Perhaps some of my most cherished memories from my recent trip to Paris are my daily rousings from bed.
As the rich notes of jazz singer Abbey Lincoln’s voice would enter my room, I could hear the pitter and patter of my roommate in the living room. Michelle Elie, the Haitian jewelry designer/mother of 3/newly-minted style star, met the day with a real urgency—unlike any I had ever known—and no matter the time zone, she was up at 5 or 6 am to give thanks, check on her family back in Köln, Germany, and adorn herself in some of the most inspired, whimsical pieces I had ever laid my eyes on. I would stumble out of my room of the pied-a-terre we shared in the 17th and be met by her positive force, outfitted in jawdropping numbers from Comme and Rodarte. She always called me “darling”, deftly snuck me into the Yohji Yamamato show, ended each night with a fresh batch of ‘girl talk’ with me (no matter the hour) , and encouraged me to never revel in the negativity.
Michelle and I had met many months before at our mutual friend, Shala’s dinner party, wherein the stunner had whipped up a meal of Haitian delicacies for a group of twenty or so.
With an apron tied tightly around her waist and Prada clobbers fastened to her heels, Elie had commandeered that kitchen, and swayed in and out the night’s conversations with a real elegance. I was totally charmed by the chef/glamazon, but knew that her work in the kitchen was only one of her many talents. Shala had often worn the bold jewelry and accessories that made up Michelle’s fledgling jewelry line, PRIM: with “cock rings” and metal-molded rabbit bags apart of her repertoire, I figured she had to be made of a humorous and sharp mind.
All said assumptions were affirmed when my LURVE editor approached me to interview Michelle soon thereafter for the magazine’s 7th issue. I was more than pleased to do the honors, and with several email exchanges and one absorbing call later, I had the below interview and an open invite to Paris.
Naturally, I accepted.
**Read after the jump for excerpts from our revealing LURVE interview.**