Beyond the hype // Louise Ebel

MAY 2010

Fashion has to be playful. To me, it's an expression of the personality—the clothes I choose express my taste.

Louise Ebel 21 year old art history student, model, and blogger from Paris, France.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

I'm a 21 year old girl from Paris. I'm a student in art history, a blogger, and occasionally a DJ. I'm also writing a memoir about women in XIXth century in France. I do way too many things at the same time, so I'm always exhausted! Right now, I'm in the middle of my final exams, and my brain is half-dead with all this studying.

Tell us about your blog.

I couldn't choose between art and fashion, that's why my blog is about both. I think they're very related—fashion is inspired by art, and art reflects the fashion of an era. Like in old portraits of ladies, the clothes were very important for the colours and the atmosphere. My inspiration for the blog was the Castiglione Comtess, who was pictured all her life by the photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson; she was the stylist and the art director of these pictures. Some people say that it's pretentious when I mix art with fashion, but I don't do it on purpose, it's just my passion! Fashion does not exist by itself, it's always inspired by art, and music, and movies, and street fashion. To me, clothes are the reflection of an era. They show the way people live, their manners and morals. That's why I love fashion history, it gives so much information about the past, much more than wars or reigns.

Do you have a favorite era or genre of art? A favorite work of art?

I'm a bit obsessed with Romanticism, late 19th century Symbolism and 17th century Chiaroscuro school, with Caravaggio or Artemisia Gentileschi. I couldn't choose one work of art, but I've always been fascinated about Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, I saw it once and I had tears in my eyes. I love this painting because of the story around it, and because of Elizabeth Siddal which has an important part in my life. I couldn't say how, but I can relate personally to this painting. I'm going to get tattooed with the dove carrying the poppy.

What other passions of yours don't we know about?

I'm also very into music, especially rock music. I wanted to be a rock star, but I realized I had no talent. I'm still dreaming that I'll do some music later…I'm waiting for my Gainsbourg! I have other passions that are a bit weirder, like cryptozoology, creatures of the abyss, esotericism, red wine and vampires.

How did you first get interested in fashion?

When I was younger, I didn't care about fashion at all, I was just dreaming in front of XVIII century dresses in paintings. I wanted to be dressed like Marie Antoinette, but I didn't care for what I was wearing everyday. It started when I gained self-confidence, I learned to play with clothes and built a character everytime I dress up. I had every style when I was in high school: punk, 50's housewife, post-punk, 60's psychedelic, it was always linked to the music I listened to. Fashion has to be playful. To me, it's an expression of the personality—The clothes I choose express my taste.

How do you describe the fashion scene in Paris compared to other major cities & fashion capitals?

I guess Paris is more classical, in some areas people are all dressed the same. If you go outside wearing eccentric clothes people will stare at you and judge you, and sometimes they will make bad comments. It's very annoying, and quite different from London's way of thinking. But there's a lot of interesting designers here.

What do you love about living in Paris?

I love the architecture of the city, and there is a huge culture here. We have museums everywhere, and you can find gorgeous places on each corner. It's so easy for photo shoots. Every street has a fascinating history, for an art lover like me it's a dream. There's a romantic feeling in this city, if you avoid the touristic areas you can find secret parks and streets, little's a city that you'll never know entirely. There is so much to see and so much mystery. I could never live anywhere else, even if I'm not a big fan of the French way of thinking.

Top 3 places to visit in the France:

Intimate museums like Musée de la vie Romantique or Musée Gustave Moreau, the Japanese Garden of Musée Albert Kahn, and the Park of Buttes Chaumont for Paris.

Describe your personal style.

I'm inspired by all the things I like: music, art, movies, designers, street style. I build my style with everything that is around me—that's why it's always evolving. My style always follows my tastes of the moment, like my interest for an historic or musical period. It can be unconscious, because my place is decorated with all the things that inspire me: engravings, feathers, books, hats, antiques, paintings…I'm completely inhabited by my universe—it's on my mind, on my decoration, and on my clothes. During the day, I don't dress up that much, but when I go out or when I do pictures I want to wear something that will make me feel happy and self-confident, which can be totally overdressed! Most of the time it's a expression of the duality of my personality, so it's both dark and naive, gothic and romantic. I like to wear feminine lace dresses, with very high heels, black jackets and 20's inspired headbands. I also mix influences from the past, with a modern and rock twist.

Favorite designers and places to shop?

My favourite designer is Ricardo Tisci, for his perfect mix of gothic and romantic, black and nude. But it's not affordable for me, so instead I go to Topshop, Zara, H&M. I also buy a lot of vintage, on Etsy and in stores like Pretty Box or Mamie. I'm also crazy about Miu Miu shoes, I'm starting to collect them!

The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:

Shoes. I'm a shoe fetishist! I always look at shoes first. I think it's the element of the clothing that expresses style the most; it's more of a personal choice than the rest of the outfit. I also look at the jewels a lot, especially rings.

