The sea has always had an outsized presence in Fanny Moizant’s life.
Growing up in the idyllic seaside town of Marseillan in the south of France (which The Guardian once likened to ‘St Tropez before Brigitte Bardot’), she would, on her way home, pause briefly at the innermost end of the port, at Place Noilly, to gaze out past the boats lined up perfectly, towards the Bassin de Thau lagoon and the sandbar separating it from the Mediterranean Sea beyond.
That same view has followed her halfway around the world to Hong Kong in the form of a “naïve portrait” of her hometown that she once picked up at a market stall, yet it now finds itself competing for Fanny’s attention with the breathtaking coastal vista of the South China Sea from her current abode high above Repulse Bay, in the concave architectural wonder that is The Lily.
“When we first arrived in Hong Kong, we were having a hard time choosing between the city or the Southside,” Fanny recounts. “But when we arrived here and saw the view, we made our minds. It’s amazing.”
The morning of our visit is dry, balmy and positively Mediterranean, and the Frenchwoman seems immersed in her element, padding around the 2,600sqft apartment in tousled hair and a Breton striped shirt, which had been effortlessly tucked into form-fitting black jeans.
When we arrived here and saw the view, we made our minds. It’s amazing.
Her reputation precedes her: as co-founder and public face of her nine-year-old luxury consignment e-commerce website, Vestiaire Collective (which, with US$130 million in total funding, is one of the most-funded resale startups in existence), Fanny oversees its 7 million-strong online community spread across 47 countries, and heads offices in Paris, London, Berlin, Milan, New York and, with her most recent move, Hong Kong, as part of a push into Greater China.
As a symbol of the company’s commitment to the Chinese market, Fanny went so far as to name her intensely curious and somewhat fearsome year-old British shorthair Baidu, after China’s largest web search engine.
With so much on her plate, Fanny’s home is her designated oasis for family time. “Because we’re quite busy and I travel a lot with my husband, we tend to spend more time with the girls when we’re back,” she says. Cooking helps her relax, which is why Fanny normally spends Sundays whipping up a healthy feast for daughters Jeanne, 11, and Louise, 12.
Her other passion for art is expressed in her collection hung (or nonchalantly propped up on stacks of old Vogue issues) throughout the apartment. There’s the calligraphic ‘Outrenoire’ (or ‘beyond black’) compositions of her favourite French artist, Pierre Soulages; whimsical paintings of Shanghainese barbers and foot massage parlours by her friend, the artist André Cervera; a framed photo taken by Chinese-Australian star blogger Margaret Zhang; and an eye-catching, peppermint green print of British punk rock band The Clash’s seminal 1980 album, London Calling – a birthday gift from her husband from when they lived in the English capital’s Camden neighbourhood.
The rules I apply to my wardrobe are the same I apply to my house.
These intermingle with reminders of Fanny’s French roots. Beside the front door, a sizeable vintage chest of drawers from the south of France, once used in a barber shop to store the effects of regular clients, is used today to hide miscellaneous objects; while a metallic canister in an opposite corner of the living room reveals itself to be a spent artillery shell from the First World War, featuring an engraving by her husband’s grandfather commemorating the battle that he witnessed: Verdun, 1916.
True to Fanny’s friendly yet straightforward demeanour, her home is simultaneously functional and beautiful. “In fashion, I love mixing more designer pieces with vintage ones, finding the right balance,” she says. “The rules I apply to my wardrobe are the same I apply to my house: it needs to be simple but also convenient to live in. I would hate to live in a museum where you can’t touch anything, especially when I have little kids and a wild cat!”
Fanny moves on to explain the presence of three ancient wooden rods bearing a series of shallow circular carvings, resting in a clear glass jar near her kitchen – tools that the fishermen of her hometown’s lagoon would glue mussels to decades ago, before plunging them into the sea bed to allow the shellfish to grow.
They have followed Fanny’s many moves across the globe, now finding use as metaphorical support beams with which to ground her family in foreign soil – in time, it seems, they’ll find their way from this sea to another altogether more familiar body of water, somewhere under the balmy Mediterranean sun.
This story was originally published in our October 2018 issue as ‘Beyond the Horizon.’ Get acquainted with Hong Kong’s best designers in Designer Profiles, and grab a copy of our 38th Anniversary October issue, on newsstands now.
Photography: Hoshing Mok
Art direction: May Lau