In July, I read a fascinating piece in Financial Times, by fashion editor Jo Ellison. The subject of the feature: Why fashion isn’t always as silly as it seems … Irrelevant? Elitist? The fashion industry makes mistakes, but we should still take it seriously.I loved reading it and was drawn to the writing of Ms. Ellison. And then I thought … what if I could track down Ms.Ellison and ask her to share her thoughts on TFIO? Never mind that Jo lives in London, never mind that she is a true fashion insider, living a fashion insider’s life of interviews and fashion coverage, and getting access to top international fashion shows. I reached out to her. And reached out again. And after several months of not giving up, Jo Ellison answered my questions. What a coup! Now my next goal is to meet Jo in person – London? New York City? Here is a fashion insider’s look at fashion and self esteem …
What is your personal fashion story? Did you always love fashion and think of it as your destiny?
I always loved shopping, and clothes. But I wouldn’t describe myself as one of those people who always saw fashion in their destiny. I was more of an enthusiast. Fashion, to my mind, was always a bit remote and inaccessible. I have always been more interested in the broader societal impact a piece of clothing might have – what it says about us and the world we live in. Whether that’s Theresa May in a leopard print pump, or Julia Roberts winning an Oscar in vintage Valentino.
You worked at Vogue – tell us something about Vogue we don’t know.
Everyone there was far friendlier than people might believe. There seems to be a popular misconception – much mythologized by films like The Devil Wears Prada, or shows like Ugly Betty – that women working in fashion are all horrible to each other. In fact, the office at UK Vogue was one of the most encouraging, team-worky and supportive I’ve known.Continue reading →
I was excited to meet Brianna; she and I are skull lovers. Members of that fashion club, who, for some rather indescribable reason love to wear skulls. When I told Brianna that I loved her skull leggings, she thanked me and told me that she had them for years and probably purchased them at Mandee. We started talking skulls and why we are drawn to them (we each own a skull sweater; mine is seen here). Brianna said that she liked that “they can be dressed up and you can really make them a part of you.” Fashion designer Alexander McQueen must have felt the same way when he created the skull scarf more than 10 years ago. Fashion meets cult meets couture meets fad meets life meets Melissa meets Brianna.
“True eccentrics – the Isabella Blows, the Vivienne Westwoods, the Anna Piaggis and the Stephen Tennants, as if there could ever be more than one of each – are the kind of people whose entire existence is devoted to individuality and innovation. That’s what makes a real eccentric; they really mean it, and they’re willing to suffer for it. Their social function is to explode our preconceptions about what beauty is and what good taste means. Eccentrics raise the bar on the impossible.” ~ Andrew O’Hagan
I ask myself what it means to be so brave in your fashion choices that your style is not about standing out for standing out sake, but more about the reality that you have no other choice but to break the rules. You are simply following your heart. Food for thought for a Monday morning!