What do you splurge on?

Shoes! There are the only pieces of my closet that are designer.

What do you skimp on?

Trousers. I hate them, except 70's high-wasted pants. I hope they're going to be fashionable again, because I have difficulties finding pants like that.

A fashion rule you always break:

When magazines says that something if out of fashion, I just don't care. Fashion is not about trends that come and go, it's about finding your own personal style, the one that suits you and reflects your personality. To me clothes tell a story, most of the time when I buy something, it's because it reminds me of art or music, or a movie, or whatever. I'm pretty sure that they're all going to say that thigh-high boots are over for next winter, but I'll keep on wearing it, because they remind me of the 70's. I've been looking for them for ages, so I'm not going to quit them that soon!

A fashion rule you never break:

Don't go on the streets wearing panties/underwear instead of clothes. Fashion is not about exhibition…some things are made to stay at home! And please, a legging is not a pant!

What do you think is the most recent notable trend to appear/reappear, and what are your thoughts on it?

I'm not really a trend specialist, so I would say nude, which is something that everybody seems to wear. It has been my favourite colour for year, so I'm glad I can find it easier in stores. I like it because it reminds me of vintage lingerie, boudoir clothes and rice powder. It has a vintage and feminine feel.

What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?

Hats! People used to wear something on their heads everyday in the past, and it added a nice last touch on the final outfit. I love top hats, for both men and women.

What is your next "must have" purchase?

A sheepskin coat, just like Penny Lane's in the movie Almost Famous.

Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?

I'm crazy about late 60's/early 70's groupies, like Pamela des Barres or Anita Pallenberg. These girls were not afraid of eccentricity, I like Pamela's mix of retro and hippie. I also admire Brigitte Bardot, and Anna Karina.

What's on your iPod, bookshelf, and DVD player at the moment?

I'm reading books about femme fatales in painting and literature of the late XIXth century, and Caravaggio's biography. I'm watching Godart's movies, especially for the divine Anna Karina. My favourite bands of the moment are the Byrds, Tomorrow, and Kaleidoscope.

What can't you live without?


Next place you want to travel to:

I want to go to Firenze, for art obviously, and also because I'm in love with Italy. I've just been to Rome last month; it was the third time.

What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK by you, and by another member?

My personal favourite from me is Jardin Naturel de Paris (pictured above right), and my favourite outfit from a member is THIS OLD HOUSE by Shae Acopian D., I love her 70's vibe.

In the year 2015 you will be:

Writing books I hope, working with museums and still doing pictures. Still a groupie. Or I'm going to turn into Eddie in Absolutely Fabulous, that could be fun too.

What would you say to someone seeking general fashion advice?

It might sound stupid, but just be yourself and don't be afraid to dare. When I was younger I was very very shy (still now actually!), and wearing eccentric clothes helped me to be more self-confident and to express myself. It was like a therapy, and I think many people are afraid of standing out of the crowd.

Our last interviewee Juan Cocco wants to know: if God exists and one day decides to join LOOKBOOK, how would he/she name the first look?

I have no idea, and I'm quite tired, I guess "God is not wearing Prada.” Silly, right ?

If you were reincarnated, what would you like to be?

A Kraken, or William Blake.

What should we ask the next interviewee?

What would you wear for your last day on earth?


show previous comments

April Brown
this girl is truly an inspiration, and her blog is addictive!
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Grethe Marita Ayala Pettersen
Love the interview! Louise is adorable!
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The Mac Attack
beautiful : )
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Mary Bonnie
i love louise, she is a fascinating young woman!
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Victoria +
She has style and brain and that makes her personality even better.
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Daniella Montelongo
i youtubed everything she talked about hahahaha
i loove her=)
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Katherine Yonegura
great, i think all her answers are 4 real
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gorgeous!!!! love her style so much
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Katrina F
Truly sophisticated!
I love Louise E.!
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Ioana F.
I admire her a lot. She has great sense of fashion and amazing style. Also a great inspiration for art and I ridiculously love her classic outfits, although I am quite modern and extravagant sometimes in clothing.
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Chanikan Onphiw
a legging is not a pant! < agreed :D
i love her style!
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Molén A
so cute and your style is so classy
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Nia Fox
ur cute and classy at the same time!!!!!!!!!
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KAYRA Magracia
i agree. leggings is not a pant! haha.
ohh louise, i admire your romantic yet edgy style.
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Belle D
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Rozzi R.
Am i the only one who noticed that she wasnt asked/ didnt answer juan cocco's question about god having a lookbook? I wanted to read her reply haha
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Tiffany Tu
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Brendon Williams
"I wanted to be a rock star, but I realized I had no talent." That made me laugh... so hard.
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Maddy S.
I have so many things in common with her it's just scary....
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Da Da Da Da
So cute so lovely""
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Hurrah! Someone else who thinks that leggings are not pants/trousers. She is effortless in her looks and I look forward to seeing every new outfit from her
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