There’s this constantly growing fascination for Iran bubbling inside of me and it’s so strong that I’m planning to visit Tehran in the next coming weeks or months. Part of that has been being introduced to Les Persiennes in a recent magazine article which I read on a plane. Nilufar Khalessi, the founder, is from Iran and lives in Paris. She runs the online magazine Les Persiennes which bridges the gap between the two very different cities and worlds – who, as you read and read, actually become more alike than you’d think. I caught up with Nilufar to see what inspires her and how politics affect fashion in Iran. 

LEMONDE.FR VIA PERSIENNES

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your personal background and what you spend your days doing?

I’m Iranian but I was born in France and grew up in Paris. I’m a fashion journalist, working for French television and papers. I’m also a trend consultant in fashion and beauty with Persiennes Consulting, which is a trend forecasting agency and communication agency working for fashion, beauty and luxury brands like L’OREAL or LVMH who would like to understand the trends on the Iranian market.

What’s the mission of Les Persiennes?

Persiennes is a webzine between Paris and Tehran deciphering the culture, trends and aesthetics of Iran.
The mission is to present the “real Iran”, not the one media used to present. When I launched Persiennes two years ago, Iran wasn’t really on the radar. Now, we want to bring Iran’s culture to Europe and inspire people – always with a strong focus on aesthetics. That’s Persiennes.

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How do politics affect fashion in Iran and vice versa?

Since 2012 and the election of President Rohani, we have to admit that there has been a real change. Especially in fashion and beauty, the markets that are expanding and receive support from the government. In a country with a population of 80 million and 55 percent of young people, it comes with no surprise that young Iranians are extremely creative and into fashion. Today, multiple new brands and creative studios are emerging particularly in Tehran, that helps to drive Iran’s “edgy” image.

You also write about terror and conflict occasionally. How hard is it to bridge the gap between entertainment and serious subjects?

Well, I always strive for balance. Persiennes is absolutely not a political webzine. And it will never be. But when you live in Paris and when terrorist attacks basically happen on your doorstep, you almost have to talk about it – but in a way that brings peace and hope. The same goes for when I portray Iranians suffering with Parisians during of after the attacks, I always want to show the very best of humanity.

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If there’s such thing as a Parisian or Tehran style – what would it look like?

The Paris look is effortless, and Tehran is something between tradition and modernist.
But really, a mix of both is the perfect style to me.

How would you describe your personal style? What shaped it?

Haha, that’s very hard, I would say it’s minimalistic.

What inspires you?

Gardens, Persian poetry, travels, colors and fashion photographers like Helmut Newton or Juergen Teller.

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What fascinates you most about Iran from a travel point of view and why?

I love the diversity between all the landscapes. In Iran, you have the mountains, sea and cities all in a one beautiful country. Iran is a thousand countries in one, from Ispahan to Tehran, it’s a bridge between imagination and reality, poetry and aesthetics.

What’s the one thing people don’t know about or don’t expect from Iran?

Young people are extremely brave and so funny! The Iranian sense of humour really is one of a kind.

I really enjoyed learning more about Les Persiennes from Nilufar Khalessiand and definitely encourage you to check out. Are you a fan of this or similar publications? Let us know in the comments below.

All images via Les Persiennes