Welcome to Océane’s Kitschy, Kawaii Wonderland
Magpie, that’s probably the best way to describe Océane. Her bedroom is a mix of everything. Hello Kitty here, Sailor Moon there and Macoto Takahashi everywhere in between. It’s like an exhibition of kitschy, kawaii trinkets! History hasn’t always been so kind to the Magpie, British folklore associated them with witchcraft, but maybe something in that holds true. Océane weaves a web of shiny, pink, girly magic and a room that, at first glance, seems like a hodge-podge of ephemera is transformed into her very own fantasy wonderland. We caught up with Océane to chat about her style evolution, codified girly universes and doll clothing.
The last time we spoke to you, you had decided to become a museum after getting kicked out of a museum in Paris for looking too much like the artwork. How is that going for you?
Indeed, I’d almost forgotten that story! My style has evolved quite a bit since then. I can’t see myself wearing bags printed with museum paintings anymore which will save me from that kind of problem, haha.
Can you tell us what life has been like for a stylist and designer living in France during the Pandemic?
I must say that I was rather lucky, I finished my internship two days before the first lockdown. The Pandemic allowed me to resume designing and developing my brand, Belle Lurette. Having a lot of time to overthink everything is psychologically tiring. But I feel like I’ve grown and am blossoming in my designs at the moment.
Tell us about the first time you encountered Japanese street fashion.
It was at the very beginning when I had access to the internet, I was about 11 years old. I was totally obsessed with the anime Magical Doremi. I spent a lot of time looking for pictures of the characters. One day I came across a scan from a Japanese fashion magazine, it was Kera or FRUiTS, I don’t remember which. The person in the photo was wearing a Magical Doremi bag and a decora-style outfit. I thought it was amazing that these kinds of clothes could be worn by real people in real life, and that’s when I started to learn about all the different genres of Japanese fashion.
You used to be a Lolita, but you transitioned to a Y2K-inspired Rococo aesthetic. What inspired the change?
Over time, new references and experiences have made my style evolve. I like to see it grow and evolve with me, even though I feel that the core remains the same. I still really like lolita but the very codified silhouette prevented me from fully experimenting. I prefer to incorporate it in a few touches in my outfits without doing a full look. It allows me to create something really personal that I can fully identify with.
The Rococo era has always been presented as beautiful, witty, flirtatious and light-hearted. Are these some of the elements that drew you to the style?
I’ve always been attracted to the very girly, very codified “girl” universe. But when I was a teenager, it was something that was frowned upon, that had to be hidden, because it was a culture that was not considered legitimate. I discovered Rococo at the same time as the lolita style, and I really found myself in this movement that celebrates too much and takes frivolity to the extreme.
Rococo style, in context, can also be understood as the visual manifestation of the excess and opulence of the French ruling class. You live in the 21st century, so what appeal does it have for you now?
I think, especially during the Pandemic, it’s a pretty refreshing world. With the big Cottagecore trend on Instagram, the 2000s revival, the discovery and success of FRUiTS in Western magazines, I feel like people are generally craving something more fun in the way they dress.
Thrift stores are a big inspiration for you and it looks like your bedroom is full of thrifted pieces. Tell us about the first time you went into a store.
I discovered thrift shops when I was 16, I really fell in love with the authenticity of the place, all these eras, these styles that were mixed together… I find it quite inspiring and exciting, you never know whether you’re going to be disappointed or find a gem. It’s always a surprise!
What are your top 5 interior design-must haves?
I don’t really have any “must-haves”, my decoration is just an accumulation of all the objects that inspire me and that I arrange as I see fit. They create an ensemble that is personal to me. But one thing that particularly characterizes my way of decorating is my habit of wanting to hang everything on the walls, haha. I really hang anything and everything: dolls, panties… Although I think the size of my room is a big factor in this.
Can you tell us about some of your figurines and dolls?
Most of them are found on the market, or picked up on the street. In fact I’m mostly obsessed with doll clothes, usually it’s their outfits that attract me first. I don’t think I have a favourite one in particular, they all have a different story!
Tell us a bit about your dressing table. Do you actually use the gilded, filigree mirror for make-up?
To be honest, my dressing table is mostly decorative, hahaha! I rarely wear make-up there because all my make-up is stored somewhere else. But I’ve always dreamt of having a dressing table, and I stumbled upon this one on Leboncoin*, it was a great deal. I picked it up from an old lady at the end of last year’s lockdown. It’s a 60s dressing table from Italy!
*French website for classified adverts
Are there times when your room doesn’t feel like a bedroom? When the style makes it difficult to be in?
Nothing’s really practical in my room, it’s very small, the slightest touch can make things fall… The worst is the shelf above my bed, sometimes I bump into it when I’m sleeping and the figurines fall on me… but it goes well with my personality, I like mess and complicating my life, haha.
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Introduction and questions by Anna.
Images courtesy of Océane Philippe.