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Mademoiselle Perle

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Monday, 13 October 2014

How to Start your Business? #MondayMusings

Following an article I read on The Business Woman Media, about starting up a business in 30 days, I  would like to add and share some of my experience and advise being the founder of a young start-up  myself.

Launching a start-up or business in 30 days is only possible if the ground work has been done  properly. And this, as all business owners know, takes much more time than 30 days.

The first questions you need to ask your self are:

1. What is my experience in the domain I want to launch myself in?

2. Do I have people in my network who can help me out with:
  • experience
  • network
  • funding
    Many people do underestimate their “network”, thinking of network as in network events, business  cards, and people in suits. However, the fruit vendor you buy your apples from every Wednesday,  who has a brother working in your targeted industry is a valuable person in your network. That  aunt you visited a month, who has a friend working for that company you would like to partner  with, is clearly someone in your (professional) network, who might be of help. What many people  don't realise is that their most valuable network consists of the people they interact with  privately and sometimes even on a daily basis, even if this was in the past. People you went to  school with, your friends, your neighbours, the parents of the friends of your children. All  these people either work or are involved in your community, and they might be of great help them  selves or they might know people they can introduce you to who might be of great help. Never  underestimate your network. And don't be shy to use it. That's what a network is for. Make sure  though, you don't just ask people for favours. Actively interact with your network. Be it on  Facebook or in real life. And make sure to always show gratitude afterwards, even if things  didn't work out the way you wanted them to work out. If for example an acquaintance put you in  touch with someone you thought would be valuable, and he or she wasn't, make sure to send a  thank-you-note anyway. "No man is an island" perfectly reflects how to (not) use and interact  (with) your network. 
3. After having asked your self the two questions above, map your network.

List all the people you know and mention their profession and the company they are working for. Then  add valuable people and companies these people know (in a second column next to their names for  example). Check their Linkedin, their Facebook, their Twitter and ask them. Linkedin is a perfect tool  to help you map your network. If you are looking for someone who can put you in touch with a certain  company, type in the company name and see how you're connected. You might be surprised how broad your  network actually is. The next step is to organise all these people by industry, specifically targeted  to your business. But if you have some doctors and other friends working in the medical field although  your business has nothing to do with the medical field, you should make a medical list anyway. I  listed  my network under media – creatives – legal – finance – fashion – beauty – jewellery – luxury –  cars – technology – cinema – art – travel - medical - politics - education and charity. People I know  who work in the restaurant or hotel business for example, are listed under travel. My lawyer and tax  advisers are listed under legal, but so are at least twenty former school friends who became legal  advisers them selves or are married to one, and whom I am linked to directly on one or several social  media platforms. Because my work is international orientated and my business will target a global  audience, I also listed my network geographically. This makes it easy to see whom I know in which  country whenever I need a local referral. 

Prioritise people on these lists. Try to describe the different stages you need to go through before  launching your business and post launch. Number them, and put these numbers next to the names in your  network lists. Contact these people during the stages in which you might need them according to the  numbers you gave them.

4. Then comes the most time consuming but very exciting phase: writing your business plan.

The very first question you honestly need to answer whilst writing your business plan is:

"Do people really need my product and service and why?" Many first time business founders forget to  ask them selves this crucial question, and find out the answer when too much time and money has  already been spent.

A business plan normally covers about 7 to 8 main subjects which you need to work out:

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Company Summary (or project description)
    3. Services and Products
    4. Market Analysis Summary
    5. Strategy & Implementation
    6. Management Summary
    7. Financial Plan
    8. Appendix

For those who didn't study business and writing a business plan is a first: there are many websites  today, providing great examples you can draw knowledge from.

Even if you don't need outside funding from a financial institution such as a bank or investors, for  which business plans are commonly used, I highly advise you to write a business plan never the less.  The process of writing a business plan and the research you need to do, to be able to write one, will  force you to think through every possible detail you need to know about your future business and  industry. The reason why business owners who did write a business plan, do succeed much more often,  than those who did not.

I always advise people to start with 3, 4 and 5. Then 6 and 7. What you need to know about 6 to be  able to write the financial plan is how many people you think you need in the different stages of your  company (approximately). Keep in mind that you need a very detailed business plan for in-house use and  one you will modify for each and every individual you will share it with. Do not forget to include a  confidential clause at the bottom of each page. The business plan for external use should be around 20  pages (18 – 24). This of course doesn't include the Appendix, which you should only provide on  request.

