Helene, in London

helene headshot
One of the most popular post on Zavvi Rodaine thus far has been The Luxe Chronicle interview . Here is part two of my interview with HELENE LEBLANC where we discussed her personal style. As always, Helene’s answers are insightful and informative. And I love the mix of vintage and street-style photos that Helene feels best capture who she is right now. So chic!

helene henry clarke 1955
Do you have a signature style?
I guess you could say that I’m a minimalist with a slight rebellious streak. I’m petite, so I need to be wary of proportions–simple, sleek garments that are well cut and tailored to my body work best for me. This said, I also love bold accessories like nice chunky jewelry and a good shoe. I generally choose just two strong accessories so as not to overwhelm the overall silhouette.

You’ve lived in New York, Paris and now London. Are there elements of your style that are distinctly American, British or Parisian?
That’s a tough question. I think anytime you immerse yourself in a new culture or place, you come away enriched somehow although its not always immediately clear what you’ve taken away until much later. I would have to say that the core of my fashion choices are very Parisian. To me, silhouettes and proportions that emerged from Paris in the 1950s and 60s still send a shiver down my spine and remain very modern even today– Balenciaga and Saint Laurent especially. I also have a deep respect for the way Parisian women relate to fashion and distill trends to make them their own. It’s what I aspire to and what most influences my choices.

What is your favorite travel destination for fun and relaxation?
Food and wine usually drives the choice of destination. I go with my family every summer to a little place in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. There is no tourist infrastructure to speak of which insures virtually no tourists. There is no “scene”, no hip or trendy bars or restaurants. For the most part, very little English is spoken, so we have to resort to our rudimentary Italian. What it does have is the most amazing food and truly lovely people. We always come back relaxed, happy and slightly fatter than when we left.
helene stockholm_street_style
I know you travel alot for work, so tell us, what are your travel essentials?
My IPhone
: I was until recently a committed Blackberry user but this little contraption has completely transformed my life. It allows me not only to access all of my email accounts but also to manage my website (monitor comments, post remotely, etc). It also contains my music and photos of my husband and daughter which helps when I get lonely or homesick. Of course there are some amazing apps as well like Net-App (Net-a-Porter) which insures I don’t miss out on anything while I’m away. It’s a truly fantastic piece of technology.

A cashmere wrap: I’m always cold on planes or in drafty airport lounges so it comes in handy. It’s also far more elegant than a security blanket.

Unscented baby wipes: I always keep a package in my travel bag. They’re great for everything from removing make-up to removing small spots on clothing.

What’s a global shopping tip that we all should know about?
Find out before you leave what the premier shopping destination is in the city you’re traveling to and start there. Otherwise, your hotel concierge will likely know where the hot spots are. I rarely have a lot of time to shop, so I try to hit the one best spot that particular city has to offer. For instance, in Hong Kong, I go straight to Lane Crawford’s flagship store in the IFC Mall. When I’m in Paris, it depends where I’m staying, but usually I hit Franck & Fils (a tiny department store in the depths of Paris’ 16 arrondissement) or Maria Luisa. In Milan, I go straight to 10 Corso Como. These are the places you go to for the latest trends, the new rising stars of fashion or design and things you’re not likely to find anywhere else. If I have time, I expand my reach a bit, but this way, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on the best shopping.

helene wine meal
Describe a perfect lazy weekend.
The best weekends are where you can really slow down and let yourself become totally lazy–it doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s such a great feeling. On Saturdays, we generally like to have a nice leisurely lunch somewhere and take in an exhibit either at London’s Tate Modern or the V&A. Sundays are meant for sleeping in late with my husband (although our daughter rarely lets us do that), having a good cup of coffee while reading the weekend papers, followed by my husband’s delicious ham & cheese omelets. Sunday evening, we like to cook a nice meal, light candles and open a good bottle of wine. Closing out the weekend this way helps us face the week ahead.

Name a song that takes you someplace special when you hear it.
Jessye Norman’s tribute album to Michel Legrand ” I Was Born In Love With You”. It puts me right back in my cozy Paris apartment with my husband. We’re newlyweds. We’re sharing a good bottle of wine and unwinding after a long day. Even now, when I hear it, it instantly brings back warm feelings and an overwhelming urge to pack up all our things and move back to Paris.
helene louis faurer train
One word….

Advice for young women…
Learn to trust yourself. When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to let yourself be intimidated by people who appear to know more than you. While it’s always good to watch and listen attentively to people you trust and admire, at the end of the day, you need to make your own decisions. You have to own your life.

Asked to write your memoirs, what would the title be?
If I were to write them now, the title would be “The Best is Yet to Come.” If I were to write them at the very end of my life, hopefully the title would be “It’s Been A Very Good Life.”

Interviewed March 2010 by Yolanda, editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com
© Zavvi Rodaine.com 2010. No part of this interview may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the Editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com.
Photos: Conde Nast and Stockholm Street Style

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