by flaunt

“It’s the first year of my life where I haven’t gone through a winter,” she says cheerfully. “I’ve never been so happy!”

A beautifully tailored item of clothing will mask countless movements of assembly, yards of fabric, decades of skill and craft. Mahaut Mondino, a Paris-raised, L.A.-based musical phenomenon masks a similar amount of activity. Mondino has agreed to meet here for a walk through the Reigning Men exhibit—a tribute to the history of men’s fashion from 1715 to present day—at LACMA.

As Mondino moves through the hall of stiff, white mannequins, she relates some of her story: drawn to electronic music from an early age, she began writing songs using her voice and her laptop. Her father, a film director, and fashion photographer asked if he could use one of her tracks in a commercial. The song got the attention of managers and touched off a successful music career that brought her here to Los Angeles, almost a year ago. “It’s the first year of my life where I haven’t gone through a winter,” she says cheerfully. “I’ve never been so happy!”

Mondino stops to examine a French nobleman’s suit from the 1700s. She points out the details in the suit and what particularly excites her about the patterns: “Everything here has a meaning.” When asked about the music video supporting her killer “Summertime” single, and the intention behind dressing herself and a team of young women in cheerleading outfits, she nods and smiles. “Visually, I imagined a video with people, a collective, something cheerful. And then thought… a cheerleading squad!’

“Cheerleaders do not exist in France,” she continues, as she carefully examines a centuries-old suit coat. “When I first watched Bring It On (2000), I was obsessed with it! I knew all the songs. I lived in France, but I always fantasized about what America was like. I dreamed of having a locker!” She laughs lightly at the memory, as though achieving childhood dreams and assembling cheerleading squads were the most natural and effortless things in the world.

Photographer: Emman Montalvan for Tack Artist Group.

Stylist: Lwany Smith for Jed Root.

Hair: Whitney Schield.

Makeup: Miho Suzuki for Opus Beauty using Hourglass Cosmetics.

Photographer Assistant: Ryan Kevin.

Written by Sean U'ren