In Focus | Caroline Gayral
Caroline Gayral left her life as a lawyer to explore the world and follow her passion. On a trip to her beloved Morocco, something clicked and she decided to turn her love for the country to fuel a new vocation. Today Caroline is known as the ‘carpet hunter’ and runs Fragments, sourcing beautiful rugs and objects for the style-set in Paris and beyond. Her beautiful apartment is full of whimsy - housing all the sentimental items she holds the dearest.
In another life, I was a lawyer. I loved this job. I wanted to do journalism school but I started at law school. In the absence of being a journalist, I specialised myself in media and copyright. When I had my daughter and during an umpteenth trip to Morocco, I stopped in front of one of Azilal’s carpet. I began to dream: what if I invent my own job? An activity fueled by my passion (I have always loved the Moroccan culture, the art of living, the light of this country that I have known since I was 19), a certain freedom by being my own boss and evolving in the universe of decoration, a field that I have enjoyed for a long time. It's now been four years I have worked on this project, two years since I created Fragments and 18 months since I opened my showroom in the 7th neighbourhood in Paris.
On changing career
I took advantage of the opportunity to take parental leave. It's a real comfort. Obviously, there was a risk to take but I also considered it as a chance to seize. I didn’t take an enormous risk, I started from home, with a small stock of carpets. I was lucky: the press immediately followed me. I also organised myself to be able to regularly go to Morocco to find different carpets. My husband and especially my mum were keys to the success of Fragments. It's important to trust oneself even if it’s not obvious every day!
My daily working life
I go to see customers, I have appointments in the showroom and every two months I go to Morocco for 10 days. I go to the ateliers for the follow-up of tailor-made carpet orders, I source extensively and I look for inspiration.
I visited the apartment when my daughter was only ten days old, more than five years ago. We moved in after seven months of work. We completely redesigned the organisation of the rooms but the apartment was exactly what we were looking for: in the heart of the 9th neighbourhood, a beautiful view of a courtyard and a magnificent mansion, calm... while being in the heart of Paris.
When I left the 6th neighbourhood I thought it won’t be better anywhere else and yet I actually prefer the 9th neighbourhood. It's a neighbourhood that resembles me and it’s also nice to live: there is a lot of small shops, bookstores, florists, good restaurants. And I’m next to Drouot, which used to be my dream!
My interior style
Very eclectic. But there is one important element for me – I must have a connection with the object: I am sentimental. So most of the things we have are related to a trip, a souvenir, to someone close to me. I still have a weakness for the modern 1950s objects but I also love the Wabi Sabi or 'cabinet of curiosity' elements. It’s so difficult to choose a particular style! One constant though: I like apartments full of objects. Minimalism is really not for me. I even have a weakness for kitch (my husband does not share this passion with me!), I like not taking things too seriously.
Favourite part of the day
Breakfast with my family.
My fashion style
Definitely 1970's style! I find the outfits of this time elegant, feminine, not too sophisticated and then there is something sentimental for me: it makes me think of my mother. Despite that, I’m not really constant in fashion and I love to change: one day with Roseanna’s prints and the next day APC sobriety. When I was 17 years old I thought I was looking for my own style, but being 40 years old, it’s always the case: I just love the variations!
I love being surrounded by colours. I could not live in a black and white apartment for example. At home we chose warm tones, pink curtains to warm the atmosphere of rooms.
Living in Paris
I am very Parisian and definitely urban: I could also live in London, Milan or Los Angeles. Even my country house is in a city!
On my walls
Photos of Masao Yamomoto, Le Promenheur artist who paints street scenes on cardboards, Pierre Boncompain and many family paintings. And then I go to Drouot, right next to my daughter’s school. Often several times a week. I bought a lot of things like lithos of André Brasilier or old mirrors.
A colour photograph of Jaques-Henri Lartigue or a collage of Matisse.
On my bookshelves
Novels, photos, my engagement souvenir from Tangier, handbags, candles, objects, opium pipes, boxes… it’s a big mess!
On my coffee table
A bouquet of flowers and a burning candle.
The thing that makes an interior
The paintings and carpets, two very decorative elements that bring character and soul.
By reading Milk magazine, passing time at galleries like Émilie Bonaventure’s gallery, or exhibitions. But also by watching movies, recently Planetarium with its very inspiring Art Deco world and the excellent series The Knick by Steven Soderbergh, my favorite since Mad Men. I would have liked to be a deco director.