5. Prepare a slideshow which you can use to introduce your project to third parties.

A slide show should preferably consist of 10 slides, and should not exceed 15. Use images and  graphics to illustrate your slideshow and prepare your text, which should not be written on the  slides. Just write down the key points and learn the text that goes with it by heart. Present it as  much as possible to friends and family until you know everything by heart but foremost to train your  self and gain confidence before presenting it to important third parties, such as potential investors.

6. After having written a business plan and prepared a slide show, you should be able to write a  short pitch. A description of your project and what your business will be about in one or two  sentences.

7. I used the pitch description and some main points and put it in a PDF of six pages, which I always  bring to presentations and give to the potential investor(s). The entire and much more detailed  business plan I only send or handover in the follow up meeting(s) when a possible partnership might  actually be seriously considered.

Those six pages contain the following:
    Page 01:
       I. Mission (that's your one or two sentence pitch)
      II. Project Description
     III. Revenue Stream(s)
      IV. Market Place

    Page 02:

       V. Technical Innovations
      VI. Business Structure
     VII. Exit Strategy

    And then three pages of financial information:

    Page 03:

     IIX. Revenue Projections (per revenue stream) year 01 - 03/05
      IX. Operating Expenses year 01 - 03/05
       X. Income Projections (including a mini graphic)

    Page 04:

      XI. Income Statement

    Page 05:

     XII. Projecting Cash Flow (Operating Activities)

    Page 06:

    XIII. Projected Balance Sheet

If you are still working as an employee and you are afraid of launching your business without a  steady income, I recommend to work out these seven things, in your spare time. You can work on these  during the evenings and the weekends (and holidays). It will take more time, but you will avoid the  stress of whether or not being able to pay your monthly expenses. Which can be stressful from time to  time.

Furthermore, if your business idea is highly confidential, draw up a NDA. You can find them online.  Have your lawyer or a befriended lawyer look at it, modify where necessary and have people sign it  before going into detail with them. That includes your friends and family.

If you are planning to launch your business with a friend, family member or acquaintance, work on  this together.

And while we are on the subject: make sure that you only associate with people who can do the job. If  the person you want to work with, has no significant track record professionally, look at what he or  she did in his or her community. What's the person's reputation? If a parent, what are the children  like? Believe me, the answers to these questions will show later on, how things might or might not  work out between you. Look for warnings such as unhappy children, unhealthy marriages and  relationships with friends and with people within the community. Does the person have long and stable  friendships? A divorce for example, is something that involves two people (at least), if the process  is a dramatic and a time consuming one, it might be a sign that the person you consider to become your  business partner, might not be a solution focused person, or worse, he or she might even be a drama  queen. If the children are performing bad in school, are unhappy and/or not very sociable, your future  business partner might not be a hands-on manager. Because raising children, especially successful  children is a managing job. Take time to find the right partner to associate your self with. And  again, you can do all of this in your spare time, while still having an income from a steady job.

If you've covered all of the above, you are ready to take the next steps: registering your business  (don't do this without consulting a lawyer and a tax adviser first), printing business cards, finding  customers, getting funding, and so forth.

Starting a business is extremely exciting, but realise it is a marathon. You need to have a thick  skin to get through all the stages to actually enjoy what you dreamt of: a flourishing business. Be  prepared for failures, because there will be many. Be prepared to be disappointed or worse to be let  down by the people you didn't expect it from, because yes, this also might or will happen. Be prepared  to sleepless nights and getting into situations you didn't prepare for. Both positive and negative. Be  prepared.

If you are prepared to all this, and you don't take anything too personally, if you surround your  self with a bunch of really encouraging friends, family members, and business owners, if you are  willing to improve your self, to learn, to adapt and to listen to the people around you, you might  actually have a chance to succeed.

Best of luck! 

 And... Watch this space! My business, the most digitally advanced multi media platform for and in the  high end fashion and luxury industry will soon be launched, and I am truly looking forward to sharing  it with you.


P.S. Let me know if you have something to add or if you want to share your experiences. I would love  to hear about them.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Haute Couture vs Cheap High Street Fashion....

