Inspiring women: Véronique Mirieu de Labarre, accessories guru and talent scout
Inspiring women: Collaborative partnership with MidetPlus.fr
After many years spent experimenting in the fashion world, in 2012 Véronique Mirieu de Labarre decided to devote herself to her passion: accessories. This Mid&Plus contributor, just like us, never intended to follow the path she’s now on. She has kindly agreed to answer our questions.
Her responses are a beautiful encouragement to remain optimistic, bounce back, learn about yourself and communicate – the aim of our site. So why not make our resolutions a reality for the start of 2015? The interview with Véronique Mirieu de Labarre can be found at the end of this article.
Cliquez ici pour lire cet article en français.
Why is Véronique Mirieu de Labarre’s website called Tipthara?
In Thai, it means ‘magic of the river’ or ‘look at the river’. Véronique Mirieu de Labarre tells us that water represents the journey to meet creators (such as young European stylists, prestigious foreign labels unknown to the French market, and talented designers), unearthing talents, being moved by beauty, telling a story with colours and materials, and putting forward a style.
Véronique Mirieu de Labarre seeks to find and bring together objects that are quirky, unique and unexpected: bags, scarves, hats, jewellery, cufflinks and more. These emphasise a style and, better yet, create or even change the look. All kinds of materials are incorporated: leather, silk, cashmere, pearls, semi-precious stones etc.
Véronique Mirieu de Labarre says:
The accessory is a reflection of who we are, of our mood at a given moment. It’s a look that we embrace, and an invitation for others to join the journey.
We must listen passionately to how each of these accessories speaks to each other. When we listen, they tell us their story and origin: a sophisticated scarf from India embroidered and lined with sequins; cuff-links from Cambodia; a key ring and purse made from jewelled beads produced by a village of woman in Tibet; a scarf and woolly hat created by Irish grandmothers for an English designer; Panama hats straight from Ecuador; kitsch or chic American bags; crazy shopping bags designed by an English stylist; leather cuffs coloured in Thailand…
Are accessories not a Mid&Plus’s best friend?
An accessory can emphasise a silhouette and create a sense of style, it can contradict the look presented by the rest of the outfit. Sophie Chassat, a specialist in philosophy, affirmed recently in a philosophical article in Figaro Madame that the dejected and difficult nature of the current era pushes us to break the surface, take a breath and be superficial. Superficial is meant here in the literal sense, of starting up again from the depths of crisis and anxiety.
Véronique Mirieu de Labarre believes: “The accessory often condenses the uniqueness of a look, a personality or a period of time. If it reveals the essentials, it does so with subtlety and charm, outlining another way of discovering the truth about things and beings that are far from the intrusive analysis of Western thought.”
Interview with Véronique Mirieu de Labarre
Being a Mid&Plus
How would you describe your Mid&Plus stage?
Oh, my! Certainly, a turbulent time: the end of a great love, a life full of changes, children who are becoming adolescents and are leaving home, parents growing older, illnesses, loved ones who die too soon…It has been a difficult period from which I emerged nevertheless ‘affirmed’. I wanted to be like the ‘tropical grain’: I am lying just underneath the ground while the sky above is black and there’s a heavy downpour. Maybe it’s due to my resolute optimism, but I have always believed that ahead there will always be a day with some blue sky and sunshine.
In your opinion, what key term defines a Mid&Plus?
How do you apprehend the time that passes by?
Rather well, at least l think so. I don’t jump with joy at the idea of having several new wrinkles each year; however – and it’s without a doubt commonplace – age brings us more wisdom, confidence and serenity. There are true pleasures to feeling capable of putting things into perspective and accepting these intuitions without needing other reasons, and being able to make the most of the little gifts in life with peace of mind. One calls that the joys of maturity, I think!
Do you have any advice for those who aren’t yet at that stage?
It’s always very complicated giving advice…
What triggered your new project?
A little phrase, exactly how the title of a blog that I recommend goes: “Don’t play the second role in your own life. Don’t let life blow away from you like little-displaced tickets”.
I had stepped aside from my own life and put all my energy into my family and my children, leaving my professional ambitions on hold for a long time. My life changed: I divorced, my children were living their lives and so I decided that I didn’t want my own life to actually slip away from me.
I spent 15 years hopping from the show rooms of big name fashion designers to sell their collections and I learnt so much from it. The accessories enticed me. Very often people commented on what I wore: a scarf, a bag, and even the way in which I combined colours. By intuition, I said to myself that maybe I had something to work with, that the concept was undeveloped and that accessories deserved an equivalent place in the market to that of clothing.
After having travelled a lot through South East Asia, I discovered that in Thailand and Cambodia, the creators work exceptionally well with materials, especially leather, both creatively and qualitatively. Tipthara is incidentally a Thai word that means ‘river magic’. This was the moment that everything fell into place and it was those encounters that pushed me to give life to my ideas and little by little take the plunge.
Has your gender ever forced you to give up certain projects in your life?
