Photographing street style over the past few years I've met many people who can put a good outfit together. I think the test of true style is seeing the same person on different days. If they have the ability to wear a variety of things and make them all work, you know they're not doing the 'mannequin sweep' - simply buying a complete look from one store.
After moving to Paris, it's become apparent how important style is to each person here. This stretches far beyond clothing, and of particular importance is apartments. Paris is one of the most crowded cities in Europe so many people live in 20 square meters or less. If you've only got a box to your name, you better be damned sure you've done something creative with the space and that there's a reason to keep every single item in that room.
I've been invited to some great house parties set against extravagant yet hidden backdrops. If you walked past no-one would know how incredible the space was, so I decided this must change!
Imogen Roy is my first subject for a new series of portraits 'Superior Interior: Beyond the Street Style'. I met Imogen Roy via Twitter – with the lovely coincidence that we're both Scots in Paris. She's the blogger of Eight London and I just knew she'd have a million interesting gems for me to route through. I wasn't wrong.
Living in my favourite neighbourhood in Paris, we met on a Sunday morning in the 11e arrondissement. The sun was blazing down and when I saw an elegant figure gliding towards me in blood orange and purple, I knew I was in for a treat. After a three hour shoot and chat, there were so many interesting nit-bits I wanted to share. Below is a visual document of her current wardrobe and a summary of a few of Imogen's favourite things.
On her personal style:
“People often ask me: Describe your style and I think...um...over the top? I do think I must've been a transvestite in another life. If you're going to dress up you may as well go for it. Yes I may get some funny looks when I walk down the street, but I'm enjoying myself.”
On her wardrobe:
“I mostly buy vintage clothes because you can buy things of superior materials and cut but for a fraction of the price. This orange mohair dress is 1980s from a store in Edinburgh. It's so warm, comfortable – you just couldn't buy this quality on the high street. Talking of bargains, this orange wool blazer was only 1€ from Free'P'Star in Paris. It's my favourite place to get vintage in the city.
The leather motorcycle jacket is from Mint vintage in London. I saw this tall girl with short blonde hair in the corner of my eye as I went to reach for it and we both stuck out our hand to get it. It was one of those moments. I had my hand on it first so I just went for the grab. When I went up to pay for it, the man behind the counter said “Oh you were lucky to get that before Agyness Deyn did!” I didn't even notice! I'm so glad I got it though as it's one of the warmest things ever made. I wore it in Siberia, so that truly is a test of it's capacity to protect against the elements! All I need is a bike now.”
On the fashion industry:
“What makes me sad about the fashion industry is when it gets to the point that fashion isn't fun anymore. It's such a huge global business that drives so much money and commerce, that the pressure on the designers it unbearable. Look at John Galliano or Christophe Decarnin who's now in a psychiatric hospital. It worries me because the appreciation for beautiful, crafted things is drying up. It's all about fast fashion. I really appreciate what Tom Ford has done. He says 'I still want to design but it's going to be on my terms'. I think that's very admirable.”
On her interest in fashion:
“It's funny because fashion has never been a part of my family...or even interesting clothes when I think about it. I'm not sure where it came from. I remember being about 13 and picking through Vogue magazine constantly. I was enamoured with the images of beautiful women and the artwork - I was hooked from then on. When I was 15 my Dad won an auction to get tickets to Christopher Bailey's Burberry show for spring/summer in 2005. I was in the 2nd which is a pretty good spot and I remember wearing this Burberry coat. I thought to myself 'I must wear Burberry' when I found out we were going, so I skipped to Armstrong's Vintage in Edinburgh. The only thing, the 'classic' trench I got was awful. It was so old and really smelly – it must've been from about WWII. It completely drowned me, it was enormous. I may have gone to the show in a stinking old coat but that experience of sitting there with the iconic people around me made me think: 'I can never work in another industry. I'm going to be in fashion no matter what it takes'.”
“I shop in the Lebanese market at the top of the 11e. It's all bartering and shouting. It's got a really nice multi-culturalism that makes it less intimidating. That's something I love about this city – I feel different people really integrate here well. There are three butchers on the corner out my window: one is Halal, the other Kosher and the last Arabian. Every evening many people visit to buy their meat and each of them standing to talk to the other. I feel like there's a real harmony between cultures here.”
On her favourite book:
“This book 'Blood of Others' was written by Simone de Beauvoir, the long term partner of Jean Paul Sartre. It's an English translation of an existentialist novel that I actually bought it in India, but it's a story set in Paris funnily enough. This edition is pretty special as it has an inscription of a prize given to an Indian student at university and still has her bookmark with memories written on it. I hope she meant to give it away because it's quite a sweet thing to have. I love collecting things that have some sort of memory or interest, even if it's not my family and it's someone else’s.”
On her jewellery:
“I'm all about costume jewellery because I'm so careless, I run around and drop things and am careless so it's best I don't have things that are worth too much. The necklace I'm wearing is from H&M surprisingly. I don't usually buy high street jewellery because it's so poorly made and has little personal meaning but I think this one is quite special. I guess it's all about the impression rather than reality. As long as you stand back it looks like it could be couture!
The necklace with the large turquoise stone was a 21st birthday present from my best friend. It's got a secret compartment in the back. I travelled in India about 3 years ago and got really into ethic jewellery – solid silver and huge stones. It's nice to be able to get the opportunity to get these things from the source and talk to the vendors themselves.”