Hello Diane, Jenna just sent this to me. Congratulations! I loved reading all about you. Enjoy fashion week. kisses, Mary
WHO ARE YOU?
Profile of Diane Pernet: Libra, 5’2
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Do you know Diane Pernet? She’s the lady in black with the impossibly tall
hair–who played herself in Robert Altman’s iconic film Pret a
Porter–devastatingly chic and one of The Daily’s favorite front-row
fixtures in Paris, London, and Milan. Who are you, Ms. Pernet, and where
have you been all our lives?
Name: Diane Pernet
What was your childhood like?
Both of my parents were born in New York City, but I grew up outside
Philadelphia. I visited New York often as a child and eventually moved
there and stayed for 13 years in the West Village on 11th between Hudson
and Bleecker, when the Magnolia Bakery was Bird Jungle. I spent my youth
concentrating on my love life instead of my studies. I was always
interested in fashion and dreamed about moving to Paris when I was in high
school. I used to love neo-realism films by Passolini.
How did you come to work in fashion?
I wanted to design when I was in grade school, but my drawing ability was
never stellar. I studied film in college, then got into reportage
photography because I wanted to work alone. I know volumes of people but,
basically, I am a loner and a very private person. After five years as a
photographer, I decided to take a few courses in fashion at Parsons and
FIT. After nine months I decided that if I ever wanted to design I would
have to quit school before it killed my spirit. I did, and opened up my own
label, called Diane Pernet. It existed for 13 years in New York and, during
that time, I had a license with Seibu department store in Tokyo. In the
late ’80s when New York eventually turned into something resembling a scene
out of Blade Runner, I found myself constantly wanted to leave. So at the
end of 1990, I moved to Paris.
I’d always worked for myself, so the idea of working for another designer
was not really something that I was searching for. My first job in Paris
was designing costumes for films. I met some amazing people like the muse
of Fassbinder, Hanna Schygulla, and Maria Madeiros, who played Bruce
Willis’s girlfriend in Pulp Fiction. I also had the priceless opportunity
to work with Henri Alekan, the lighting director from Beauty and the Beast
by Jean Cocteau. He was 87 at the time (with a young female assistant) and
had the energy of a kid. I worked a bit, doing production for CBC on
Fashion Files when Tim Blanks was on camera.
I had the funny experience of meeting Robert Altman and playing myself,
meaning a journalist, in the film Pret a Porter. I was sitting next to
Stephen Rea, the steven Meisel character in the film, at the nude fashion
show, and next to Harry Belafonte and Tracy Ullman at the fake Vivienne
Westwood show. I got to meet all my childhood idols like Marcello, Sophia,
Lauren Bacall, etc. etc. Everyone seemed to be in that film. Granted, the
film was not one of Altman’s best, but it was fun to do, nonetheless. I
also met Roman Polanski and played, basically, a silhouette in the Ninth
Gate. You know the scene where Johnny Depp is going to the castle to break
into the black mass? There was one car that drove up to the mass, a couple
got out and walked in. That was my bit.
Joyce Ma used to have a magazine called Joyce before Hong Kong was handed
over to China. It was published in Hong Kong but produced in London. I was
her fashion editor for four and a half years. I became a journalist quite
by accident. I used to have a column on Elle.com called “Dr. Diane” where
people would write in their styling questions. It always amazed me the
kinds of things that disturbed people. I worked on VogueParis.com for
several years and contribute to magazines around the globe.
I did the French casting for Fashion House, the first reality fashion TV
show set in Rome last year. For the past four years I have been making
videos covering fashion, culture, and events with Disciple Films and
presently I am looking for a sponsor and a channel for Diane Lost in La
Fashion, a 26 minute fashion television program with me presenting a la
Where are your favorite places in Paris?
Paris is a city for walking so I do a lot of that. I am much more into tea
salons than bars. My favorites are Toraya, Les Deux Abeilles and, of
course, the Caf