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Model Dominika Wycech on a balcony in Paris

Dominika Wycech 'We'll always have Paris'

What does it really mean to be a Parisienne? Some people will argue that you have to be born in Paris to be one. But deep down in your soul, there’s no logical explanation to feel like you belong somewhere: when you know, you know. Here & There met with model Dominika Wycech at Wild & the Moon, one of fashion’s industry top spots in town – to talk about all things Parisian and her experience living in the city of lights.

Dominika on the streets of Paris
Dominika in front of the metro sign - Paris

Before moving to Paris earlier last year, Dominika reflected on her journey. Born in Warsaw, Poland, she studied International relations which she thinks “is very similar to modelling in a way.” During her studies, her friends kept pushing her to model but she refused to do so. “Looking back, I found that pretty funny. I’m the kind of person that decides to do something 300% or not at all. So, when we all finished our studies and it was time to work full time they suddenly stopped pushing me, that’s’ when I wanted to try it.” She applied to a beauty contest in 2011 and became Miss Warsaw. The next year she landed a contract for her first Paris Fashion Week. After that, she travelled around Europe and Asia, but Paris always had a very special place in her heart as she kept coming back several times a year to walk the different runway shows.    


“Each time I was landing back in Warsaw, I was so sad. I counted the days until the next season of Paris Fashion Week. Now that I’m living in Paris it has changed though. I’m pretty happy to go back home to see my family and friends.”

Indeed, living in a city and visiting as a tourist, are two diametrically opposed experiences. That’s also when you know if you belong in a city or not.  “Besides all the issues we’ve had in Paris recently, this is where my heart belongs. I love Warsaw, this is where I grew up, where my roots are, but I really feel at home in Paris.” A year ago, it was time for Dominika to take the plunge and move to Paris. “I found a flat and I decided it was now or never.” More than being Polish and Parisian at the same time, she considers herself as European. “I had contracts in Asia, and I loved my time there but my soul definitely belongs to Paris. I always say that I’m Polish but Parisian.”   


Here & There asked Dominika what defines being Parisian. To her, “a Parisian style isn’t really specific to an outfit or what you wear every day. Sometimes I’m very chic, other days I’m more laid back, wearing black jeans, large sweaters and sneakers or boots. I think it’s mostly how you behave. The classy details in your attitude. Of course, you have to wear black, I see black everywhere here, and my wardrobe is mainly monochrome black. It’s so easy to add something black to an outfit, like a leather jacket or black boots with jeans.”

Model walking across the Arc de Triomphe looking at the camera
An abstract pose standing near the Arc de Triomphe

“Yves Saint Laurent is so Parisian to me, that’s what I see when I hear Parisian style. This will never change for sure. I also like to shop at Sandro mainly, and sometimes at The Kooples and All Saints.” 


But more than just style Dominika reveals that she’s already seeing differences between her Polish attitude towards life and her Parisian habits settling in. “It annoys me sometimes. People here don’t deal with problems right away, they brush them under the carpet and work on something else until the problems come back. Other than that, I don’t think I have specifically Parisian habits. I love going to the gym. Not because it’s cool now, I just want to stay healthy, it’s therapy to me. Maybe one other thing I do differently here, is that I eat very late in the evening. I don’t know why but I often eat out and my friends and I always get together for a drink during the week and end up eating late. I really like going out in Montmartre to small cafés and in St Germain. I never go there for work, so it’s nice to discover this area of Paris a little bit.”

“I also liked to sit down quietly at Notre Dame. Not because I’m a particularly religious person but because it was calm and it had a magical way of releasing the pressure of the world around me. Well… It used to, sadly I can’t go anymore. I like to take a moment and take in the beauty of all Paris’ monuments when I can, even the super touristy ones. The Eiffel Tower will forever be the queen of them all, but also the Arc de Triomphe. These monuments are known worldwide for a reason, so passing by every day I like to take a moment and enjoy the view.”


Indeed, most people see these monuments as part of their everyday life, so we too often forget about them and how special they are. According to Dominika, being Parisian is first and foremost a lifestyle, something that obviously reflects in your day to day life, how you behave, how you talk and how you dress.  It doesn’t matter where you’re born, what matters is where you truly belong.

Shirts designed by Token Monde

Words by Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle

Photos by Aleyah Solomon

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