Letter From Paris: Designer Interview with Pom Sevestre
“Pôm’s unique creative perspective comes from exploring the variety and combinations of different cultures and art mediums. She’s not afraid to make a mess, which gives her the freedom to be audacious, and her lingerie collection reflects a bold, confident femininity.”
As a toddler, Pôm’s mother covered the floor with paper, sat her down with pots of paint and told her to go ahead and make a mess.
“It was more about awakening the senses and learning to express myself than being creative,” explains Pôm Sevestre, the designer behind the lingerie label Absolutely Pôm. There is an exuberance and vitality about Pôm that is Absolutely Charming as she reveals her insatiable curiosity and joie de vivre. The eldest of four children, Pôm cultivated an appreciation of art and music in a family that enjoyed going to expositions, theater, and engaging in lively debate.
Pôm graduated from Ecole Estienne with a baccalaureate in Applied Arts. With a keen power of observation and spirited sense of adventure, Pôm learned to follow her instincts rather than trends. While attending Esmod, the Fashion Institute in Paris, she discovered a passion for textiles and found her visual identity in lingerie.
Pôm’s unique creative perspective comes from exploring the variety and combinations of different cultures and art mediums. She’s not afraid to make a mess, which gives her the freedom to be audacious, and her lingerie collection reflects a bold, confident femininity. Her jupon – a cross between a skirt and a crinoline – is the runaway hit of the collection and has become a signature piece.
Gustave Flaubert wrote, “What seems to me the highest and the most difficult achievement of Art is not to make us laugh or cry, or to rouse our lust or our anger, but to do as nature does – that is, fill us with wonderment.”
Pom’s first collection does just that. Absolutely.
POM – THE DESIGNER
You live and work in Paris, the lingerie capital of the world… what is it about Paris that inspires fashion and creativity?
Paris is full of culture and ideas. Each arrondissement creates different sensations and different styles. I love Chatelet where all styles come together.
What is the distinguishing characteristic of your collection?
The element of surprise through the association of different materials and colour. I am intrigued by the idea of heads or tails, and I like the notion that there is a different side to everything, and to everybody.
What is the most important thing to consider when designing lingerie?
Fit and comfort. True style is when you feel completely at ease.
What is the biggest challenge in designing your own label?
To keep the collection pertinent with every season and to make sure that an idea on paper makes its way to being a garment in the store. Running a business is like putting a puzzle together. All aspects of business must fit. I try and stay positive and follow the adage that there are no problems, only solutions.
Do you listen to music when you work? What’s playing in the background?
Music stimulates emotions. I like electronic music that is slightly jazzy, a bit funky, like Trentmoller and Chilly Gonzales.
What would you be doing if you weren’t designing?
I’m very sensitive to smell and appreciate odors and scents. Who knows, perhaps I could work as a nose for a perfume company!
PLEASURES & INSPIRATIONS
Where are you likely to be on a sunny Saturday afternoon?
In Paris, I’m likely with friends in a café, or in a park. I lived in Asia for six years and during my time in Hong Kong, I was often on a boat or hiking in the mountains.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon?
I’m very happy to go out, or spend time by myself, regardless if it is raining or sunny outside. I like both.
Salé or sucré? (Salt or sugar?) Which do you prefer?
I prefer salt as I get older, and in particular, cheese. We played a game as children. My mother blindfolded us as we tasted all sorts of cheeses, trying to identify each one. I love a strong, distinctive cheese, like goat’s cheese.
Favorite restaurant in Paris?
I’m a zappeuse, which means that I like to try different places. However, recently I have enjoyed going to Les Colonnes in Issy les Moulineaux. It is a traditional bistro and they serve an amazing leg of lamb with a delicious caramelized preserve and coriander. I simply love coriander.
Fondant chocolat, which is a warm chocolate cake with liquid chocolate in the center that pours out when you take your first bite.
All seasons because they stimulate different sensations
THE BUSINESS OF LINGERIE
You have just designed your first collection, which is available at the department store Printemps. Where else are you sold?
Absolutely Pôm is available in numerous high-end boutiques in France, such as Tazia in Lyon, Les Dessous d’Isabelle in Lille, and Kemboja in Toulouse. The complete list is on our website.
Where are you sold in the United States?
We work with a distributor, coincidently named, Absolutely Lingerie. All inquiries can be directed to Souad Selmi. His email is email@example.com
JUST FOR FUN…
Do you remember your first bra?
Yes, of course! I was older than most girls as I didn’t have much of a chest. My mother took me to Etam Lingerie and we bought a triangle bra in cotton with a flower print and two matching panties.
Do you wear mismatched lingerie now?
Yes, in fact, I think it’s fun to mix and match. Lingerie helps create different sensations and emotions, which are fun to play with. Often my lingerie selection is quite opposite in style of what I’m wearing over top.
In the United States
110 East 9th St, Suite #A1069
Los Angeles, CA 90079
Contact: Souad Selmi
Kathryn Kemp-Griffin is the President of Pink Bra Bazaar, a lingerie charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for breast cancer. Kathryn also organizes exclusive lingerie tours in Paris as an unusual alternative to the regular tourist attractions called Paris Lingerie Tours www.parislingerietours.com. A Toronto native and a Princeton graduate, Kathryn lives with her husband, five children, two cats and a dog in a 500-year-old mill outside of Paris.