By: Maja Von Horn
Photography: Géraldine Boublil
“Interiors are the new fashion” says Géraldine Boublil, Parisian fashion consultant, stylist, and founder of new interior project Things From.
Maja von Horn: When did you launch your blog, Erin Off Duty?
Géraldine Boublil: I created it in 2017 just for fun, But without me even realising it, the blog became my business only two months after I launched it. From the beginning I was very particular about the brands I wanted to work with. In this job you are branding yourself, so you have to be super careful about who you work with and what you build. Six months after I launched Erin Off Duty, Prada invited me on a trip to Italy, the only influencer trip they’ve ever done. It all started from there. The three years before the pandemic were super intense, I was travelling all the time.
M.v.H.: And then the lockdown stopped everything.
G.B.: People were less excited to get dressed, to invest in fashion pieces. They were more interested in decorating their homes, since that’s where they started spending most of their time. Interior design became the new fashion. Before the pandemic I was too busy to think about doing something new, and suddenly I had plenty of time to think. Along with my friend and business partner, Argentinian architect Jessica Solnicki, we decided to combine the worlds of interiors and fashion to create our own pieces, calling the line “Things From.” I wanted to create furniture that is desirable and very unique. Jessica has an amazing workshop in Argentina, so everything is handcrafted and sustainable. We only use local fabrics, mostly leftovers from the fashion industry. Our goal is to partner with fashion brands and take their DNA to create interior pieces , whether it’s using leftovers from Hermès to upholster a chair, or tweed from a Chanel jacket to cover a puff, or an armchair. We want to work with small quantities, so that people who buy the pieces can feel they have something unique. The first object we created is a stool made of leather and wood. Because of the amazing quality, it’s quite pricey, but it’s about having something timeless and versatile in your house – you can move it around, put it next to your sofa, or use it as a bedside table. We’re selling on a New York-based platform for emerging designers called The Scope.
Stool 1, Things From
M.v.H.: Where do you look for interior inspirations?
G.B.: I like Danish and Italian interiors, both vintage and modern. I love Pierre Yovanovitch, some of Zaha Hadid’s pieces, and I’m really inspired by Le Corbusier’s structures. Fun fact – my high school in the suburbs of Paris is named after Le Corbusier, but when I was attending it I didn’t really know who that was. There was this house in front of the school’s yard and I remember I kept thinking “What is this building?” It turned out it was Villa Savoye, the most famous villa he created. People travel from all over the world to see it. I also love Italian designer Gio Ponti, his designs are really simple and efficient. It’s a timeless style. I love round shapes, you can find them everywhere in my apartment — in lamps, mirrors, even my couch has wave-like elements. People are attracted to interior design in the same way they are attracted to art — it’s very emotional. When an object is too rough, or has too many angles, I won’t be attracted to it.
M.v.H.: Have you always been interested in fashion?
G.B.: In the nineties I had posters of supermodels all over my room – Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, I loved them all. In the suburbs of Paris where I grew up, children would be dressed in a rather classic style, but I was always wearing something unusual. Kids would often comment “What are you wearing?!” My dad was the one who would dress me. I’d always have a little hat and a little handbag, I think I was like a dress-up doll for him. As a teenager I went through different phases, from goth to Vanessa Paradis-inspired hippie. My mother’s wardrobe was extraordinary. My dad loves fashion and shopping more than she does, so when they started dating, he’d go to Yves Saint Laurent or Dior and buy her amazing pieces. Luckily for me she kept them all and now they’re in my wardrobe, because they don’t fit her anymore.
M.v.H.: A career in fashion must have been a natural choice then.
G.B.: I was studying marketing in business school in Paris, and afterwards interned for PR departments at Dior in London and at Givenchy and Ralph Lauren in Paris. I also spent two years in New York to get some on-the-job experience. In the beginning I was modelling, but the work wasn’t consistent, so I started working in showrooms and different fashion houses. Then my fiancé got a job in Paris and we had to go back. I started representing Nicole Richie’s company House of Harlow, distributing her line in Europe. This experience gave me the opportunity and the contacts to launch my own shoe line, Erin Adamson (Erin is my daughter’s middle name, and Adam is my son). I was doing everything on my own, from visiting factories in Italy, to marketing and PR. I didn’t have investors and was reinvesting all the money I made. Doing something on your own is very difficult mentally, whether it’s believing in your product or simply keeping up with the business side. Although I don’t do it anymore, I’m very happy I had this experience, because having your own brand is the only way to learn the industry from A to Z. When you work for someone else, the involvement is different. Once you have your own brand, your sleep schedule is awful, but you learn so much.
M.v.H.: How did your wardrobe change during the last year?
G.B.: During the pandemic I got rid of half of my clothes. The only things left are pieces that are really timeless, that I can wear without thinking too much about how to style them. I’m mostly attached to classics, very good vintage pieces, timeless brands like Ralph Lauren, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent. A good cut is really important, because if it doesn’t fit well, you don’t feel well, it affects your mood. The right fit has the power to give you confidence.
M.v.H.: You’ve often been photographed with Chylak handbags, what’s your favourite thing about the brand?
G.B.: They have very cool positioning – the quality is super good and the price is very honest. I love the shapes and the structure. I love the croc effect, it looks very luxurious. The beige and brown tones are super chic. When launching a brand you have to be very unique, otherwise people will go to already established brands, high-end designers. Chylak is super elevated and affordable. Both the colours and shapes are timeless, which is very important for me. I also love that they have different strap options, that’s very practical.
M.v.H.: Have you ever considered living somewhere else than in Paris?
G.B.: Before the pandemic we would usually go to Los Angeles in the summer, rent a very nice mid-century modern house that we loved. The kids would go to summer camps, so my husband and I had a lot of time to enjoy the city. L.A. is very cool — the quality of life is amazing, it’s always sunny, it’s a great place for kids. We saw a few houses and for a while we considered moving there, but eventually my husband convinced me that it’s too far from Europe. I grew up in the suburbs, in a house with a garden, surrounded by nature, and my kids don’t have any nature around them as they’re growing up. Now with the pandemic, I feel a bit bad about that. People are moving out of Paris more and more, in search of a better quality of life, without all the noise, traffic, craziness.
M.v.H.: What’s your favourite thing about Paris?
G.B.: It’s like an open-air museum because of its architecture, Haussmann style buildings, all the little cafes. There’s a magical vibe. Every morning, usually by bus, I take my 11-year-old daughter to school across the river and I walk back home. When I cross the river on Pont de la Concorde, I go “Wow, it’s so beautiful.” It’s the most beautiful city in the world, only Rome can compete with it. French people are a different story though. They can be quite rude compared to other nations. I was in Copenhagen recently with my kids, and they kept saying “Oh my god, everyone is so nice here”. We’re not used to that.