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BTS with Jessica Michault

Always on trend while traveling

Fashion journalist Jessica Michault has been covering the runway for decades. Her wise prose and critical eye have garnered her a spot on the Business of Fashion’s coveted BoF 500 list, alongside the industry’s most influential figures. And closer to home, Michault is’s senior fashion writer, contributing weekly stories from trend reports to Instagram inspiration to backstage coverage from Fashion Week where she speaks with today’s most celebrated designers. Here, we’ve turned the tables on Michault, inviting her to take a moment in the spotlight and share a little about her journey to being one of fashion’s most respected voices.

You’re a San Francisco-born, Paris-based fashion journalist, currently at the helm of Antidote, a biannual fashion magazine. How many weeks of the year would you estimate you spend reporting abroad?
I once calculated that! If you put all the ready-to-wear, menswear, haute couture weeks together and then tack on the SIHH and Baselworld watch fairs as well as the odd far flung cruise show or press junket and I am on the road for at least six months every year.

Where is your favorite city to travel to for work?
Well it's hard to beat my home city of Paris but I would have to say New York. It’s always nice to come back to my home country, hang out with fellow Americans and stock up on all the American food and clothing staples I can't get easily in France. Florence (for the Pitti menswear shows) is pretty wonderful too!

We always hear what the street style sirens pack when they hit the fashion road—but I bet your essentials are a little different. What are a few of the things that get you through the circuit in one piece?
Comfortable, yet stylish, shoes as I am always running from one show to the next. An extra charger for my IPhone 6 Plus, as I now write all my show reviews on it. Photos of my family and a cell phone plan that lets me FaceTime with them to my heart's content. And I have this great classic little black dress from Ralph Lauren that I can dress up or down depending on the occasion.

Are any of your kids future fashion journos?
No they haven't shown any interest in that. But my oldest is very keen on photography and my middle daughter has a sense of style that I know would make her an amazing stylist in the future. As for my youngest daughter, well her passion is horses.

As one of the go-to sources for up to the minute fashion week coverage, your former position at NOWFASHION had you in the hot seat. Care to share the highs and lows of instant fashion access?
I really love the immediacy of writing reviews from the gut. Not waiting, or being influenced by the reaction of others. I find it to be the purest form of criticism. Which is why I continue to write my reviews almost in real time for the Antidote Magazine website. As for the downside... well I review between six to eight shows a day. Which means I usually go to bed at about 2 am and then I am back at it by 6:30 am. And this goes on for months at a time.

For those unfamiliar with Antidote, please tell us a little about the fashion publication.
Antidote Magazine is published in French and English twice a year. Each issue has a theme and one photographer is chosen to shoot the entire issue. The magazine is a hardback and is more like a coffee table book to cherish over the years than a magazine. It really is like a souvenir of the time we are living in now. Filled with articles and interviews with designers that take into account the theme of the issue, which is always very much a reflection of the current mood of fashion. There is also an amazing website too that has original and exclusive content published daily, from interviews with designers and digital photo shoots to bespoke videos and fashion reviews.

What was the most memorable interview in your career to date?
Recently speaking with Alessandro Michele of Gucci was an amazing experience. And yesterday my two-hour chat with Alber Elbaz was fascinating and delightful. Also Karl Lagerfeld has kept me on my toes! Honestly, I love talking with creative individuals about their work. I always learn something new and being able to share those experiences with the world is the best part of my job.

What was your first major “I can’t believe I’m sitting across from…” moment?
Well sitting next to Kanye West in the front row of a Dries Van Noten show was a blast. Say what you will about his own collection, but the guy really appreciates fashion with a critical and sophisticated eye.

What was the most recent?
Recently I was in Saudi Arabia and I was with Silvia Venturini Fendi, Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, Farida Khelfa and Franca Sozzani for the first ever Vogue Fashion Experience, Jeddah. Being surrounded by such amazing, smart and stylish women who were in the country to judge 10 women designers, with the winner getting to show their creations in Milan, was a heady moment.

You have worked alongside some fashion royalty over the course of your career. What was the most important lessons learned along the way and from whom?
Suzy Menkes was my mentor for 16 years. She taught me to always speak my truth. To have integrity. To always be on time. And she showed me that you don't have to be a diva to be a success in fashion. It's ok to be a nice and decent person.

Who are the subjects still on your wish list?
Miuccia Prada and Rei Kawakubo

Please share one of your most humbling work experiences.
Well I find it very humbling each time I am asked to talk with fashion students around the world about my job. It's so great to see the excitement in their eyes about what they are doing. Their passion always motivates me. And they always ask great questions. As a journalist I love it when people speak up and ask the tough questions.

Advice to the next generation hoping to enter the editorial fashion-sphere?
Your reputation is everything. You can not compromise on your integrity. At the end of the day, as a writer, it's the only thing you really have.


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