Farida Khelfa: France’s fashion muse.

  • Words Daphnée Denis
  • Photography Luc Braquet
  • Styling Giulia Querenghi

France’s fashion muse.

  • Words Daphnée Denis
  • Photography Luc Braquet
  • Styling Giulia Querenghi
  • Set Design Déborah Sadoun
  • Hair Styling Yumiko Hikage
  • Makeup Ludivine François
  • Styling Assistance Alice Heluin-Afchain

It was a split-second decision. She was out buying bread and bumped into a friend. Chatting and joking around outside her apartment building, they lost track of time. The next thing she knew, it was too late. Too late to get home unnoticed. Too late to avoid being told off by her parents. So she formed a plan, although you could hardly call it that, to leave everything behind—her family, her home and life as she’d known it in a housing project on the outskirts of Lyon.1 Bread in hand, she hitchhiked her way to a railroad station, hopped on a train and hid away from conductors until the last stop. Farida Khelfa was 16. She had just made it to Paris, and was never to return.

Sitting across from her at her office in the eighth arrondissement of Paris, one of the most upscale neighborho...

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