Former Vogue Editor in Chief and now bestselling author of the Vogue Factor, Kirstie Clements, embodies a certain perspective on success and what it takes to achieve it that we find refreshing and inspiring. From her humble beginnings as a receptionist at Vogue, to her 25 year career in the fashion industry (13 years as Editor in Chief of Vogue) and her current role as author and editorial consultant, Kirstie has always done things with style and grace. Married to a Frenchman and having lived in Paris for a number of years, she has the perfect insight into one of our favourite cities and the feature of a number of our scarves. Join us now as we explore Paris with Kirstie Clements!
BK: How often do you travel to Paris Kirstie, and for what reason?
KC: I used to go to Paris twice a year for the rtw shows, and sometimes for couture. I now go back at least 2 or 3 times a year, for holidays, to see family and for work. It’s nice to be there when it’s not show time!
BK: Who is your favourite travel companion when visiting Paris, or do you prefer to travel solo?
KC: I love being alone, but now my favourite companions are my 21 year old twin sons. My husband is Parisian, so the boys are half French, it’s like visiting home. We moved to Australia when they were 3, so it is wonderful to watch them discover the charms of Paris now they are older. One of my fondest memories was renting a beautiful apartment in the Place des Voges and dancing around the room with my son Joe to Piaf.
BK: Do you tend to stay in the same place(s) and if so, can you fill us in on your favourite hotels?
KC: My favourite hotel is the Saint Vincent, in the 5th. It is in a wonderful location and I love the staff. It’s very chic and very informal. Just don’t book the attic room – you can’t stand up in the bathroom if you’re very tall!
BK: Where do you shop in Paris? Are there specific items you seek out?
KC: I just like to walk and discover – Paris changes all the time. I like Le Bon Marche as a department store, I love the Marais, and the 3rd and the 6th. I like to buy fragrance and candles from all the small perfumeries such as Atelier Cologne, and beauty products such as Darphin and Nuxe from the pharmacies. L’Eclaireur stocks all the best labels and is always a treat. I adore the bookstores, and the street food markets.
My favourite hotel is the Saint Vincent. It is in a wonderful location and I love the staff. Just don’t book the attic room – you can’t stand up in the bathroom if you’re very tall!
BK: What has been your favourite purchase from Paris?
KC: Well, last trip, which was September, I didn’t pack enough warm clothes. I found a really great thick navy cardigan that was oversized and soft and knobbly at American Vintage which was just perfect. It looked good with jeans, or black pants, or over a dress, and made me feel like a local! I also bought some black velvet Prada brogues so I could walk long distances on the cobblestones at night.
BK: What does a typical day-in-the-life-of Kirstie-Clements-in-Paris entail?
KC: A really long breakfast at a café. Then I will decide to visit something on the very opposite of the peripherique and walk there. That’s how you discover things. I never get tired walking in Paris. I’ll choose a different route back. Then it’s time for an aperitif and dinner somewhere fab.
BK: What are your favourite places to visit in Paris (galleries, stores, cafes, restaurants, gardens etc…)
KC: Musee D’Orsay, the Orangerie, Palais Royale area, the Place des Voges, Jardin du Luxembourg, I mean all of it. I like the traditional bistros a lot, my favourite is upstairs in Le Castiglione in the 1st. I am a sucker for steak frites and green salad. Merci is a great store I visited last time.
BK: What have you not yet done / seen in Paris that is on your to-do list for your next trip?
KC: I haven’t been in the catacombs or on the Hunchback of Notre Dame tour by night, I’d love to do that. I’m a bit dark. I like all the grisly stuff! I’m always looking for where the guillotines might have been in the Place de La Concorde.
BK: What are your essential items when packing for Paris – and do you dress differently whilst there?
If it’s not fashion week, yes! I lived there for 5 years, and found it to be quite casual. It’s cold and it’s wet for 9 months of the year, so you need functional things like good flat boots and trainers, and cardigans, and coats. The Parisiennes look cool rather than dressy. I always take a trench, a caban coat, jeans, a black cashmere sweater, no matter what season. And red lipstick.