MF: How did you become a fashion journalist?
JM: I started at the International Herald Tribune when I was 23 and worked for about a year as a research assistant. Then the job of Suzy’s assistant opened up. I applied not knowing anything about fashion, nor who Suzy Menkes was… and got the job! Suzy is the best in the business and being able to be trained by her for over 16 years has been one of the biggest gifts in my life. I’ve learnt from her to be authentic, to be honest, to speak your truth, to have integrity and to write a great critic!
MF: You were at the forefront of digital fashion when you earned your title of digital fashion editor at the publication in 2007. How has digital journalism evolved since you started?
JM: I really feel so lucky to have lived in a time when I got to see the old way of doing journalism, see the evolution and helping Suzy along with that. At the beginning when you were writing, there was nothing to go back and forth. And then we started to post online and have comments. That was the first kind of connection. Today everything has become like a two-way conversation between you and your readers. Which is great. It’s great to have this feedback. You can pick up right away what people are resonating with.
MF: We often say people read less today. Do you think it’s true?
JM: It’s absolutely true. The future of our industry, and many industries, is much more vocal and visual. The perfect example is when I started doing my reviews, when I was the editor-in-chief of Antidote Magazine. I wrote them out and I got very little resonance. People did not talk about it. When Instagram made it possible to do a one-minute video I thought: “Ok, I will switch this up and do audio with the video”. And things just changed.
From one day to the next, people were like “I love your 60 Second Reviews, I love how you’re pulling it out together…” As people are reading less, there’s a desire to listen more. People are listening to podcasts when they’re doing their laundry or driving their cars.
MF: So, can fashion magazines still exist in this environment?
JM: The company I work with now as editor-at-large, ODDA Magazine, is a bi-annual with 4000 words articles. It’s more like a keepsake, a reference point to go back and say “Ok this is how it was at this point in fashion and these are the people who are shaping fashion at that moment”. With podcasts it’s more about being able to go behind the scenes and really get to know designers. It’s a way to bring everybody into that world and experience first-hand the amazing people who are shaping this industry. Olivier Rousteing, Julie de Libran… You hear them laughing and you hear them talking… that’s so precious. I think there is always gonna be a place for the written words, it’s never gonna go away. It’s evolving.
MF: Tell us about Launchmetrics and GPS Radar…
JM: Launchmetrics is a marketing platform that helps different brands to find the voices they want to work with, then benchmark the success of the projects they put together. Within that, there is GPS Radar. It’s a free private members-only website where members can RSVP to all of the shows, ask for show tickets, do moodboards, see the galleries of all the fashion shows (and not just for fashion capitals), see press releases and post news about what they are doing. It’s kind of a Linkedin for the fashion industry.
MF: Launchmetrics works a lot with influencers. How is this kind of marketing evolving?
JM: I think there’s a shift. It used to be about how many followers you had and now it’s really about engagement. Even if you have a smaller amount of followers, if they really talk to you and engage with what you say, you have a lot more impact. In that way I think we’re gonna see the micro-influencers coming up and brands wanting maybe partner with them more than with bigger ones. You can sometimes get more activations with a small influencer than you can have with Kendall Jenner. And you might have an actual return and get sales out of that. Specifically, with Millenials and Gen-Z’s, it’s all about that connection, feeling that’s a real and authentic partnership.
JM: I like to have lunch and breakfast meetings at Sunday in Soho. That’s close to my office and the menu is divine. I buy my jewellery at White Bird. I really love the collections there. And there’s a facialist that I love, named Sophie Carbonari. She makes this amazing facial that makes you look ten years younger.
MF: You chose to set up this interview at the Hôtel des Grands Boulevards. Why?
JM: It’s literary two minutes from my office, it’s also by convenience. But it’s a beautiful place, it’s lovely, so why not?
MF: You travel a lot. What are the things you take with you everywhere?
JM: I have photos of my kids, my three daughters, with me all the time. I have this little Lanix (that’s a tiny speaker), my cashmere sweat suit and this beautiful embroidered wrap that I bought in India when I was with Suzy. That’s a cherished piece. It dresses anything up. Oh, and red lipstick! If I’m tired or whatever I put on a red lip and I’m good to go.
MF: What is your best fashion memory?
JM: Oh my God there are so many! I can tell you the moment I knew I wanted to work in fashion was when I went to see a young designer who was just starting at Guy Laroche. It was Alber Elbaz and that was amazing. The Dior shows at Versailles were amazing. When John (Galliano, ndlr) was doing Dior, the shows were epic… Going to the final show for Yves Saint Laurent himself, was a phenomenal moment…
MF: What is your favourite place in Paris during Fashion Week?
JM: The Mini Palais. I just go and work in-between the shows.
MF: What is the first fashion accessory you ever possessed?
JM: A Fendi Baguette Bag!
MF: What is the latest accessory you bought?
JM: A pair of Charlotte Chesnais earrings.
MF: What is your go-to accessory?
JM: My hair combs!
MF: High heels or flats? Why?
JM: Flats, I’m running from one show to the other. I’ve got to get around fast. Specifically, I live in Valentino’s espadrilles.