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French style in home-grown tastes for fashion

JEAN-FRAN?OIS Met is from a famous fashion family. His uncle Ted Lapdius was once a highly influential designer whose unisex style ruled the 1960s' fashion world. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Lapdus had "democratized French elegance and classicism" by making mass fashion available to ordinary men and women. Met's mom Rose Torrente-Mett is the founder of Torrente, a French haute couture and ready-to-wear label. Met's genetic inheritance from his mom and uncle was a taste for fine fashion and he managed Torrente brand from 1999 to 2003. After having sold the brand on behalf of the family, he has been living in Shanghai since 2005. He's been involved in the fashion and cosmetics industry in China.

Cécile Devillers is managing partner of the design agency centdegrés Shanghai. A branch of the French centdegrés design group, the agency works with Chinese groups on their development strategy and helps them to create beautiful brands, for both local and international markets.

My personal style is casual chic, sometimes simple, and pastel tone looks good on me.

The best outfit I have ever worn was a very formal suit and black tie in a high fashion show 10 years ago in Tozeur, an oasis in the middle of the dunes in southwest Tunisia.
I do not really follow fashion trends. I like to be myself.

I usually buy through a professional shopper, my sister, who is a very good guide. Anyway, I'm lucky to be involved in the fashion world and work with many brands.

If I have to limit my Shanghai shopping to one neighborhood, it's Changle Road for clothing and accessories. Big shopping malls in Shanghai offer the same brands that I can easily purchase in Paris, New York and Hong Kong. So, I love to go walking on Changle Road during weekends in search of simple T-shirts and funny pieces from the small boutiques which you don't see in other cities.

My favorite fashion brands are Smalto and Prada.

The designer I most admire is my mom, Rose Torrente-Mett. She is a famous grand couturier and founder of the legendary French house, Torrente Haute Couture. Established in 1969, the essence of Torrente's style is represented by its longstanding reputation in Paris as one of the finest couture houses. Her couture and ready-to-wear lines are made from the most exquisite, luxurious and individual fabrics in the world. And her style was so new when it was introduced that it attracted sophisticated and demanding clients.

My signature perfume is Pour un homme de Caron.

The best gift I got was a chair created by famous artist Shao Fen from my brother-in-law Sylvain Levy.

My most memorable destination has to be Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province when, in 1999, I arranged my mom's Torrente fashion show in Ningbo Olympic stadium. It was a completely different world a decade ago with almost no foreigners.

Another city where I would love to live is Barcelona. It's a buzzing city with easy access to sea and mountains and with a vibrant mix of old and new.

The best thing about living in Shanghai is that it's a place where you have the biggest freedom of dress code. You can meet very dressed up and chic people and also encounter people who don't care about fashion.

My personal style is Parisian chic with a touch of rock 'n roll attitude. I love the little details that reveal freedom and confidence.

The best outfit I have ever worn is my latest buy mixed with my longtime favorite pieces.

I usually shop everywhere. I am a shopaholic, from street shops and flea markets in Paris, London and New York, for items from exquisite vintage accessories and outfits, to auctions for watches and, of course, designer brands.

If I have to limit myself to one Shanghai neighborhood, it's Fuxing Road. It seems endless and takes you to very different areas of the city. I love to walk from home to the agency, 45 minutes along the road.

My favorite brand is Azzedine Alaia – the cut and materials are gorgeous. I love Han Feng in Shanghai, her design is very poetic.

The designer I most admire, apart from those at centdegrés Shanghai, is Peggy Huyn Kinh. She has an incredible sense of timeless elegance and modernity. She designs beautiful jewelry, great handbags and outfits to die for.

My last wardrobe addition was a pair of Barbara Bui trousers. Barbara has an inimitable talent for combining elegance and rock 'n roll. Her shoes are very sexy and trousers the best cut ever.

I collect men's watches. I love Rolex and Tag Heuer. Since I am in China, I have discovered Shanghai Watch and Seagull, two iconic Chinese watchmakers. I also collect shoes, from all Western designers to this wonderful new Chinese brand Sheme which offers bespoke service and unique quality and design.

The restaurants that impress me are Franck Brasserie and Mr and Mrs Bund for their consistency. As soon as I set foot in Paris, I go to la Ferronerie, Rue de La Chaise, for the wonderful home made food and atmosphere.

My most memorable destination is a desert island that belongs to my dear friend Robert Wan, two hours flight away from Tahiti. Five days with no phone, internet, TV or newspaper, no shop, just my family and the servants. You really focus on the essentials.

The best thing about living in Shanghai: It is never the same day!

The last book I read was the Honoré de Balzac biography by Stephen Sweig.

Another city where I would love to live is my hometown, Paris. It is so beautiful that I never get bored of it and forgive all its (many) inconveniences.


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