Fashion Insider Jo Ellison, Speaks

Jo Ellison

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

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“All Roads Lead to Chanel”

Before I boarded the plane for my latest adventure to Paris and the South of France, I asked my darling friend and favorite fashionista, Melissa, what would she like me to bring her from the City of Lights? Her answer was simple: a photo of Chanel’s original store. And that is how my walking tour of Paris began. The mission was clear, but the challenge proved to be unexpected.

Who would have thought that not many Parisians know which one of the many Chanel stores in their lovely home city was the first one to open its doors and change the history of fashion forever? Such a piece of information, I later found out, is only known to the style experts or the eternal romantics, like Melissa.

After lots of walking, wandering, and practicing my French asking for directions (I couldn’t check Google since I had no Wi-Fi connection), I reached my coveted destination: a beautiful French chateau on the lovely Rue Cambon. The only problem was that the building was under renovation. Despite my disappointment, I was glad to have carried  out and executed my mission successfully. But mostly, I was happy to have brought Melissa’s soul along with me. So I closed my eyes, and let my imagination take me to that moment in time, when a petite but fearless woman decided to turn the world of fashion upside down with her fresh ideas, signature style, and most of all, her love of feminine beauty. – Myriam Alvarez

 

 

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The Future of A French Lace Factory

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

How ironic that clunky industrial machines of the Sophie Hallette factory turn out the most delicate lace – Chantilly lace, Leavers lace, and silk tulle. It has been this way since its was founded in the late 1800s at the height of the industrial revolution. In the small town of Caudry, France, sits this factory, a favorite supplier for luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Gucci, and Erdem. And now, thanks to financial support from Chanel, Sophie Hallette factory will be able to continue to make lace well into the future. Says Chanel fashion president, Bruno Pavlovsky: “We want to guarantee they will stay in business and keep doing what they do.” Because Sophie Hallette is now a member of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art, a consortium of artisan suppliers that the fashion company either owns or has invested in. To that point, Pavlovsky concedes: “Deals like this nourish the progress of product development. We are constructing something not only for today but also for tomorrow.” Lacemaking is handed down from generation to generation and for the artists and craftsmen their extensive training is rewarded with a great sense of pride in their work. Joining this consortium guarantees the merging of the traditions of yesterday with the technology of today, and a chance for lace to continue to beautify the fashion world.

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Oscar Zoe!

Rachel Zoe, courtesy The Zoe Report

Rachel Zoe, courtesy The Zoe Report

My hope for the Oscars’ Red Carpet is that people bring it, that they’re not scared, that they take chances, they do something adventurous and not predictable, and just have a lot of fun.” ~ Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe speaks and I listen. Zoe, editor in chief of The Zoe Report, is speaking out about her predictions for the Oscars’ Red Carpet. The Oscars air this Sunday and Zoe is ever the fashion force. She calls out designer names Giambattista Valli, Armani Prive, Givenchy, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Dior.

Dressing major a-listers for Awards Season on her original show, The Rachel Zoe Project, was the first time I saw Rachel Zoe. At the time she was a well-known celebrity stylist from Los Angeles, and the show captured her day-to-day life; it was the first time I saw the inner-workings of a fashion stylist and I was hooked. And now years later, Zoe is the editor in chief of The Zoe Report, returning to her roots on The Red Carpet!

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If Looks Could Kill

Photo: @emmaroberts

Photo: @emmaroberts

I Scream. You Scream. We all Scream for Scream Queens! I am super-obsessed with last night’s new show, Scream Queens (Tuesdays on FOX). Part horror, part comedy, the show takes place on a college campus and focuses on a series of serial murders at a popular and snooty sorority house where the leaders call themselves, appropriately enough – The Chanels. The president of the sorority is played by Emma Roberts, the queen bee herself. Fashion takes the lead as the main characters are dressed in vintage Chanel and Moschino. As they deal with blood and gore and murder, these Chanel girls are killing it.

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What happened to Jacqueline Kennedy’s pink Chanel suit?

November 22, 1963 - Dallas, Texas   Photo Credit: Art Rickerby, Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

November 22, 1963 – Dallas, Texas – Photo Credit: Art Rickerby, Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

We are fast approaching the 50th anniversary of the fateful day in Dallas when President Kennedy was assassinated. I have been glued to the on-air coverage: recollections, investigations, interviews and recreations. The mystery of the events of that day are profound. But nothing is more poignant, in my opinion, than the stories of Jacqueline Kennedy’s fierce loyalty and strength. In one program, a secret service agent describes how she protected President Kennedy’s body and head and wouldn’t let go until he himself covered the body with his jacket. And then there is Jacqueline Kennedy’s unforgettable pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat. It tells the story, as our clothing does, of the horrific events of the day and is literally stained in our memories forever. Prolific New York Times’ fashion critic Cathy Horyn updates us on the whereabouts of this most famous suit, now preserved by the National Archives in her article, published yesterday. Continue reading

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Jillian Veran

Jillian Veran, beauty expert and media spokesperson

Jillian Veran, beauty authority and media spokesperson

When you first meet Jillian Veran, beauty authority and media spokesperson, you are  drawn in by her gorgeous, twinkling brown eyes. And before long you are wishing Jillian can spread some of that same makeup magic on you. As a world renown beauty authority Jillian’s professional resume includes well-known beauty and makeup experts Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives Cosmetics and Philosophy. She has traveled the world and done everything from education, special events, awards shows, Fashion Week, and editorial. Yet even though her twenty-six year career has reached great heights there is so much more ahead for Jillian, whose spiritual attitude says all is possible; you simply say yes to opportunity. In tomorrow’s podcast you will hear how Jillian said yes to Chanel and began her brilliant career …

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Every girl needs …

Chanel, featuring Keira Knightley

Chanel, featuring Keira Knightley

… a little Chanel. I don’t often talk about specific products but Chanel is different. Perhaps it has something to do with the magic and mystery of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel herself or perhaps it is the top quality of the makeup brand, but Chanel stands alone. If you can, treat yourself to a little Chanel. My favorites are the the Chanel eyeshadow. In addition to my Ombres Contraste Duo eyeshadow (#30, Bleu), I recently discovered Illusion D’Ombre (purple) for a more dramatic look with creamy staying power. Illusion D’Ombre has been on the market about six months and is already turning heads!

What do you think?

Illusion D'Ombre - Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow

Illusion D’Ombre – Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow

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