When is comes to fashion publicists, there are none as stylish nor as savy as French fashion guru Celine Kaplan. She’s been leading her PR team since 2005 with a list of clients ranging from premium swimwear and lingerie brand Eres (which is owned by Chanel) to Blair Waldorf’s favorite luxury bakery Laduree. Here, Kaplan sheds some light on the fashion industry and gives us her best advice for Making it in Manhattan.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
It was always an interest – my mother and grandmother loved fashion but really I advanced in my career proceeding by elimination, I learned more what I was not good at and did not want to do than a strategic planned goal oriented with each move.
2. What college did you attend and what did you study?
The Sorbonne in Paris, I studied sociology, as I wanted to be an ethnologue.
3. When did you land your first internship and where was it?
I landed years ago, 24, I think. I was dealing art privately at the time.
4. What was the most valuable thing you learned from your first internship?
Don’t give up, ask questions, observe.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone about to begin a summer internship?
Every piece of a career is a puzzle – even if you don’t know where the piece fits at the time. Also, take any job seriously.
6. Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
Michelle Feeney from MAC, at the time, she has so many ideas per minute and is the most forward thinking person I’ve ever met. Anne Catherine Grimal my boss at Le Bon Marche, she taught me how to be efficient, strategic, finding angles and always rethinking and reinventing it all with a solid classic approach, and Francis Kurkdjian for his intelligence in brand building.
7. What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
Not being able to prioritize, I learned quickly to ask when things needed to get done
8. What was the first job you landed out of college?
Air France, I think.
9. What did you wear to your first interview?
An ERES swimsuit… Just kidding I don’t remember.
10. What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
To be quick on their feet, and knowing the brands we work with.
11. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Trust yourself more.
12. The fashion industry has changed so much in the past few years, what’s the best advice you would give for staying ahead of the curve?
Read Read Read!
13. What prompted you to start your own PR firm?
The brands I worked with in house closed their U.S. office, but wanted to keep me as a PR so I had to sink or swim.
14. What was your biggest fear when going out and beginning your own company?
Finance is not my strength – I managed – I am still open.
15. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs hoping to start their own companies in the future?
Have a vision and be ready to work nonstop. You will always be thinking, and working and therefore inspired.