Tack room chat: sitting down with the Miasuki ambassadors to talk ponies and girl power.
Text Susanne Madsen Photography Miasuki
Modelling – and fashion in general – owe a big thank you to the equestrian world. Nothing will make a girl more keen to put in the hours in front of the camera than the thought of those pay checks funding her horses and competitions. (Shout-out to Edie Campbell, who once posted a picture of her shiny new horsebox with a caption thanking everyone who ever booked her for jobs.)
Young showjumpers Flore Giraud and Iman Perez, who train with Penelope Leprovost and Virginie Coupérie-Eiffel, respectively, are among the new generation of riders moonlighting as models. (If you’ve picked up the September issue of British Vogue, you will likely have spotted Perez, who has also worked with the likes of Peter Lindbergh and Jean Paul Gaultier.) As ambassadors and faces for hyper-luxe equestrian brand Miasuki alongside fellow Frenchwoman Mathilde Pinault, Giraud and Perez have become close friends, supporting each other in their riding ambitions. They reflect what Miasuki is all about: empowering women in and out of the saddle, and lifting each other up.
We caught up with Iman Perez and Flore Giraud to talk ponies, friendship and feminism. Their third Miasuki squad member Mathilde Pinault couldn’t make it due to horsey commitments, but, as the rather fabulous Raymonde Pouzieux, who has made Chanel’s braiding on an antique loom on her Loiret horse farm since 1947 notes in the Signé Chanel documentary: “Hay before Chanel.” Or in this case, Miasuki.
Stay tuned for the new Miasuki collection, launching during Milan Fashion Week.
How long have you known each other?
Flore: It’s funny how we met. [Iman] came to have lunch at my home.
Iman: And I wasn’t supposed to be there.
Flore: And I didn’t know her. We spoke all throughout lunch.
Iman: We blocked out everyone that was at the table.
Flore: And we stayed all afternoon.
Iman: And I slept at her house.
Iman: And that day we went running and we stopped running and we talked the whole way and we just realised how much we had in common.
What’s it like being friends and also competing against each other?
Flore: We are friends but we can compete against each other. I’m happy for her when she gets a good result.
Iman: And same. You can’t win everyday, so you’re happy when you see your loved ones win as well.
How would you describe each other’s style of riding?
Flore: She’s very elegant at riding. Light in her action and everything. When she goes in the ring, she’s always very elegant but she always has the determination and the strength to win.
Iman: First of all I think she’s a very elegant rider. She really is one with her horses. She really goes with the movement of her horses and over the jumps you can see the complicity she has with her horses. And she has like this warrior mind where she actually will try to win and she will take the risks. That’s what makes her a great rider.
So Flore, you’ve gone for the amarone Miasuki jacket today and Iman, you’ve gone for black. Are those the colours you ride in?
Iman: I ride in this one. (points to Flore)
Flore: And I ride in black. (laughs)
Iman: The materials are perfect. So comfortable. The quality of the product, I could literally go to a gym and work out in this.
Iman: And the cut is perfect.
There are so many riders who are also models. What do you think riders bring to the modelling table?
Iman: I think it’s just the elegance of the sport. And because we’re a sport where it’s not like the muscle mass and you have to be very light on your horse and it’s just knowing how to work with your body. I also think what’s important in modelling nowadays and more so than it was in the nineties is the personality of the girls. And just being humble and being a hard worker and not complaining how many hours you’re working and not looking at the clock. And the only other world that does that is horse riding.
Flore: With horses, you can start at six o’clock and sometimes a show finishes at midnight.
Iman: You don’t complain about riding at five in morning to have your horse in the ring.
And you’re working with Miasuki. It’s really great how everything with Miasuki is so geared towards women and very women-positive.
Iman: Feminism! Power! It’s really cool.
I’m so glad you say feminism because sometimes you interview young people who say ‘oh, we don’t need feminism, we’ve come a long way’.
Iman: I think it’s important.
Flore: Yeah, it’s so important. Especially in sport, no?
Iman: Yeah, we’re in the only sport where men and women are equal, so I feel as a woman it’s important just to show other sports how, and show the males in our sport that we’re strong women and we’re here to stay.
Flore: And we have the same level as the men.
Iman: We’re here to prove that we’re equal to men.
Who are your female role models?
Iman: In riding, a real role model would be my coach, Virginie. Because she’s such a strong woman and she does so much. She’s a real businesswoman. It’s crazy, she does the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping, she’s working on other five-star shows and she’s able to do her commerce and horses, her horse breeding, coach me, manage me, she’ll find my sponsors. Everything that she’s able to do is really inspiring. And she’s such a good woman, a nice woman. She’s a mother to me. For me she’s the biggest role model.
Flore: And for me it’s my trainer. She’s amazing. When I see her work, she’s really dedicated. She’s amazing. She’s always looking to the fence, she’s always finding the best thing for the horse. She always rides the horses in a good way. She’s a real horsewoman. Even in this world, this high level, to be a woman is difficult.
What do you love about horses?
Flore: I love many things. First of all I like the relationship with the horse. I love the connection with them. I know for example with my good horse, [Uliska], she gives everything for me. When I show with her, I go in the ring and she gives everything. She’s amazing. I love competing in general. To show and to give everything. But what I prefer is really the relationship with the horse.
Iman: What I really like about horses and riding is that it’s a sport that makes you mature so fast because it’s all about having to build a relationship with an animal that you can’t communicate with as with any other thing. You have to communicate through movement and your energy. That’s something I love. I’m such a competitive person so just knowing the fact that you obviously can’t win every day in the horse riding world – it’s impossible – keeps you so humble. I think it’s so important to have this sport that keeps you grounded. And it’s the only thing that can keep you like this.
Flore: It helps you manage your stress, also for real life.
Iman: It helps you for everyday life. You can deal with feelings and deal with things you can only deal with through horses.
Flore: Rigour and everything in work.
What kind of feeling do you get from jumping?
Flore: I love the sensation. The power, the scope. Amazing. The feeling that the horse gives everything for you and gives everything to go for the jumps.
Iman: The adrenaline as well.
What are your next goals?
Flore: My goal is to start the four-stars. And even to do a five-star with my good mare.
Iman: This year is quite different because I have a lot of things that are changing. Now I can fully dedicate my time to horses and I have this new owner so just build my relationship with the owner and see where I can go. Have a good season with my new horses and just build a relationship with my new horses.