Following today's news about Jean-Paul Gaultier leaving his ready-to-wear brand for what it is (or  what it actually wasn't), to be able to fully concentrate on his Haute Couture collections and his  perfumes, the debate about whether Haute Couture is still relevant today, and the destructive  consequences on and of the fashion industry that expects designers to come up with at least four cheap  and affordable collections per year, starts anew.

 A decade ago I wrote an article about this: "Just how far will Haute Couture fall?"
                                                                                                         The global women's clothing industry is expected to exceed $621 billion in 2014, marking a 12%  increase in five years, making fashion the second biggest industry after the food industry world wide.  And therefore putting marketeers into place where there should not. 

Multiple collections a year, copying, repeating, having marketeers tell designers how to design and  what to design. The industry broke and will continue to break bright and creative minds like 
Alexander McQueen and John GallianoDesigners who like me, went to prestigious international art schools  hoping that they would live their dream in Paris one day, creating fairy tales and magic.  

Shouldn't we all be a little bit less greedy maybe? And dare to dream a little bit more? Wouldn't the  world look much lovelier if we chose quality over quantity. Beautiful complicated, dramatic, time  consuming, made by hand dresses over cheap polyester high street dresses that can be thrown into the  bin after one month?...

Because really, what would the world be without fairy tales and magic?


P.S. To remind you of how wonderful Haute Couture actually is, see below the mesmerizing Couture shoot by Annie Leibovitz for the December 
2003 VOGUE issue, starring the lovely Natalia Vodianova as Alice in Wonderland. If pictures like this could have been taken in 1865, I am sure, this 
was how Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) would have imagined the star of his novel to be dressed. 

In Haute Couture that is...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Are you ready for La Grande Rentrée?

The summer holidays are almost over...                                                           
#LaRentrée #ExcitingStartUp #DetailsSoon                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Stay Humble & Be Thankful #TuesdayTip

 There is nothing better than having the right people around you who help you make your dreams come
 true. With the input of an amazing team I'm currently putting together, but foremost with the  incredible assistance of my business partner and co-founder of my start-up, Miss B. I'm so excited  that we will be launching an amazing platform for the luxury industry in 2014. I can't talk  details,  but I can tell you, that it will be amazing. Really amazing.


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Long Live the King!

Former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and                                                                                 
Little King William Alexander #Homeland                                                                                                                               

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Snugly Spring #SaturdayShoppingSpree

Spring, in a deep male voice: "I am Winter" 
CELINE sandals, in a high pitched feminine voice: "I am a fur coat" 
Okay, so the first week of spring was not what we expected. It's still fur coat weather... 
So why not buying those fur lined Birkenstock style CELINE sandals? Like this year's spring they 
are completely suffering of identity crisis. Clearly spring is light and blossomy and feminine, 
and those sandals are much more macho male and sturdy than that high pitched voice they try to 
sell themselves self with... and they are so ugly, that they're pretty again (the full circle 
theory)... Makes sense?


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Liza & Mikhail #ThrowBackThursday

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Liza Minnelli during the rehearsal of their tv special (1980)


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Once Upon Another Time #ThrowBackThursday

    A picture from the story "Once Upon Another Time" I styled for 34 Magazine, 
    shot by Taka Mayumi back in 2006, when the magazine still existed (and for which 
    I was the fashion director).


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Just Do It! #TuesdayTip

     Lisa Fonssagrives in a Lucien Lelong dress on the Eiffeltower by Erwin Blumenfeld for VOGUE Paris, 1939

  I did. I moved to Paris...


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

About Elegance #TuesdayTip

  Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress. 
   Coco Chanel

 Coco Chanel at her house
 "La Pausa" in the French Riviera 
 with her dog Gigot, 1930


Thursday, 7 March 2013

It's a wrap! #ThrowBackThursday

 ALEXANDER MCQUEEN FW2006 - "Widows of Culloden"

 It's a wrap! Four cities, five weeks jammed packed with fashion shows. But none of them really stood
 out... Where did the days of marvelous shows and collections go?...