No. I can’t say that. I have been very happy being a mother and that has long been a priority of mine (and incidentally still is). With four children, I had been fulfilled and therefore my professional life didn’t interest me as much.
What are your tricks, hints and daily driving forces to live positively each day?
First of all, a good coffee and watching the colour of the sky. Then, I have three minutes of self-reflection to tell myself that sometimes the days have been better, sometimes worse, but that it’s not all so bad, and that I am very lucky – I then move forward with the day.
What are your priorities at the moment?
My children are my priority. I’ve thought about it, and a hierarchy of priorities is impossible for me: everything is important. Like a puzzle, my priorities are all little pieces of days gone by with those who make up my life, a life that I love. All these moments are just as varied as they are essential: a dinner in the corner by the fire with my partner, an improvised breakfast with a friend in the café below my place, an escape in the sun, the discovery of a new designer, a conductor giving an exceptional concert…
Being comfortable with yourself/well-being/looks
Do you have a disciplined approach to train your mental and physical form?
I really don’t like this word ‘discipline’. I was incidentally rather undisciplined and have never really liked doing what everyone else is doing. Jokes aside, yes I do practise gymnastics at least twice a week with an extraordinary coach and a very dear friend (this is how you transform a chore into a joyful moment). In terms of my mental state, I am naturally curious; I read and I am always on the lookout for everything, so I hope that it more or less takes care of my mental form.
Do you have a daily ritual?
My only ritual is my breakfast, the only meal that I cannot miss, and the feeling of tranquilly drinking several coffees in the morning, which gradually gets me going.
What’s your ideal choice of clothes?
In winter, trousers, a cosy pullover and always a coloured scarf which I like to wrap up warm in. In summer, it’s more varied; I like to have fun with shoes.
What cause do you campaign for these days?
For the children of the world, I have travelled a lot and learnt the extent to which the future of children’s education in numerous countries is being overlooked. I try to support this cause through the association ‘Children of the Mekong’, by helping to put in place charitable initiatives here in France. Obviously, I aspire to do more.
Are you prepared to give your time?
Absolutely, I’ve had the opportunity to be able to do this over the years.
Which book do you have on your bedside table at the moment?
There are always several books on my bedside table, several inspirations. At the moment: ‘Just before happiness’ by Agnès Ledig, ‘The Captive’ by David le Bailly and ‘Five wounds to the heart and soul which prevent you from being yourself’ by Lise Bordeau.
Which phrase, book, film or CD summarises your life as a woman?
Apart from the fact that I was once compared to Scarlett O’Hara for my unconditional love of “my country, my land”, I don’t see it. In any case, it’s my only point in common with the aforesaid Scarlett!
Which women of the past or today inspire you?
Jackie Kennedy, Aung San Suu Kyi and my friends.
Passing down knowledge
If you think about your mother, your grandmothers, which woman of your time are you?
I was raised in a very traditional environment. I know that my mother and grandmother never complained, never confided in others, and never talked much about themselves because that wasn’t the thing to do: “never explain, never complain”. Of course, they had friends, but they never discussed their private life.
My grandmother had a very hard life. She lost her husband very young, then her son at the age of 20 and her grandson when he was also 20 years old. She was rather extraordinary, quite unconventional, very independent and strong (well did she have a choice?). I often ask myself how she was able to cope with all of that without talking, without confiding in someone, without exchanging words. I am a woman of my era because I very much need to talk, to exchange words, to listen and to understand.
Which values or ideas do you wish to convey to others?
To love and have confidence in life.
Do you agree with Véronique Mirieu de Labarre that accessories can tell a story? What stories do your accessories represent? Share your accessory stories with us in the comments box below!
Inspiring women: collaborative partnership with MidetPlus.fr
[This article was originally written in French by author: Marie-Hélène Cossé]
Here at MyFrenchLife™ we have pleasure in announcing our collaborative partnership with French site MidetPlus.fr to produce this new series: ‘Inspiring women’.
This article first appeared on MidetPlus.fr and we have translated it into English for your added pleasure.
Mid&Plus takes a decidedly positive view of women in the world and produces wonderful portraits of inspiring women.
This collaboration enables you to read this series of inspiring life stories in French and in English here on MyFrenchLife™ – MaVieFrançaise® magazine and also to visit midetplus.fr for further inspiration and read about Fondatrice Marie-Hélène Cossé.
We hope that you enjoy it.
Marie-Hélène Cossé – founder of MidetPlus
Claire Basler – artist
Zahia Ziouani – conductor
Alix Baboin-Jaubert – pilgrim
Tina Kieffer – journalist
Hannelore Cayre – author+
Virginie Taittinger – femme champenoise
Zeina Egho – a face of exile
Catherine Soulas-Baron – savoir vivre
Veronique Mirieu de Labarre – accessories & talent scout
Diane von Fürstenburg – designer
1, 2 & 4 courtesy of midetplus.fr
3 ‘Constance et Maguelonne’, via Tipthara.com
Translated by Katie Wilkinson