Broadcast twice a week on TV5MONDE, #VersionFrançaise is a television show focused on all things chic, design, fashion, and food à la française. Each episode lasts 26 minutes and offers a showcase for the latest talents and trends from the French capital. Interview with Katherina Marx, the producer and host of the show.
You designed #VersionFrançaise to be a “news show for French-style chic.” What does that mean?
This show explores the full richness and diversity of the French creative scene, including gastronomy, design, architecture, fashion, and artisanry. Every sector gets its slot! Each episode is divided into sections. “Focus” is devoted to artistic artisanry, “Repérages” offers a themed tour of Paris and its leading artists, hotels, boutiques, and restaurants. There is also a portrait of and an interview with an iconic guest, and a “La relève” section focused on young artists and designers!
We want to give just as much attention to haute couture as street art. I do not want to produce a show that deals exclusively with the premium market. I believe that culture and art have nothing to do with luxury. The urban collages by Fred le Chevalier are just as interesting as the furniture by designer Hervé Van der Straeten, who only works in the high-end sector. The Claudine collar, embroidery, ceramics, and even patisserie all have their place on this show.
You start each show by saying the best people to talk about France are non-French people. Why?
Simply put, because the French are masters of “French bashing” and struggle to recognize everything their country has to offer in terms of scenes, talents, and creativity. Thanks to their points of view and perspective, foreigners are perhaps best-placed to realize how exceptional France really is.
I am German and have lived in Paris for almost 30 years. I consider myself to be Parisian, which does not mean “born in Paris,” but rather that I love and know the French capital in my own way. I do wonder if I have become too close to have an objective critical opinion, but I still marvel at the city’s light and beauty on a daily basis. And I know what I am talking about, as we frequently film outside all year round.
Why did you choose Paris as the setting for your reports and interviews?
Paris enjoys an international reputation and acts as a magnet! We filmed a few special editions in London, in New York, and in the mountains, and our journalists sometimes cover topics elsewhere in France. We recently featured a “lifestyle stroll” through Toulon and a visit to the Hotel Majestic in Cannes. But everything centered around design is based in Paris. We are always on the lookout for trends, exhibitions, concept-store launches, and new boutiques. We have showcased the nomadic furniture of India Mahdavi, the Quatre ring by Boucheron, the culinary creations of Michel Rostang, and paintings by Ara Starck… In ten years, we have never presented the same subject twice!
The portrait and interview with an established or unknown designer are the cornerstone of the show. How do you choose your guests?
The special guest has to be passionate about what they do and have a sufficiently developed creative world for us to devote a segment to them. For example, we have interviews with leading names such as architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte and interior designer Jacques Grange. These creatives have an established talent but are constantly questioning themselves and looking to develop their work.
We also focus on up-and-coming figures such as Nathanaël Désormeaux and Damien Carrette. In our most recent episodes, we met young designer Jean-Simon Roch, winner of the 2016 Prix Émile Hermès for his range of simple but zany games. We also interviewed Philippe Perissé, a fashion designer inspired by the heroines of the 1920s and 1930s, and Julia Sedefdjian the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France. I love the show’s variety!
What message are you trying to communicate with this show?
#VersionFrançaise is a staunchly optimistic and positive show. We offer an upbeat, exciting vision at a time when most media do not; this is a stance we have chosen. We attract a vast audience comprised of professionals in the sectors we cover, such as architects and designers, who are looking to stay abreast of new trends in France. Lots of expats also watch the show to reconnect with part of their culture.
I try to appeal to anyone curious. French chic is often seen as nonchalant and unconscious. A pinch of extravagance in an otherwise formatted environment. But it is also something rather clichéd and highly fantasized. We provide a different perspective by showing everything novel and unique that France has to offer.
=> The magazine #VersionFrançaise is broadcast on TV5MONDE every Saturday at 7:30 pm EST and Thursday at 12:30 am EST.