Marie-Ange Horlaville - Fashion Insider #6

by Emmanuelle Christ

Marie-Ange Horlaville produced and directed “Paris chic choc” and “Paris C la Mode” for 16 years (France3's two Fashion Shows), then produced, directed and hosted Nec Plus Ultra, a Lifestyle show dedicated to Excellence on the TV5 Monde channel. Now, this fashion-on-TV pioneer is taking her show to the Internet and Youtube.

How did you begin doing Fashion journalism on TV?

I began with a show called “Paris Lumière” on the TV5 Monde channel. I offered the channel to produce fashion-related topics - which did not exist in this show at the time. It was more than needed for a show called Paris Lumière.

You worked for France3 for 15 years, first with “Paris chic choc” and then “Paris C la Mode” - How was it?

For France3's shows - all fashion shows - we had several sections such as “Stars' Fashion” where a male or female star opened his or her wardrobe to us and shared his or her vision on fashion - it was quite funny. We also broadcast visits to artisans' workshops - although the heads of programmes were less than eager about those; they thought these broadcasts were not glamorous enough - and yet they were the most popular. For LVMH's “Particular Days”, where people stand in line for over 6 hrs, Sydney Tolédano - Dior's Director of Couture - even told me he understood why my shows were so popular!

Your best memories?

I have a lot of great memories, each new encounter with someone creative, a craftsperson, a boss, is a source of wonder. I am quite proud to have been the very first one to interview Mr Bernard Arnault, who had never accepted interviews by then, and I am also very proud of the documentary “The Night Before the Show” with Jérôme Dreyfus; that was innovative! My worst memory though, was a fascinating interview of Karl Lagerfeld in his 7L bookshop. We had plenty of time, he was so kind, but afterwards we realized there was nothing on the tape, the cameraman had forgotten to film. I'm still crying over it!

What do you think about Fashion on TV nowadays?

There is not much Fashion on TV left. I've watched a couple of times but I'm a bit like Karl Lagerfeld, I'm not interested in other people's work, except for what Loïc Prigent does for Arte.

What has been your greatest professional work encounter?

Great encounters are everyday. People in fashion, whether they design or sell it, are all passionate, it's their passion that I find interesting, their humilty when faced with certain challenges such as creating a dress, a pair of shoes, or a hat. I like listening to each and every one of them. Perhaps Karl Lagerfeld is more endearing than some because of his modesty, his wit, his humour, and provocations; but others are very interesting too, I'm thinking about Josephus Thimister, Lutz, Franck Sorbier, about Mark Jacobs' kindness, Anthony Vaccarello's kindness, Tom Ford's style. I'm sorry about this response but this question is very difficult.

Something completely crazy you've had to do for your job?

The worst thing was for my health: I did Paris - Tahiti - NY - Moscow in a row with just 4 hrs on site. I wasn't much of a sight after this but what a pleasure!

Your worst professional blunder?

A huge mistake: I turned Charles Fredérick Worth's name into Philippe Worth (shameful!).

Your greatest professional success?

My greatest professional success has been to slowly but surely show the work done in workshops on Haute Couture TV shows (Marie-José Lepicard had done it in her time too, during some newscasts) and Bernard Arnault's famous first interview.

You've been one of the first to show behind the scenes of Fashion and shows, don't you think this has contributed to desacralising the world of Luxury?

Showing behind the scenes and what was going on in sewing workshops and luxury know-how has not desacralised anything, quite the opposite! Showing how a couture dress is made, from sketch to dress to catwalk, showing how a shoe or a bra is put together, showing how a piece of jewellery is sketched, how a diamond is cut, how Sevres manufactures a piece of porcelain, how a glass carver carves a Baccarat or Saint Louis crystal vase, how glass is blown in Murano, all this contributes to the magic of Luxury. It also makes it clearer why luxurious items are at such a price, and some people have even found their vocation thanks to these documentaries.

Among all your TV shows which one will you honestly always remember, and which?

I've felt very proud of and pleased with several shows. One of them in particular was the editing of backstage shooting archives with Karl, with some drawings he had made of Coco Chanel for an exhibition at Le Bon Marché. I loved doing this, it felt like having a real life conversation. I can't tell you how much time we worked on this for it to seem credible.

Fashion shows are are now available on a large scale and to a wider audience via the Internet and social networks, what do you think about this trend?

Fashion and fashion shows on the Internet are an absolute must nowadays. It takes a lot of the mystery and curiosity out but provides the audience with so many dreams. It's fast, moves in all directions, it's not always properly commented on nor well done but it's like that, it's a trend. I try to do it on my “Nec plus Ultra” media as well as on TV.

Your show “Nec plus Ultra” on TV5 Monde and on the Internet reports on the best of the best as regards French lifestyle, what is your personal best of the best?

My best of the best are my family, my work, my friends (and some of my clothes!).

The height of luxury according to you?

The height of luxury? Answering your questions!

Who do you nominate for our next interview?

A trainee or a skilled seamstress in a sewing workshop.
A fashion designer like Pascal Millet, Lutz Huelle or Franck Sorbier.
A journalist like Virginie Mouzat or Janie Samet.
A feather master artisan like Nelly Saunier.

March 2017

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“Fashion and fashion shows on the Internet [...], moves in all directions, it's not always properly commented on nor well done”