Camille Charrière – A Caesura of Calm
March 24, 2023
Culture & Music
Greg Lin Jiajie
Greg Lin Jiajie
Isabelle Truman Remihana
Isabelle Truman Remihana
There’s something about Camille Charrière. In an industry inundated with influencers, few succeed in charming both those inside and out in quite the same way. Unfiltered and unafraid to speak her mind, Charrière’s genuine love of fashion is just as much about the people, connections and community as it is about the clothes. Perhaps this is why it’s taken her so long to find a moment of pause.
In classical music, a caesura denotes a brief interval, an opportunity to take a breath. An avid music lover, Camille Charrière has always found a sense of calm through this genre, in particular. “There’s something so grounding and anchoring about it,” she explains. “Every time you listen, you hear something new.”
It’s the middle of Paris Fashion Week, but Camille is sitting on the living room floor of her West London apartment. Her kitten sleeps nearby and her husband makes occasional cameos in the corner of the screen. On-schedule shows today include Loewe, Coperni and her friend Harris Reed’s debut at Nina Ricci. However, Camille, who hasn’t had a proper respite since joining the industry over a decade ago, is taking an interlude. Makeup free, hair loose and unbrushed with Nike sweats on in place of designer digs. “I can tell you, it’s no secret,” she says
of the reason behind her absence.
“I’m doing IVF and my doctor told me to take it easy. Running around and being late for shows weirdly gets your adrenaline going. It’s really not good for your cortisol levels.”
Today, Camille is one of the world’s most prominent influenc- ers. Her signature feminine meets masculine, flirty yet considered signature style – a unique blend of her French heritage and London roots – captivating a growing audience of 1.4 million. But it was a hustle to get there. Until the
age of 25, Camille was a lawyer in Paris, before she chased a boy to London, finding out upon arrival that she couldn’t afford to study the extra time needed to continue her career in the country. Pivoting to a finance job instead, Camille would write about fashion during her lunch hour as a creative outlet outside of corporate confines, unintentionally becoming a found- ing member of the first wave of influencers in the process.
Gucci dress, briefs, boots & Gucci Horsebit 1955 bag
With no industry experience and using her burgeoning blog, Camille Over the Rainbow, as her CV, Camille landed a writing job at luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter, then MatchesFashion.com, before, to the dismay of the parents patiently waiting for her to return to law, quitting to take her own business full-time. Saying no to the designers whose shows she’s now saved a front-row seat at after years of grinding is no easy feat. “It’s been hard to stick to what I said I was going to do for myself.” Exceptions have been made for a few, including Gucci, Prada and Saint Laurent, but Camille is mostly keeping up with the runways from afar, her tone markedly more animated as she waxes lyrical about Courrèges and Jonathan Anderson’s “eccentric and poetic” vision.
As someone who usually thrives in chaos, the enforced downtime is proving surprisingly soothing. “It’s only now that I’ve really begun to recognise that the intermediate time when you’re done with something, the period in between, is not space you must go and fill. And, actually, to really value that time. Because you’re not going to appreciate what you’re doing on either side of that interlude if you’ve not sat with yourself to let it sink in. It’s something that’s taken me my whole life to understand.”
Growing up in France, not being allowed – or able to afford – to buy what her friends had gave Camille a complicated relationship with clothes. “I didn’t trust my taste at all. I didn’t know what to buy, so I would copy people a lot. I would look at what my best friend was wearing, or at what someone I thought was really cute was wearing, and buy exactly the same thing.” Copying a young girl online on a whim — The Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni — was how Camille’s blog initially came about. Despite not being “particularly good at fashion,” nor having much disposable income to spend, she did what every young woman would back then: lived at Topshop, using high street knockoffs to copy what celebrities like Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins were wearing. “Our generation really hadn’t internalised then how bad it was for the environment.”
Gucci top, skirt, tights & shoes
Gucci dress & gloves
I mention to Camille that a comment she said somewhere once – that worn clothing looks better than new does – is both true and kind of a radical statement when fashion is your job. “I think we’ve been witnessing the death of personal style recently,” she says, pointing out that celebrities are now all working with stylists and in brand contracts. “It’s very same- same.” Paris Hilton recently brought this up, I respond, speaking about how she and her friends in the early aughts – all those now-iconic looks – was them just wearing whatever they liked. Hilton, incredibly, didn’t even know what Celine was when she was invited to the brand’s recent show.
“It’s someone who trusts themselves to make mistakes and to be inappropriate or to wear something that wasn’t right for the occasion. And that is iconic, you’re right,” Camille responds. “It’s something I’ve always felt quite strongly against when it comes to French style. The French are so obsessed with not putting a foot wrong on either side of the spectrum: they don’t want to look too much or too sexy, and they don’t want to look not enough or too casual. You have to be chic and elegant and I think it’s so claustrophobic and stifling. And actually, what’s fun and what’s interesting is not getting it right and knowing that you’re not striving for perfection.” On this point, Camille says young TikTokers with their unique sense of style are a respite. “I find it fascinating to watch teenagers on there because I do think that they’re very different to how we were at their age. They seem obsessed with the idea of individuality. The strength of that generation is they appear to have absorbed what we were like and are not allowing themselves to go there.”
So too is Julia Fox: The brilliant and unapologetic way she wears whatever she likes, despite – per- haps, in part, due to – how riled up it makes people. “Her whole persona feels very anti-male gaze.” Camille’s had her own experience here. Her wedding dress, a see- through lace slip with a visible thong, saw her called ‘vulgar’, ‘hideous’ and ‘tacky’ online. “What the scathing reaction to my wedding dress indicated was how rife internalised misogyny still is; the idea that women subconsciously project sexist ideas onto other women and even onto themselves,” she wrote in response. “It’s caused by deeply entrenched, abstract ideas about how women should dress and behave – standards created by a patriarchal society.”
Recently, Camille has been in a period of transition: she got married, moved house, and became a cat mother. “A lot of people ask me if marriage feels different and for me, it’s a completely new journey,” she says. “Selfishly, I’ve been working for myself for a very long time. And I’ve also been financially independent. So I’ve had that element of being able to do what I want. Being married means that, actually, that’s not how it works anymore. Ultimately, you’re building a life together and there are compromises to be made. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just something to adjust to. I’ve really enjoyed the anchoring feeling of being in a partnership.”
I leave her in the late after- noon light, Classic FM playing quietly in the background of her calm home, a complete juxtaposition to the chaos she’d usually be caught up in on the other side of the channel. “This need for constant stimulation and newness and entertainment, which you can get working in fashion, it’s not necessarily good for you,” Camille muses. “You actually need time where you’re still. Not optimising or bettering yourself. Sitting at home with something beautiful that you’ve already listened to 50 million times.”
Gucci dress, tights & Gucci Horsebit bag