Describe your career in the Fashion Pr industry to date in one paragraph?
It’s been a long and evolving mash-up of project management, production, brand strategy, content creation and writing. I started off as part of a brand at Habitat and then Liberty; transferred into a brand agency at Mary Portas’ Yellowdoor; followed by a few years as an editor producing shoots. Now, I head up a division of the brand innovation and forecasting company (Stylus). At the same time I’ve been writing for magazines including Volt, 125, Hole & Corner, The Times Luxx, Luxure and, most recently, Muse. My books (Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries) and the new one coming out next year (see below) are both grounded in fashion but the bigger story within each is the worlds of branding, image-making, identity and pop culture. I’m fascinated by anything regarding how pop culture twists and turns – and the people that drive or channel those changes.
What do you enjoy the most, creative projects or writing?
Both together. I’m a really visual person (and probably a bit controlling!) so I like written projects that also require me to invest a visually creative edge too. Having said that, I’d always refer to myself as a writer above and beyond anything else. When I’m writing I’m the most fulfilled!
Your debut coffee table book STYLISTS showcases the work of some of the best known stylists in the world, what made you decide to write a book of styling?
I was working at Harpers Bazaar at the time and it was towards the end of the three years in the role during which I’d personally witnessed an enormous shift in the dynamics of the industry. The role of the stylist had transcended anything that could remotely be called ancillary to a level where these creatives were completely pivotal to the creative process, to the final image and message. The idea of the stylists as being only the interpreters of fashion felt outmoded to me (they are interpreters, of course, but also so much more than that) and I wanted to show – and celebrate – how fundamental these people were to fashion, to image-making, to leveraging brand status. These are people that are so integral to things we’re all touched by all the time (advertising imagery, fashion collections, images in magazines, the magazine themselves) and yet many of them were fairly unsung heroes. I felt there was a big story about talent, influence and change – and one not just based on celebrity – that needed to be told.
We hear you have another book coming out next year, what will this book be about?
The powerful relationship between fashion and music – specifically fashion-fuelled music and those instances where fashion’s been integral to fuelling the fantasy, giving context to the sound and adding depth to artists’ wider agendas. It covers lots of genres and eras and some really important relationships such as Arianne Phillips and Madonna, Kansai Yamamoto and David Bowie, Jean-Paul Goude and Grace Jones, Ciarra Pardo and Rihanna that will reveal a mixture of really special, inspiring personal stories (lots you won’t have heard before) and also serve as a sort of pop culture history lesson.
What would you say was the best advice you have been given to date?
Trust your instincts. If it’s making you sad you need to get out or change things. Also be prepared to work hard… just make sure you’re putting your energies into the right places (and people).
You obviously have a real love of Fashion, how would you describe your personal style?
Tomboy kinky?! I really like men’s style tailoring and slightly slouchy things but I’m equally fond of killer heels to the point of being approached by foot fetishists in the past!
What item in your wardrobe and your make up bag could you not live without?
Wardrobe: it’s always changing but right now it’s a vintage Luella Bartley leather jacket. More generally it’s racer back vests.
Make-up: red lipstick. Either Nars Heat Wave or Mac Lady Danger!
What are your top five style tips for looking fab this AW?
Big and/or colourful fake fur, over-the-knee Stella McCartney style rubber boots (see aforementioned footwear leanings), an oversized roll-neck sweater (I’ve commissioned my Mum to make me one to order!), anything in grey marl, a leather skirt (maxi, Stevie Nicks style or Saint Laurent-esque Mini).
What are you coveting right now, it can be anything at all?
Louis Vuitton’s Eternal Half Boots please. Or lots of Acne knitwear, thanks.
Lastly, name your ‘Top 10’ must do, see, hear, eat in London?
Medcalf on Exmouth Market, Trangallan Tapas Bar in Stoke Newington or Bob Bob Ricard in Soho (eat); Acne and The Darkroom (shop); The Barbican Centre
Interview by Michelle Agyeman-Coley, BPR Fashion Director