By Allegra Colletti
TFS: Can we talk about your own personal style a bit?
EE: Oh god.
TFS: Well, come on, let’s face it…everyone wants to know what the stylist is wearing, and who your favorite designers are.
EE: I wear a lot of Margiela. I wear a lot of black, like most fashion people. But I guess I have kind of a uniform. I wear a lot of v-neck sweaters, and black cords and white sneakers. I wear Margiela, I wear Comme, I wear Yohji. Also, dark jeans, and outerwear from Prada, but that’s a very ‘work uniform’.
I think that because my job is to project an image onto other people, I never wanted to stand out that much. I know other stylists love to dress to the hilt, but I always wore black. The most quality pieces, but always the simplest. You have to be really comfortable because, you know, you don’t want to be tottering around on set in the ‘latest’.
And I wear a lot of suits out in the evening.
TFS: what kind of suits do you prefer? Margiela?
EE: Yeah…I mean, once you wear Margiela, you’re such a disciple! I don’t think I have a set style. If anything, my goal is to feel comfortable and pretty understated, I think.
TFS: Can you tell me if you have any favorites from the S/S ’09 collections?
EE: I can tell you which shows I think definitely had a point of view. Dries Van Noten just gets better and better! And his ideal woman gets more and more confident. I like the ease with which he moves his woman from the East to the West…to the North…to the South.
I love Marni. I think she really has a stamp on prints and colors.
And, of course, I love Balenciaga! Nicolas has such a futuristic vision. I mean, we NEED that point of view. It’s a VERY important point of view, and he’s never scared to show you the way to another dimension.
I LOVE Junya! Did you see those prints? Being someone of African descent… I mean, the garlands in the hair were simply beautiful!
Those are just some of my personal favourites. I could go on and on.
TFS: What about menswear? Was there anything that jumped out at you? Are you still doing a lot of menswear?
EE: Can you believe I used to do so much? I haven’t really done a lot of men’s editorials recently, but I’ve just started working on men’s Versace. It’s very nice to get back into the men’s arena. As far as the men’s shows, I was always such a Hedi Slimane fan, but now he’s gone. I used to wear a LOT of Hedi as well. I miss Hedi’s menswear, but I love what Miuccia had to say with menswear – it’s never too obvious. Her muse is a specific kind of man, and we need that point of view.
TFS: And what’s going on at Versace now?
EE: Donatella’s still the designer, Alexandre Plokhov is working there with her. I think Donatella’s aim is to make Versace less formal, less strict and more easy, more sporty and wearable. This means a lot of colour and very light pastel tones.
My conversation with Donatella was about how the collection has to relate to the man of today, not the unattainable man you see in a magazine. Alexandre’s great as well, so they’re a very good team.
TFS: Is there anyone you have your eye on? Any young—maybe even British—designers?
EE: I love Peter Pilotto. I love Erdem. London’s doing SO well with young designers now. Louise Goldin is another. I’m very passionate about London. I mean, I still live here. Goldin is also amazing.
Can we still call Richard Nichol new? Richard Nichol is incredible. Jonathan Saunders shows in New York now, and everyone in London really misses him. He brought something really magical to the table. And can I talk about Christopher Kane?! I have to say, last season London really, really pushed it. Fashion week is changing, and since it’s now four days instead of five, everybody really stepped it up! I think Christopher has got an amazing voice, a definite point of view. I’m a very big fan.
TFS: Speaking of Jonathan Saunders, you know he just did a collection for Target in America. What do you think about these kinds of collaborations?
EE: I think it’s really great! I mean you’ve got Karl Lagerfeld collaborating with H&M, and even Rei Kawakubo, who is sort of the queen of exclusivity! I think it’s the way to go, moving forward. It’s the year 2009, and that’s how fashion is today. That is how a designer gets their vision into the mass market.
I think the high street has grown in the past 10 years (Topshop, H&M, etc). It’s grown to such a degree that we really can’t ignore it as an essential part of fashion. And designer collaborations are the perfect way of taking the clothes to a larger audience while still retaining what a designer does best. It’s a sign of the times, to collaborate. It definitely is!
