Julia Pound is many things. Intrepid traveller. Francophile. Colourphile. Her Melbourne Gertrude St clothing and accessories shop Dagmar Rousset is a collection of things she has picked up along the way. It feels like a good old sixties trip combined with the minimalist Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. Come night, the space becomes a French class. Just in case it wasn’t whimsical enough.
In spite of a packed schedule and a new season’s stock coming in, Julia gave The Daily Spread a few minutes of her time.
The Daily Spread: Your shop combines simplicity with minimal design. How do you decide what you can and cannot have as part of your product repertoire?
Julia: I only buy what I love and am absolutely ruthless about what I stock. In the early days, I would be a bit more wishy-washy and think to myself: Oh well, I don’t like it that much, but someone else might. This was a big mistake. You can’t sell something you don’t believe in. The labels we sell at Dagmar have to be the kind that keep you awake at night in anticipation of their arrival. I am seriously besotted with what will be arriving in the next few months. I make sure that I only choose from the heart.
When did Dagmar Rousset start?
Dagmar Rousset has had a few lives. The two previous ones are too embarrassing to mention, but unfortunately some people still remember them. Its current incarnation was born in December 2010. Even though it’s only been two and a half years, I feel like I have been doing this forever. I certainly have no idea what would become of me if I were ever to stop. I would probably just watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, self diagnose on WebMD and play with my dog all day.
How on Earth do you know French?
I threw myself into learning French with the kind of gusto that sickened my friends throughout school and university. Although my plan was always to become a musician, after a couple of years doing a BMus, I realised that I had absolutely no aptitude for music and that I retained far more of my dignity when I spoke French than when I played the piano. After finishing my arts degree, I lived in France for four years where I taught English to high school kids and completed a Masters in Translation.
Who drives you to greater things?
I am inspired by so many people – Sufjan Stevens, Yayoi Kusama, Jennifer Egan, Tauba Auerbach, Jonathan Franzen…They alter your relationship to the world in a way that cannot ever be undone. This is something that I am always seeking in my life. I get bored easily.
If you had a cocktail named after you, what would be in it?
Hm… [hesitates] probably whisky, melted dark chocolate and then some cabbage juice in a vain attempt to balance out the unhealthiness of the first two. Oh, and one of those miniature floating plastic babies.