By Denise Ubbriaco
Interview to Helene Blignaut
Helene Blignaut: Anthropologist, author of eassays, expert on fashion and communication
An extraordinary intellectual charme, an overwhelming sense of humour and a great humbleness as precious peculiarities. Genious, social, iper-active, always on travel, immersed in several activities. I was litterally charmed, enraptured by her unbelievable magnetism.
“I am South African, she says, though living in Italy since a longtime. This way to interact with different culture open one’s mind and perhaps one has in this way some chance more. Speaking different languages pushes you towards alternative solutions even in the ordinary life. The brother of my grandfather was a great writer, so in writing I take advantage by my roots, it is an involuntary talent. It doesn’t depend on me. I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen. I have always been working in communication and maybe everything happened when a long time ago I met that genious of fashion who was Nicola Trussardi. I owe a lot to him and to a formidable stakeholder of the fashion system such as Sir Mario Boselli.”
How to define your personality? Values and faults.
“I strongly believe in dignity, the first value for a human being. On Earth i think that each one has the right to a roof and bread everyday. Each one. That’s dignity. Evil in life is those men that with their behaviour deprive people of such a dignity. So, I adhere to the UNHCR trying to do my little something for the refugee. A journalist has the duty to make people aware and it is for that I am fond of that extraordinary italian journalist, Diego Bianchi, who is always ready to catch the core of the worse situations though smiling. A sarcastic smiling… Maybe I am like that: serious, rigorous yet always ready to laugh. My fault? A fundamental laziness in despite of my iper-activity. Should like to seat under a palm tree on the Ocean… but, maybe after 5 minutes I would be chatting and laughing and creating projects with the fishermen. A laugh will save the world, but so far I like to travel and I went everywhere in the world. My favourite country is South Africa, of course, and Japan. My Japan. Kyoto is the most amazing town that one could imagine. I had a lover right there. Better go on, fire the next question.”
“Minimum standard perfection. What else?”
Please, tell me something more about Japan and South Africa.
“Japanese are the most intelligent people of the world. Maybe because the Omega 3 in the fish they eat… And in South Africa the best place to be is KwaZulu Natal the region on the Indian Ocean with a grand nature, fanstastic traditions mixed with modernism. Fashion in Durban is keeping on growing more and more. The local young designers are very clever and able to mix international style with their local culture. The DFF Durban Fashion Fair supported by the Municipality and managed by Sindi Shangase, a visionary lady who strongly believe in the young talents, is actually something which deserves to go through the international markets.”
Tell me some names of designers.
“Oh… a lot… many. Everybody, believe me.”
And international designers?
“Antonio Marras, Gian Battista Valli, Marc Jacobs, Christophe Lemaire. Watanabe, Yamamoto.”
“They have a brain. Fashion is mean of communication, heart and brain. For example you, Denise, are very good journalist ’cause you put your heart and brain in what you do.”
I was not fishing for compliments. But you deserves it. Then, allow me. A private question and in this way you will not like me anymore.
Love? Today on the side of love, what do you say… Are you in love?
“Always. I love all the weak creatures in Earth. Humans and animals.”
An Italian one?
Thank you very much for having given me this interview.