Audrey’s interview for Canvas Rebel Magazine, a major media broadcasting “conversations with entrepreneurs, artists & creatives’. You can find the full interview on Canvas Rebel website here, and retranscripted below.
We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Audrey Tasiaux. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Audrey below.
Audrey, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Owning a business isn’t always glamorous and so most business owners we’ve connected with have shared that on tough days they sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have just had a regular job instead of all the responsibility of running a business. Have you ever felt that way?
Yes and yes, I certainly often do envy the luxuries of a regular job.
In regards of Happiness as Inner Peace, well…! There is no off-switch, especially as a new business in an industry based on constant re-invention. “Clocking out” isn’t an option, there is always something on the stove.
Although pretty euphoric, it can be exhausting to keep up with – ask my boyfriend who sees me switching from Buddha to Jaffar from one minute to the other! …You may recall what Nigel in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ tells Anne Hathaway “Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke, that means it’s time for a promotion!”.
I certainly do sometimes crave the stability of a regular job – financial security, routines comfort vs. unexpected ‘emergencies’ springing up like mushrooms after the rain, the relative existencial questions following a risky decision, the intense travel schedules.
Every new collection is a full-swing emotional experience, like giving birth – a somewhat schizophrenic melting-pot of intense sensations going from pain & exhaustion to a great surge of joy & fullfilment… happiness is that you?
Happiness as Pleasure/Hedonism.
The dopamine-hit as business owner is unparalleled. There is something quite hedonistic in bringing a vision to life.
Wearing different caps is extremely energizing & refreshing – hopping simultaneously from finance to pure creation, drawings, logistics, PR, clients relations, digital media, bespoke projects, editorial, embarking on new creative partnerships, visiting the atelier (where magic comes to life!)– my little safe haven.
Aristotleian Happiness – joy from a sense of purpose.
Although often considered frivolous (elseways, ridiculous) via widespread clichés of shallow ‘fashion victims’ & Instagram-filtered globbe-trotting beau monde, the fashion industry is one of the most nurturing & fascinating environments, because it is one of the most tangible reflection of our times – politically, socially, economically – almost philosophically.
Fashion has been used through the ages for all kinds of reasons (for better & for worse).
I think of 13th century China ‘Lotus Shoes’ customs, that required women to bind their feet, making them difficult to run away. I think of the corset – another cruel intention handicapping women until Chanel & the Suffragettes broke the status quo leading to 1920s effeverscent Jazz Age Flappers – and their subsequent emancipation.
I think of French Ancien Régime ‘Sumptuary Laws’ that prevented certain social categories to wear specific types of fabrics, materials or colors prompted by concerns about the ‘correct ordering of society’. It also served as a tool to forward political centralization & mercantilist perspectives of protecting national industries, balance of trade…and finance war campaigns!
Although fashion spheres certainly has a lot of issues to fix – fatphobia, fast fashion’s environmental & social damages, lack of diversity, practices brutality… we often underestimate fashion as a source of joy & its power to drive social change.
I think of NY Times Dawnn Karen’s brilliant piece ‘The Dress Doctor’ exploring the mood-boosting power of how color, textures, aesthetics affect human behavior while addressing cultural sensitivities & norms. Ultimately, designing garments bringing joy & extra confidence boost to our ‘busy epicurean’ clients is an unmatched source of happiness.
Audrey, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Our brand is built upon Sustainable Luxury. We craft numbered edition pieces – think Wearable Art Collectibles – in our Parisian atelier, from French & Italian haute-couture materials. Sumptuous fluid garments to be worn ‘from your morning espresso to the red carpet’ that sublimate bodies & gracefully follows each gesture.
Designs are both inspired by & destined to women who devour life that surround me – especially my grandmother, Diana, to whom I tribute this brand.
In short, luxurious hedonistic outfits for the “Literatti & Glitterati”, blending a Slim Aarons – meets Carrie Bradshaw – meets Grace Kelly – meets Ottoman princesses spirit.
Our Signature piece is the Palazzo set, silky printed ensembles that can be worn as full look or separated – one set, an infinite possibilities. And what’s more, light and easy-to-pack for travelling (no more overpacking problems at the airport check-in!).
I started this brand as a side-hustle – my original background & life plan was to work in a geopolitical cabinet!
What I’m most proud of is building a business from scratch, learning everything on the spot (making your way through the fashion jungle is quite an adventure) whilst not relying on investors or high-dollar PR agencies.
But mostly to build a business involved in social & environmental initiatives such as sponsoring women-led farming & reforestation programs in Rwanda, and support of traditional, local French savoir-faire that is disappearing under mass delocalization pressure.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
Clearly word-to-mouth. Happy clients really are the best marketing/public relations!
Another one comes from the several partnerships we built with luxury hotels across the world for whom we’ve designed exclusive capsules, such as Eden Rock in St Barths, Caesar’s Palace in Dubaï, The Maybourne Riviera in Monaco.
We have also recently opened a new corner in Shanghaï where clients can find unique pieces during curated events blending contemporary art, luxury lifestyle, haute-couture & gastronomy.
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
-A Podcast : Entreprendre dans la Mode by Adrien Garcia – a goldmine for anyone starting a fashion business ! This, along with our incubation at prestigious Institut Français de la Mode in Paris have been a game-changer. I also highly recommend the ‘Managing Luxury Companies’ course by Bocconi and ‘Fashion as Design’ by MoMa.
-My background in International Business & Politics together with my upbringing in the South of France (a region blessed with a profusion of natural, sun-infused products and where authentic slow living and a deep connection to nature is an art de vivre) have definitely also shaped the Sustainable philosophy at the core of Diana d’Orville.
-Books: Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas, Erik Orsenna’s “Voyage au Pays du Coton”, ‘To Die For’ by Lucy Siegle.
-Documentaries by Arte – all of them !!!! Check ‘Le Dessous des Cartes – Quand la Planète s’Habille’ and ‘Le Sel de la Terre’ by Wim Wenders / Sebastiao Salgado (deeply moving).
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