KENZINE: It's been a little bit more than a year that you have been living in California now, what were you looking for over there that you did not find in Paris?
Dorothée Perret: Kale salads ! [laugh]
More seriously my move to L.A. was moslty animated by practical reasons. My husband is American and we have three kids who were all born in Paris. As a mixed family, we wanted to offer them the chance to also experience life in the US. We chose Los Angeles because it’s a large city and culturally it’s very mixed. There are strong influences from the south with Mexico, and from the west with China. Somehow it’s a matter of where you stand. If you’re in New York you’re still looking in the direction of Europe. Here in Los Angeles it’s a total immersion that transforms your vision of the world. It’s also a very active city in arts. There are amazing schools, museums, and artists. We enjoy our new life very much.
K: You say that your magazine "Paris, LA" was born through "shared perspective" between those two cities, could you define that special link?
D.P.: I always felt that both in Paris and Los Angeles, people share a sort of nonchalance, a lightness towards life. Here they call it being laid back. I think I was making reference to that sort of feeling of being cool and easy.
K: And what would be the main differences between the two cities?
D.P.: So many ! Though car culture I think would be the main one. I realized when I came here that driving really shapes your life, your thoughts, and finally everything you do.
K: You celebrated the tenth issue of your mag, how has the relationship between the cities evolved throughout the years?
D.P.: I just feel that since I’ve started to raise interest for that city about six, seven years ago, a lot of people from France and Europe moved here. I’d like to think that I had a bright vision and that it’s right to be here now.
K: You live in L.A. Your art director is from Switzerland. Your contributors are from around the world. How do you organize the publication?
D.P.: From the beginning Alexandra [Ruiz] and I have been based in different cities. As the editor, I focus on the content, and she does all the design. We respect very much each other’s work. I can say that our collaboration is based on listening and understanding, I guess that helps to create good work! With the contributors it’s not far from being the same. I always listen and want them to be proud of the work we do together. To me a contributor that is happy with the work published is good free advertising for the house.
K: It'd be easy to think that a digital publication would maybe suit your project rooted in two cities, why did you decide to choose print?
D.P.: My experience in publishing comes from print. I know it would be more logical to go all digital these days. But I’m reluctant to do it. I think the next step for us would be to offer digital books and issues of the magazine on top of the printed ones. But in any case, I want to always keep the print as an index.
K: There are very few men on your cover and a "women artists" special issue. Would you say Paris, LA stands for a certain form of feminism?
D.P.: I’m not an activist. Still I always feel the need for actions to be taken to improve woman’s rights. This is one of the reasons the « Women Artists » issue was made. But wait, our next cover features a man !
K: Why do you think L.A. gave birth to the emergence of youth culture and so many counter-cultures in the US?
D.P.: I feel we’re talking about the whole West Coast here. Cities like San Francisco with the Beat generation, Portland and Seattle with the grunge scene carried also a lot of history in terms of counterculture. The West is by sense and physically a place where all actions can be taken. The landscape is so large and empty, that it opens up to a lot of possibilities.
K: In Europe everything regarding L.A. is perceived in a very cinematic way. How does cinema transcends the city lifestyle through fashion?
D.P.: It’s funny because Hollywood is a milieu that I’m not so familiar. Still there is not a time when you’e in LA when the movie industry doesn’t catch up with you. I think because it’s a huge industry that still carry a lot of dreams and myths.
K: L.A. is less expensive than New York. Do you feel the emergence of a new artistic scene in L.A.? A new energy?
D.P.: Definitely there are more and more things happening in the art world here. This is why I choose to talk about ths topic precisely and with more details in my text.
K: Through Carol and Humberto, KENZO is totally "Paris, LA" as well. What do you like most about our brand?
D.P.: The fact that Carol and Humberto came at KENZO full of respect for the orginal founder Kenzo Takada. It’s something that not a lot of designers acknowledge when they take over a house. In their case we feel the influence of the tradition mixed with a contemporary approach. It’s very well done and quite successful.
K: KENZO is also very much about traveling, what will be your next trip and why?
D. P.: I have planned a week in Alaska with my husband. The idea is to go just the two us in a small cabin on an island in spring. It’d be a little challenging to do it with the kids. I like hiking, and I enjoy being in nature without many things around me. It should be a fun trip!