Cecilia Bönström, artistic director of Zadig & Voltaire, reveals herself in a seasonal/seasonable question-and-answer session. 100% cashmere interview.

If we say « autumn », do you think «Back to work !» with a smile or «Goodbye summer !» with a heavy heart ?
«Back to work !» To me, the start of the new school year has always been very positive, a joyful reunion, either at school or with my team. I couldn’t always be on holidays, even in the sunshine. I like the new duties and challenges which go hand in hand with this period.

Your first new school year memory, the one you keep always in mind?
The discovering of the new outfits my mother used to give to my twin sister and me. Each year it was a surprise. My mother loved to surprise us, she was both classic and eccentric. One day she could clothe us with a long dress and white straw hat, Sarah Moon style, and the next one with a black polo-neck and mini trench-coat. Each time is was exciting. She set the tone, all the children were looking at us… My sensitivity towards fashion also comes from her.

The item of clothing or the accessory you are glad you have created for this season?
The Skinny Love bag, the Artyvoodoo version. I reissued it and added some lucky charms, nails, and bonds. This mix works well: I like the leather crumpled look, the vintage style, the chain is perfect… It has a personal experience, a story, something really authentic. I’m quite pleased with it.

And the one you really wish you had imagined for this period of the year ?
I wish I had designed an oilskin – a short, well-fitting raincoat made of coated fabric, which one can wear with a navy blue pullover… It would have been a reinvented dark khaki version, with the typical Zadig details.

The Zadig’s three ideal - or offbeat - items to have in one’s dressing room right from September?
The iconic Evrell bluejean, the Joe military boots - crocodile leather or glitter style – and the Faro oversize cashmere knit, with its long sleeves which can hide everything and wrap you. It’s like a cuddly blancket, with a classy look on top.

Your cultural musts this autunm?
In literature, Eva*, Simon Liberati’s book dedicated to his wife Eva Ionesco – it’s a quite ultimate declaration of love. I’m also going to see Balanchine / Millepied / Robbins**, the new show of Benjamin Millepied and Démons***, the play – written by a Swede – in which Romain Duris acts. I love him ! To me, he represents the real Parisian guy, such as those I met when I first came here, with a perfecto and real dark hair… Besides, to get rid of the stress during this period, I suggest to go dancing a whole night in the Montana night-club!

The three pleasures you won’t override in autumn?
I like to walk along the beach in Normandy, to open a Bordeaux bottle in a typical Parisian bistro… As for my guilty pleasure: a café latte instead of a thyme infusion!

Paris in autumn, low-angled light and pastel glow/glimmer: the most beautiful city in the world, according to you?
I am Swedish, so I can say it without being chauvinistic: to me Paris is always the most inspiring city. It’s an ancient capital but not old-fashioned/antiquated, which manages to escape the stress, unlike London or New York ; the cultural, architectural and culinary wealth are unique there. And of course there are the Parisiennes : I love their look, their way to wear python and black in a state of total relaxation, the perfect balance between rock et chic, leather and cashmere… I need them to move on, they inspire me.

A really automnal fabric which always tempts you?
The côtelé mille raies velvet in pink powder, cognac or sky-blue color… I use it in each of my autum-winter collections.

Do you sing in the rain ?
Yes, I am an optimistic by nature! Even Iif I prefer when the sun is shining, I never let the weather disturb myself. I move forward, I don’t even realize that it’s raining.

If the autumn was a women you would she be ?
Ali MacGraw ! She has this mystic beauty, particularly in Love Story – the way she is dressed, what she expresses… To me, it’s obvious.

Photos : Alexandre Tabaste
* Stock Editions.
** In the Palais Garnier (Paris IX), until October 11th.
*** By Lars Norén, Théâtre du Rond-Point (Paris VIII), until October 11th.

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