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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Givenchy Brings Democracy to the Runway

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

French fashion house, Givenchy, will be making news this September when it shows its collection at NY Fashion Week: members of the general public will make up a large portion of the audience. Givenchy is working closely with the city of New York on this project; most of the 1200 tickets (820 of them) will go to real people and non-celebrities – registrants on a /first-served basis in partnership with nycgo.com, the City’s marketing office. And a portion of the tickets (240) will be set aside for students and faculty from local fashion schools. Chief executive officer of Givenchy, Philippe Fortunato, says that it is creative director, Riccardo Tisci, and his fascination with American culture that inspired the decision to show in New York: “Riccardo talks a lot about America as the origin of trends, very much looking at the streets,” he explained, emphasizing the influence of both youth and minority groups on such trends.

The date of the show itself, September 11th, is notable, and Fortunato is well aware of the meaning of this date to this city: “Of course we celebrate craftsmanship, of course we celebrate creativity. But we want to celebrate what’s behind that, a kind of purpose for the house, and a message of resilience. And a message of humility, because we have to remain simple throughout the big elements of life. Despite what happened, the strengths of the American people, the strengths of New York, are even stronger after 9/11 than before 9/11.”

For too many of us the fashion world feels like an exclusive place we can only view from a distance. So this chance to bring this otherwise closed world to the public is exciting. I’m buying it – actually, I really will try – to buy tickets! I will keep you posted …

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