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Discussion with Suzanne Koller Creative director / Stylist

Paris, France. Words - Yoann Wenger Images - Suzanne Koller

Hello Suzanne, how are you today, where are you writing to us from ?  

I am writing to you from Paris. Strange times, but I try to stay as positive as possible ! No choice, we have to move on anyhow. Running does help me a lot to relativise in these times.

As we are starting our second lockdown here in France, can you tell us a bit about your morning routine, it looks like you’re sticking to a daily run these days ? 

I still stick to my daily routine ! I am totally (and I admit it) addicted to my #morningrun.  Actually to go and run in the morning is a real escape and one of the little escapes I have during this lockdown.

The Parcs stay open this time, so it is a real pleasure to go run everyday. I do go run by any weather, hot (then I go run early before the sun goes up) cold, rain, even snow (I did go run once in New York, with a totally icy sideway, which was ridiculous and dangerous but I managed somehow). So weather is not really an issue for me.

Let’s go back in time for our readers who are not familiar with your career. You co-founded Self Service Magazine 1994 and from that you started a brilliant (to say the least) career in creative direction and image making working with some of the best photographers of our era. You’ve been the head of fashion at French VOGUE for 3 years and now fashion director at M le Monde, this among lots of other projects in the fashion industry, including your own collaboration with A.P.C. last year..
The question is ...When did running first show up in your life ? 

I started to run about 8 years ago. As I was travelling a lot, I needed an activity that I could practice anywhere, anytime, by any kind of weather. After a while I did realize that it was not only satisfied by the running, but it became kind of a meditation. I really enjoy running in the early morning, in nature, around a lake or by the seaside. You feel the city waking up and you have the feeling that you own the world ! It is one of the rare moments of the day when my mind is totally free …

I’ve read you always pick hotels near parks when you travel. It looks like you’re committed to your training, are you serious with your training frequency ? 

The first thing I do when I plan a trip is to find the right hotel in an area with a park nearby! When I travel a lot from one city to another, just in and out, it gives me the possibility to be somehow part of the place I am travelling to, and to see the city waking up.  I love these moments. And, yes, I am very serious with my training frequency and my goal is to run 7/7. The only reason I would not to run is: an early plane to catch or an early appointment, which wouldn’t leave me enough time to run for 45 min! People always ask me if I still go running every day because they see my daily post of my « morning runs » , some are suspicious that I take pictures in advance and post them every day…

Let’s talk about products, do you prefer to go with cotton/jersey tops sort of low key outfit or do you take the gear seriously and pick technical garments for your runs ? 

I do love to look into the specific technical garments, It is part of my job to be curious. I love the aspect of the functionality of a garment, but also love performance and beauty. I discovered a couple of years ago the special éditions by Nike/GYAKUSOU /Undercover designed by Jun Takahashi, who is himself a passionate runner, and I think he married well beauty and functionality. But I think there is still a lot to do in the running section! My dream would be to do a special running collaboration with Nike.

What about shoes, did you start with advice early on about how to pick the right one for you ? 

Good question, When I started running I didn’t even know that there is advice to pick for the right pair of shoes…I just bought a pair of Nike in the « Running » departement… I didn’t even know that you have to take one size bigger if you run. 

What shoes are you running with now ?

A pair of AIR ZOOM TEMPO NEXT which I bought at Distance last summer!-)

Your typical running route here in Paris ? 

I live next to the Luxembourg garden, left bank.  Once it opens, I run inside the park, 2-3 rounds depending on the time I have. There is also a beautiful running route, on the quai de Seine, but I never managed to run there ! 

Same as the above but elsewhere, a  memory of the most scenic running session you had in the world ? 

For me, running in beautiful scenic places leaves me an incredible memory of each trip. I guess That is the reason why I need to find beautiful hotels and spots nearby, wherever I travel.

NEW YORK : Because of the jetlag I usually go run at 5am in Central park around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The skyline is just breathtaking, and it is quite impressive how many people are already running there early  in the morning! It is like a highway!

 

LONDON : I start entering the Parc at the Hyde Park corner and run until the Serpentine gallery, on my way back I run by the Serpentine Lido where people go swim any time of  the year in the lake !

VENISE : I go run at the fondamenta Zitelle, the street along the island opposite of the Piazza San Marco, 

VIENNE : I run in the gardens of the Schloss Schönbrunn up to the Gloriette with a breathtaking view of Vienna early morning before the park even opens because  my relatives live inside the park near the castle.

ALTAUSEE AUSTRIAS

ILE DE RE : I absolutely love to run early morning at the beach at Les Portes from the plage du Lizay/petit bec through la Conche des Baleines.

Any competition/race in mind for 2021 ? Is it something that attracts you or you rather prefer running on your own and keep it as your personal mindfulness activity.

I am not very competitive when it comes to sports. I would never consider to run for a race or a competition. It is really a moment for myself. It is a moment in nature and quietness. I absolutely avoid running in places where there are too many people. It is a totally mindfulness activity for me, close to something like meditation.