TFS: So, I was wondering what the cool girl has to have right now, if she was going to add just one or two things to her wardrobe. What are the things that you are obsessed with?
EE: Definitely a girl has got to have some amazing, amazing Lanvin jewelry. For me, jewelry now is big and bold. It doesn’t have to be the real thing, but just look like Lanvin jewelry.
How amazing is he? Can we talk about that? I’ve styled his campaigns for the last several years. He is unbelievably talented! He’s SO nice! When you look at him, he’s everything you think he’ll be! Kind, gentle, talented…What more can you ask for? So, definitely one of his necklaces are in order!
I’m also in love with all these snake wallets and snake bags you get at Vuitton and Prada. SNAKE! Like little clutches in snake that are everywhere now. Even if you’ve got an all-black outfit, something like that to accent is really a must-have.
TFS: Do you think bags are still important?
EE: Ok, now I’m going to sound like a cliché (laughs) but jewelry is now what the bag used to be.
I think the bag became such overkill. I know that everyone is obsessed with Hobo bags at the moment, but oversized statement costume jewelry is really the thing now. You see it everywhere, from Miuccia’s pre-collection at Prada to Lanvin. Everyone’s doing it…so that’s the new bag, really.
TFS: So do you think we’re heading more towards being dressed up or dressed down?
EE: Well, just as things were going great, we suddenly fell into this weak economy.
TFS: Right, so what do you think that’s going to do to fashion?
EE: You know, honestly, I think that people who love dressing up will find ways to still dress up. Maybe not so ostentatiously, but I certainly don’t think we’re going to go back to days of grunge. There’s the old cliché that ‘when the economy is in a bad way, skirts get shorter’ so I think people ARE going to dress. We have to! We always have. In London, the worse things are, the more creative people get with the way they dress. Whether that means dressing up or down, the key is that people are going to get more creative.
TFS: That’s a great insight! So when were you first bitten by the fashion bug? When did the whole thing start for you? How early on?
EE: Well, my mother was a seamstress who made clothes. So from the age of three, I was the one being called in to zip ladies’ dresses up. My mom was a good illustrator as well, so she taught me about the different sleeves and such. I didn’t realize until my teenage years, at age 16, that I could also sew and make clothes – and so could all my sisters and brother, because our mother was such a strong influence in our lives. From the age of 3 or 4, I was already obsessed with corseting and the female figure. I guess that was the first important thing.
The second thing was when I was spotted on the train by the stylist Simon Foxton, and I was asked to model. I didn’t really know much then, and when I got to the photographer’s house – Nick Knight, imagine! – he was talking about these girls.
He was talking about a model called ‘Christy’. He was talking about a model called ‘Linda’. So that’s when I got my second wave of interest. Before that I knew that you could be a dressmaker, but it wasn’t until I met Nick and Simon that I realized, ‘Oh my god, there’s a whole world of magazines…and fashion…and photography’.
TFS: That’s true, because back then, stylists weren’t really known.
EE: No, that’s right! The only known stylists were Simon Foxton, Judy Blame, and Nick St. Lorenz, You know, when those style magazines started in ‘79/’80, they made up the name ‘stylist’ for people like Judy and Simon because there was no established term. It wasn’t how it is today. The stylists I knew back then were these purists. They did not want to work in Milan, they not want to work in Paris or New York. They wanted to create amazing, groundbreaking stories and discover amazing models. That’s the school I came from.
Customize and create. Destroy and create. Break it down and create.
That was the aesthetic of stylists who existed back then. And I was very lucky to have met and worked with a few of them when I was very young, such as watching Judy Blame style John Galliano’s show or make amazing accessories. They weren’t really as financially successful as stylists are today, but they definitely were the pioneers! And Ray Petri – I LOVE Ray Petri. That was the generation that paved the way.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.
Part 3 coming soon…