THE ZEN MASTER
Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones
Juliette Binoche is not the typical celebrity actor. So it stands to reason that her stylist, Pascale Grise, is not the typical celebrity stylist.
Not that she emerged out of nowhere. The former ballerina was a fixture on the Montreal fashion scene, first as a makeup artist, then as a stylist. (A hip injury derailed her dance ambitions.) She moved to New York in 1998 to further her career.
Until late November, she tended to focus on ad campaigns or magazine editorial.
Brushes with fame had been limited to the occasional celebrity shoot, and to when she styled the stars who fellow Canadian and pop star Bryan Adams photographed for a book benefiting breast cancer research.
Then Miramax phoned Loox, her New York agency (Grise relocated there in 1998), for a stylist who’d be a good fit for Binoche’s personality. Being fluent in French would be a bonus, said the caller. Grise would be needed for less than a week during the first promotional junket for “Chocolat.”
Four days turned into two weeks. There would be the “Chocolat” premiere in Los Angeles, and a couple of magazine shoots. Then Binoche appeared on Letterman, and met with President Clinton. (She’s starring on Broadway in “Betrayal,” which makes it easier to accept invitations stateside.)
“When we started the ‘project’,” said Grise, as she refers to her assignments, “we wanted to bring out the personality of Juliette and the essence of the film. Prada’s fall collection was perfect with the retro feel, the silhouettes…all the chocolaty and red colors. We worked with Gaultier for evening. Then came the announcement.”
When the Hollywood Foreign Press nominated Binoche as Best Actress in the motion picture comedy category, Grise decided to go American.
“I thought Richard Tyler would be really fantastic for her,” she said. “He’s a man who really appreciates women, women’s bodies and women’s personalities.”
Actor, stylist and designer collaborated on the iridescent peacock blue-green velvet gown Binoche wore yesterday. Italian Guido Bruno designed the dyed-to-match satin slingbacks; jewelry designer Stephen Russell created the striking platinum and aquamarine pendant.
“My job is to really capture the essence of the person. It’s not to throw some fabulous fashion on her because it’s the trend. She should look beautiful and bring a little mystere to the event. The idea is not to make her into this fancy doll. I try to ask the client ‘who are you? What do you like?’ Then I really observe the person and listen.”
It’s a sort of zen approach to a job too often marked by drama and extremes.
“At one point I thought I had to be in that frenzy, but if you’re not happy at the end of the day, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t want to compromise who I am — it’s part of what I bring to my styling,” observed Grise, who married French fashion photographer Alban Christ last September on a panoramic mountain top in Santa Fe.
“The more satisfied and grounded I am in my own life, the better a stylist I can be. You have to stay focused and take it with a little laugh. If you don’t find the perfect shoe, well, it happens.”