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Audrey Believed #TuesdayTip

Audrey Hepburn shot by Mark Shaw during the filming of Sabrina in L.A., 1953

“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing
lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that  tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn


Monday, 25 February 2013

Keep Calm & Think Pink #MondayMorningMusings

"...and the Oscar goes to... Jennifer Lawrence!" Applause. Imagine you're Jennifer, you're happily and proudly walking to the stage to accept your Oscar, excited but foremost relieved. Relieved that this time, you're wearing a one piece gown to avoid your dress ripping up while on your way to accept your award - remember the SAG Awards? - and then... you fall. Flat on your face! I mean... Speaking of being clumsy, this could be me. Well, not that I'm *that* photogenic when I fall flat on my face - look at this picture, her perfect straight back and shoulders, the way the Dior dress pleats around her - No, I would probably be smashed all over the picture, with one leg in the air, something like that. You want me to give you some examples? Okay then. So, I go out for dinner with some fashion heavy weights, some designers and a stylist, one of the designers being Ricardo Tisci - just so you get the picture of the actual weight - I go to the powder room, come back, and bang! I walk straight into the terrace glass door. Next to our table. I banged my head so hard, I thought I was going to faint. "Are you okay?" "Oh, yes, don't pay attention to me, I'm fine, I'm good, no worries. " *Wispers* this-happens-to-me all the time. Or that time I was late for a Vuitton show, and my Fendi heel got stuck in the Louvre court yard, and it actually broke - try being elegant on one and a half heel, acting as if all is fine. I dare you - Or that time when I just came out of a Giambattista Valli show at Trocadero, and Bill Cunningham wanted to take a picture of me, when I was wearing a stunning cream colored cape. It was pouring rain so I was holding a big black umbrella. I was so excited that he wanted to shoot me - I mean, imagine me and my cape on the style pages of the New York Times! - But guess what happened..... A sudden wind flaw took my umbrella by surprise, so me and my umbrella ended up 5 meters out of Mr Cunningham's sight... Seriously, the list of me and my fabulous-fashion-moments-wrecked-by-clumsiness-or-crazy-accidents is endless... So, when I watched Jennifer falling just before she was about to fetch her Oscar last night, I just really felt for her... But then again, she went home with an Oscar... unlike me. I always go home with bruises, headaches, broken heels and umbrellas.

Anyway, congratulations Jennifer! One day you will manage to be flawless.

That's what I keep telling myself.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Marianne #SundayInspiration

Dundas mentioned Anita Pallenberg, Angie Bowie & Britt Ekland as style references 
for his latest collection for Pucci. He clearly forgot to mention Marianne Faithfull 
in her younger years though...

EMILIO PUCCI FW2013        Marianne Faithfull & Mick Jagger

Marianne Faithfull             EMILIO PUCCI FW2013

EMILIO PUCCI FW2013        Marianne Faithfull
 Marianne Faithfull        EMILIO PUCCI FW2013


Sunday, 17 February 2013

My World #SundayInspiration

Come join me on Instagram @

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Run! #SaturdayShoppingSpree


  Everyone seems to be trying to getting their hands on the last BALENCIAGA's by Nicolas Ghesquière.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lady in Red - Happy Valentine's Day #ThrowBackThursday


 Oscar de la Renta FW2013     Diane Von Furstenberg FW2013  JASON WU FW2013

 i carry your heart with me

 i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
 my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
 i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
 by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                    i fear
 no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
 no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
 and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
 and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 here is the deepest secret nobody knows
 (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
 and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
 higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
 and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

 e.e. cummings


Sunday, 10 February 2013

La Grace #SundayInspiration

And? Did you finish it yet? Did you like it?


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Fluffy Flip Flops #SaturdayShoppingSpree

What about these fluffy embellished CELINE flip flops for upcoming spring summer. 
Would you wear these?


Friday, 8 February 2013

Like an Angel... #FF

 Francesco Cominelli, picture by Tommy Ton for


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Paying Dues #ThrowbackThursday

Last week I finally watched all the episodes of "Kell on Earth" - I know, late - And it so brought me back to Memory Lane circa 1997/1998, to my first baby steps in the international fashion industry as an intern, and assistant at L'OFFICIEL Paris. I remember all the assignments in French - most of the time I was lost in translation - the running around before, at and after shoots, the having to call press agencies, and not having a clue what I was asking for. In French. But also the first time I met Karl Lagerfeld and shaked his hand after a summer presentation - he was still fat and still hidden behind his hand fan... I have fond memories of that period. Clearly because I'm not an assistant anymore. Ha!

