CLEO LE-TAN is wearing the Polly No. 001. She is the owner of Pillow-Cat Books living in New York City.
Who are your heroes or heroines in history?
What should we be reading?
Still Missing. It’s Gio Castranova’s collection of lost (and found!) animal posters gathered over the years. There isn’t a tremendous amount to read, but it’s very beautiful and moving. It’s been a current favourite at my bookshop for a few months now.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Beg my family to let me sleep in and repeat to them “but I’m not a morning person…..”
What is the last thing you do at night?
Brush my teeth.
The best arthouse film?
My friend Bill Strobeck’s new skate video “Play Dead”, which can be watched by people who know nothing about skateboarding…
What is your favorite animal?
Specifically my cat Pillow-Cat! But in general, giraffes and elephants.
What do you collect?
Hmmm where to begin.
First, animal books for my animal themed bookshop
The peanuts / snoopy section at the shop is also quite impressive, and I won’t go into details about my personal peanuts collection because it kind of verges on hoarding… and is strange for an adult.
I collect a lot of things, and when I do, I get a bit obsessive and sometimes go overboard.
It initially started with a very extensive Sanrio collection when I was a child / teenager. The collecting / organizing / displaying was extremely elaborate. I even wrote an essay about it and won a trip to Japan in a competition thanks to it. When I got there, a friend of my sister’s organized a visit to the Sanrio headquarters and I met the Hello Kitty designer. I was completely star struck. She made me a drawing for my collection. It’s still one of my most prized possessions.
What stands the test of time?
What takes you to cloud 9?
Getting a bit repetitive here, but finding a very rare book I’ve been looking for for a while…?
Where would you find your doppelgänger?
Nowhere I hope!
Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
My daughter’s very high-pitched voice and my son loudly asking for snacks ALL. DAY. LONG!
What is good design?
Something that lasts forever.
Where do you find good design?
Italy and Japan, depending on what you’re looking for!
What are you wearing?
Your beautiful cardigan! Some Richardson cords I own in 3 bright colours. Good Squish hair accessories.
What does your house smell like?
Christmas tree right now, and I LOVE it!
What does your house sound like?
Tiny children footsteps running and Elvis.
What is a rule that should never be broken?
No smoking in bars / clubs. I don’t go out anymore at all but if I ever do, there’s nothing worse than that smell of cigs in your hair when you come home late!
What is a rule that should always be broken?
All the other ones!
What is your favorite word in any language?
What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Not much, I’m old school…
What is your favorite candy?
I like A LOT of candy. But my favourite is French sour stuff with sugar on it (bandos, frites, coca etc) and for chocolate I like English (Cadbury’s) even though I know you didn’t ask!
What thoughts currently occupy you?
Constantly thinking about what I need to order for my shop / do to it / tidy it / make it look better etc.
What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
“Ecrire” by Marguerite Duras.
What do you still wish to learn?
How to write better and faster and more. Oh and to drive! Asap!
What is still a mystery?
Why I still can’t drive…
What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Everything that comes out of tiny kids’ mouths. No filter, so funny.
What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Also things kids say, especially when I’ve no clue what they mean!
Where is happiness found?
Wish I knew!
What do you find humorous?
My dad’s pranks.
What is your favorite slogan?
Jamais deux sans trois!
What is modern?
I hate modernity,
What do you want to trade?
What do you want to find?
Books I don’t know of yet.
What is a distraction?
My phone unfortunately.
What should we listen to?
What was your last download?
I don’t really know how to download anymore… only from Netflix, and that’s too embarrassing to reveal!
What is the best cult classic?
My neighbor Totoro.