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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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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Gucci Runways Go Co-Ed

Gucci

Gucci – during the Autumn-Winter 2016/2017 Milan Fashion Week

It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today … It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move toward a different kind of approach to my storytelling.” ~ Alessandro Michele, Gucci creative director

Italian brand, Gucci, will present its men’s and women’s collections in one fashion show starting in 2017. There is no word yet if the new shows will launch in Milan for the Men’s Fashion Week or in New York for the women’s shows.

I see combined runways as a positive change; not only from a business perspective to streamline the buying process but also for the conversation that it will bring. Breaking down gender barriers is a modern point of view. I’m buying it!

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This Holiday, Turn to a Tuxedo

Q-y1Zalxg4iKCODgSnA6_hxxBqyrdkioNNdyCWmbEPo,0U8_0vaMC8mc_4QT9DAhpvruqw2iiMV0SKQ266xXSEEVxQxbzz4yfA3_ZiQGAPBvcbEK218qKttr4cVbg9wJUs,qVP9AHw4syqAxkJr_8eI_pshmaOjbe3ww5zCkRXWT1QWhy not give your little black dress a rest this holiday? Turn to a tuxedo. Versatile and super-chic, tuxedo-dressing is a way to go sleek without being over-the-top dressy. And tuxedo dressing has moved way beyond the suit, with options and more creative ways than ever to incorporate tuxedo elements. In fact, a tuxedo need not be so formal – you can break it up to wear many different ways (I also wear my tuxedo blazer with jeans and a white tee). An added plus to tuxedo dressing? It moves from day to night with ease. Continue reading

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A little floral goes a long way

P1040868With summer in full bloom, the chance to wear flowers is tempting. It seems that floral patterns are always en vogue, but to wear them successfully is a bit of a challenge. Good to remember that a little floral goes a long way.

Here’s to summer!

My look: pants, Gucci (bought at a consignment shop); t-shirt, Ted Baker; shoes, Coach; handbag, vintage Kate Spade

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Lisa: A Visionary

Lisa ImageAre we ready for warm weather already? Lisa Curran is the owner and creator of Lisa Curran Swim, founded in 1997. An entrepreneur in the truest sense with a passion for fashion to match, Lisa is always visualizing ten-steps ahead. Lisa was a young girl who practically lived in a swimsuit growing up on the beaches of Cape May, New Jersey, who later dreamed of making a difference as she would discover a void in the design of women’s swimwear.

I sat down with this extraordinary woman. Here is Lisa, in her own words:

“I always loved fashion, since I was a little girl, but I was more interested in the artistic side of fashion. I’ve always been drawn to that, rather than owning something with a label …

I started as a student at FIT which was near the old Barney’s downtown (New York). On my lunch break, I loved checking out the windows at Barney’s. At that time, they featured small and up-and-coming designers …

It turns out that my first job was an assistant buyer for Barney’s. It was a special experience for me. Barney’s was still owned by the Pressman Family and there was an intimacy about it then; they were truly interested in promoting brands. After my time at Barney’s I became a buyer for Gucci, just six months after Rose Marie Bravo hired Tom Ford. It was an exciting time to be in fashion. I could easily have stayed there and I loved my job, and yet, I always wanted to do a swimwear line …

At that time, I was newly married and without children. I knew that this was my moment to make the leap: I couldn’t understand why the swimwear industry wouldn’t sell separate pieces, and I saw a huge void in the market. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and swimwear separates needed to reflect that. I left my secure position at Gucci and in 1997 I began Lisa Curran Swim. I soon discovered that my previous business experience helped me to better understand what to do and what not to do. I began by shipping to three-to-four stores, and soon caught the eye of Sports Illustrated and Elle Magazine. That is when my business started growing …

Today, I am a mother with three children. I have created two separate collections for Lisa Curran Swim: the world of bikini separates and one piece bathing suits for moms whose needs may be changing but still want to look and feel sexy. I have always used the highest quality fabrics and linings, and everything comes from Italy. No other swimsuit company is doing that. We also design our own prints. My customer knows what she is getting when she purchases a swimsuit from the Lisa Curran Swim collection …

I continue to push myself and strive for perfection in all that I do. I have a great team. It is a nice-size business and remains privately-owned. I love working and I always have my eye on the next challenge …” ~ Lisa Curran

We are so glad that you do, Lisa. On behalf of women everywhere, thank you for thinking of us when designing the one article of clothing that can make us feel the most vulnerable. We’re glad that the little girl on the beach grew up to see her dreams come true!

What do you think?

You can find LIsa Curran Swim at Bloomingdale’s and coming shortly to Everything But Water in Short Hills, New Jersey.

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Lisa Curran Collection

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Lisa Curran Collection

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Lisa Curran Collection

 

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