This was one of my first assistant jobs on location, how exciting! Uhm yes, *the idea* was exciting. But after arriving at Touquet, the first stressful moment started when I had to iron all the pieces, including the delicate ones (think layers of voile and big names). I was terrified that I would burn one, some, or all the pieces! The next day, after the clothes survived my craftsmanship, we were on our way to the beach with the Editions Jalou van, and of course the van couldn't go where the photographer wanted to shoot.... No worries. That's were an assistant comes in handy. And that assistant, was me alright. So, the moment the photographer found the "perfect spot" - 2 km away from the van, yes - I had to run back to the van to pick up the right dress for the right picture. Run back to the shoot. Through the dunes and the beach sand. Four kilometers that's right. With heavy, layered, crazy expensive dresses on my tiny arm. And as an assistant you're never fast enough. Ever. So I had. To. Run. Like literally run, to avoid screaming stylists, complaining models and the likes. Oh yes, those days as an assistant stylist...


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

1960's Nostalgia #WonderfulWindowWednesday

One of this week's windows at COLETTE, displaying Courreges sunglasses.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Remember girls! #TuesdayTip

"It's not money that makes you well dressed. It's understanding." CHRISTIAN DIOR

Monday, 4 February 2013

My Kiosk #MondayMorningMusings


I'm really excited about this new year and find myself often in a 2013-bring-it-on-mood, but apart from the eternal questions, Where-did-January-go? and Is-it-February-already (I have that e-v-e-r-y year by the way) there was one thing that almost ruined my fabulous start of this new year; the news that my favorite press kiosk, just around the corner at the boulevard Saint Michel, where I religiously buy my fashion magazines since for-e-v-er, is going to close down. Close. Down. I mean, where do I go after that happens? What about my daily I run in the Luxembourg gardens - Chat with the newspaper Monsieur - Buy one, some or a pile of magazines - Walk to the next corner - To have my daily dose of caffeine - Flip through the goodies - Cross the street - And open my front door? 

For you who have been in Paris, you know how on nearly every corner of the street there are these cute little newspaper kiosks where you can buy French newspapers and magazines and chewing gum. Well, for international titles you have to be lucky to have one in the hood that sells them. And I was one of the lucky ones. My newspaper Monsieur sells Vogues from all around the world, no wait, he sells all the international Vogues + the whole rest of Condé Nast. But he also sells Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, V, 10, hell, he even used to sell the magazine I used to be the fashion director for, 34 magazine, when it was still published. He sells my favorite home decoration magazine (Elle Decoration UK), but also iD, Love and Lula. I mean, seriously. Where do I go after he's gone? I just don't want to go to Colette or W.H Smith for my dose of fashion magic on paper. They're both like 20, 30 minutes away from my place, and well, you know how you talk to your hairdresser, or your manicurist about bad break ups, gossip, friends or family members in the hospital, or just about that fabulous new pair of shoes you just bought? Well, that's how I talk to my newspaper Monsieur, and I just don't see me doing that with the too-cool-for-school kids at Colette or the nerdies at W.H. Smith. I could also go to the one in rue des Archives in the Marais, which is probably closer to my place. But once in the Marais, I never get out (friends, fabulous vintage shops, and some of my favorite café's)... So, this is some kind of micro drama in my life, and it really makes me panic-ish.

Why he's closing down? Well - and we're all guilty of that - sales decreased so badly, that he has no choice. Where he normally sold around 20 to 30 American Vogues a month, he now hardly sells 5. He used to sell around 80 Libération newspapers a day, and now that's just a lousy 15 to 20. Our lab tops, iPads and smart phones are to blame. It's practical, often for free, and with the whole green thing going on, much better for the environment, than all that printed paper. But isn't that moment of seeing a beautiful fashion shoot in a paper magazine while drinking a cup of coffee Just Magical? Do we really want to end up living in a world where everything is much faster and more practical but not magical?  I don't, one of the main reasons why I wanted to live in Paris and work in the high end fashion industry...

I love the magic.

P.S. Which of the above is your favorite cover of the spring 2013 issue of iD magazine?