A Conversation With / Alice Cavanagh
Alice Cavanagh is a Paris based writer hailing from Australia. As Contributing Editor for Vogue, appearing regularly in Porter, The Wall Street Journal, W Magazine, Business Of Fashion and Cereal, as well as freelancing for the likes of Kenzo and Chanel, Alice’s approach to word and image is highly revered. Here, LM interviews Alice on life, style and Paris…
Can you describe what you do for a living in a nutshell?
That is not as simple as it should be. I guess you would say I am first and foremost a writer, but I also organise photoshoots and come up with story ideas and strategy for luxury brands.
What is it that you enjoy most about writing and working in publishing?
Definitely the everyday diversity. I work with so many different people — editors and clients — on a multitude of subjects and I am always learning. My work is incredibly stimulating.
How did you fall into fashion journalism, as opposed to covering other industries and news?
I started working in fashion for Belinda Seper while I was studying at university and I just caught the bug! I love clothes, but I love creative people more and the fact that what we wear can reveal so much about our time and ourselves. Since moving to Paris, I now cover lifestyle and travel topics as well, which is probably a better reflection of my personal interests.
The fashion industry is going through enormous change due to the force of social media. The speed of ‘the new’, the constant need for content. Do you see the pace of this movement as the new norm?
I do, but then fashion has always been about moving forward. The very notion of something being fashionable is that it is ‘of the moment’. We just all have to keep up, or find a new way of doing things.
The latter is perhaps more sustainable and I encounter many brands in the luxury sector, with a distinct point of view and a unique approach, who exist outside the system. I think that is when really interesting things start to happen.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sunday morning in bed with husband, sun coming through the window, pot of tea ready to go.
Which living person do you most admire?
It’s ever changing but right now it’s probably author Hanya Yanagihara. I just finished ‘A Little Life’ and am in awe of her writing.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books! I can’t help myself. And food.
What is your current state of mind?
I’m always on alert and thinking of the next thing I need to do.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’m hungry” or “I’m tired”. Sad but true.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Building a successful career and a life for myself in Paris.
Where would you most like to live?
What is your most treasured possession?
Sadly, my laptop.
What is your favourite occupation?
Sleeping, reading, kissing.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Probably my smile?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favourite writers?
Lillian Ross, Nancy Mitford, Nora Ephron.
What is your greatest regret?
Finally, a few Paris questions...
Did you always see yourself living in Paris one day? Was the move challenging?
Strange to say, but yes, I did always see myself living here. The move was so challenging; I can’t believe I made it work. I think it was a combination of extreme naivety and stubbornness; also I have to thank my husband for his part in making it infinitely more enjoyable (and permanent).
What do the French excel in?
Body language and gesturing. I have never seen such a wide array of expressions!
Best place in Paris for breakfast?
Café Oberkampf, obviously.
Best place for a cocktail?
I don’t do cocktails, but love a glass of full-bodied red wine (preferably natural and tangy) and the best spot is La Buvette in my hood (the 11th).
Describe the ultimate Sunday morning in Paris; where would you go, eat, drink, visit?
Sleep in, breakfast at Café Oberkampf, bike ride to Place des Vosges and nap in the sun, then a late lunch with wine on a friend’s terrace, followed by a movie on the couch that night.