Culture, Fashion, Trends & Upcycling

Personal & Confidential Q&A

ioana-nicolescu_web

Why did you named your site Code Noir Style?

As I worked mainly in luxury, black was THE defining color. A kind of code people in business know very well, especially designers and luxury brands. Black is a color with impact and, maybe more than white, is strongly associate with high end fashion and luxury.
Since I started Code Noir Style as a fashion consultancy agency, my idea behind the name was that we are able to provide you the key, the code to crack the system of fashion and luxury, in a playfull and meaningful way. Unfortunately by the time the name and site were registered, I found out that “Code Noir” had a very negative meaning for some people in France: published in 1685 by the French minister Colbert, “Code Noir” was a set of rules prepared at King’s Louis XIV demand to establish ground rules for the black slavery in French Islands. Quite far from fashion and luxury codes 😀
To underline the huge difference between my concept and Colbert’s book, I added “Style” and decided to keep the name, in order to give it a new meaning and energy.

Why did you start a fashion blog?

I wouldn’t really call it a pure “fashion blog” so far. It is more a virtual home where I can show different moodboards related to my ongoing projects or preocupations, as I’m a very curious person and tend to get involved in quite various projects.
CNS is a place for different and solid informations related to fashion industry, culture or important fashion topics. But above all, I love to think about it as a creative place where readers can feel challenged, inspired, free to interact or ask for all kind of answers.

What kind of camera do you use?

As I was looking forward to offer a very natural look, my challenge is to use so far just smartphone pictures for the site, in my case iPhone 8, for a fresh and spontaneous take. And let’s be honest, the photos made with my phone got such a great quality that the challenge is on.

What is one beauty product you’ll always carry around?

This is quite simple, I can’t go without my Cils Demasq by Gemey Maybelline recommanded by a very dear friend & make-up artist, Julie Nozières.

The first thing people notice about you?

This sounds very OK Cupid like. I guess my accent? In Italy they assume I’m Italian, in Israel I’ve been even called Shoshanna, in Spain people simply speak Spanish to me, and in Beyrouth they assume my grandmother is Lebanese. Just in France, where I actually lived most part of my life, they ask me if I’m German or Austrian — guess I could have been a spy.

What is your skincare routine?

Now this is mental since I don’t have much selfies on social media. I keep it à la française, mostly cleanse and hydrate. I use few products, such as Clinique basic 3 step programme for sensitive skin, Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser and some Minus 417 products, a brand I adore and I stole from my mother’s bathroom. I try to stick to 5 products only, I don’t like to get my bathroom mistaken for Selfridges’s cosmetic department or buy lots of stuff I never use.

Is it cool to work as a buyer?

If it is cool to love your work, than yes, it was very cool and I really enjoyed every minute while working as a fashion buyer. It was a perfect way to go next level after mastering the different aspects of a product as a designer. A great exercise to test intuition versus reason and confront the customers wishes.
You have to step out from your own taste but still keep a part of it to give personal fragrance to a selection of cloths or accessories. Sometimes that means hard decisions you have to live with for several months and very high budgets. But also the ability to learn how to embrace your mistakes and turn it into positive solutions.

How working in luxury looks like?

One of the greatest schools ever where the first thing you learn is that nothing is impossible, creativity is about personality and sky is always the limit. Luxury is about the quality of service one can provide, never about money or about you. It is about all the effort you have to make as part of a team to make other people’s dreams real — and keep them happy about it.
I imagine a luxury brand as a kind of Swiss boarding school — you are trained with a lot of care to be able do amazing things requiring a great effort. But once the school is over, you know how to make it look effortless and you got a strong luggage that will always help you.

Why don’t you create your personal clothing brand instead of giving brand consultancy and collection design?

I get this a lot. Of course, often people who didn’t work in design or product development are intrigued and ask me this question. It is like asking a chocolate designer why doesn’t he eat daily chocolate at home. Even if it is the best chocolate ever, you’ll get bored and one day you’ll need more of something else. Fashion is one of the most intense industries I know. If you had worked for a (very) long period of time with all design and production aspects of a collection, certainly you’ll fell an almost biological need to go next level. This doesn’t mean that maybe one day I will not do it, just that right now I see other interesting and challenging directions.

How do I create my own personal style?

Oh dear, this is a (very) large topic I’ll try to answer in few words — how sincere you are with yourself when looking in the mirror and what is your goal? Personal style is about a certain level of comfort — the comfort of being myself.
Style is about personality, your personality, assuming who you really are and what you truly like, not “trying to be cool” with the last Céline bag. Don’t be shy to try new or different things and don’t try to make it a deadly serious matter. If you feel that a profesionnal could help you, keep in mind that Fashion Designer or Image Consultant are real professions, not a simple service and respect that.
I like to think about personal style as one’s handwriting — you have your own and you’ll improve it in time. Of course if you’re not constantly writing sms or emoticon-messages!

Please tell me how can I get my foot in the door in luxury?

You must ask yourself why do you want to entry in luxury industry: is it about image, money, prestige or maybe because you have a natural fit for it?
Luxury is about small and a lot of details, not really about champagne and caviar everyday. Even if luxury has never been as democratic as today, it is an extremely demanding field with very precise rules and a lot of pressure — it is the business who strongly fights to remain very exclusive and precious.
Internships are maybe the most current way to get your foot in the door and learn about a company you admire or a designer you worship. Also practicing several languages will help — brands look for specific qualities in people to keep up with their (specific) customers needs. Even an internship as a sales assistant is a very good way to get a clear idea about a fashion house. And the best things about luxury are learned… in the luxury boutiques, because they represent from A to Z the brand’s DNA addressing to public.

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