s the best for simple and cheap clothes with great cut, beauty products, and great selection of gourmet food.
– The Luxembourg Gardens, to reboot
“I know it sounds cliché, but crossing the Seine on my Vespa, at sunrise or sunset, no matter which bridge I’m on, always does something.”
5 SONGS THAT ENCAPSULATE THE PARISIAN SPIRIT:
“Il est 5h, Paris s’éveille”, Jacques Dutronc
“Message Personnel”, Françoise Hardy
“La Dolce Vita”, Christophe
“Left Bank”, Air
“Dieu est un fumeur de havanes”, Catherine Deneuve and Serge Gainsbourg