My entire life in Paris can be summed up in three locations: my apartment, the Schiaparelli studio in the Place Vendôme and the Tuileries Garden, which is halfway between the two. I walk to work every day, and I like to stop here and sketch, sitting next to a female figure made of stone. It’s a sacred time and space for me because once I arrive at work, it’s a nonstop schedule of meetings, interviews and phone calls. I learned during the pandemic how much I enjoy the feeling of working when no one else is, that freedom you feel early in the morning or late at night.
Here in the park, there’s only my vision and a concept, and nothing can be picked apart. It’s a moment for me to record my imagination on the page and to put the ideas for a collection in motion. In fashion, we’re constantly churning out new things, so I’m forever both starting one story and finishing another. I used to sketch with pencils, but now I only use Sharpies. I like the strength of them — I can’t go back and erase anything, so I’m forced to commit to big, bold strokes.
One of the reasons I take these walks is that they give me a chance to indulge in nostalgia. Before I moved to Paris from New York City, I was driven by the fantasy of “what if … ?” Now, I’m on the other side of that “what if.” Those morning walks are the only times I feel creatively innocent again. When I got this job, someone I love told me, “Dreams are expensive.” It’s costly on so many levels, and you can’t really imagine how when you’re fantasising about success in your 20s. I always think about that because I’ve discovered the emotional expense of putting your work out there and having it judged and assessed, not to mention the cost of time lost away from the people whom I love in order to live my most intense, wildest dream. But to me, being a designer means being a servant — a servant to your own vision, to the client, to the atelier, to the process, to the expectations, to the pressure and to the ecstasy.