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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An Exhibit Honors the Fashion Forward

Models wear Schiaparelli clothing and hold an issue of Minotaure, a Surrealist magazine with a cover designed by Salvador Dalí.
Photographed by Cecil Beaton, Vogue, 1936 / Getty Images

St. Petersberg, Florida, is home to the Dalí Musuem’s new exhibit (opening Wednesday), “Dalí & Schiaparelli, In Daring Fashion,” honoring two creative forces in the art and fashion worlds: Salvador Dalí and Else Schiaparelli. In Vogue article, Steff Yotka, describes these artists and original thinkers: “Together they were an unstoppable force on the Parisian scene of the ’30s, he with his slicked-back hair, curled mustache, and stunts, she with a cutting wit and those leopard-skin boots. Between 1934 and 1936, each appeared on the cover of Time magazine. She was the first fashion designer and businesswoman to do so. But there’s another lens that makes the relationship between Surrealism’s most prolific artist and fashion’s most shocking designer even more interesting … At the core of Dalí’s and Schiaparelli’s work is an ideological mission to create something new. Both deeply believed that their work in art, fashion, film, advertisement, dance—whatever!—was in service of their quest for newness and novelty.”

Schiaparelli was the first to design a jumpsuit and design a fashion show set to music; Dalí introduced the world to the art hologram. I can only imagine the beauty and wonder inside this exhibit. Says the Dalí Museum’s director, Hank Hine, who selected and organized the artist’s works and designer’s couture pieces, Dalí & Schiaparelli “absolutely recognized each other’s genius and had a deep respect.” It brings true meaning to fashion forward!

“Dalí & Schiaparelli, In Daring Fashion” is open at The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida from October 18 through January 18, 2018.

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Stop Wearing my Denim Cutoffs?

Wearing my favorite denim cut-off shorts from Kohl’s

The answer is … No! I have a favorite pair of denim cutoff shorts I purchased at Kohl’s (for a great price, by the way!) – I continue to pull them out every summer. They are still my go-to and I don’t see the need to change that now that I am 57. And Vogue agrees!

September marks the 125th Anniversary of Vogue Magazine and tucked in its many pages is a question that has reared its head for me and other women: what’s the age cutoff for denim cutoffs? Vogue contributor Alexandra Macon asks her colleagues their opinions about when to stop wearing denim cutoff shorts – 30? – younger? older? Though she finds differing opinions in the answers, Macon settles on the wise words of Vogue’s denim editor, Kelly Connor: “The bottom line is the look can be achieved at any age as long as it’s done right. This means keeping problem areas covered by taking shape into account with distressing kept to a minimum. And, ultimately, as with most looks that are somewhat fashion-forward, it’s all about how you carry yourself. If you can wear a shorter cutoff with sophistication and confidence, then all the power to you—no matter what your age!”

It must be true if it’s Vogue!

 

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Vogue and Google Come Out of the Closet for September Issue

Kendall Jenner in Vogue and Google’s ‘Supermodel Closets’ | Source: Caleb Adams for Vogue

I have enjoyed watching Vogue’s 73 Questions videos – for an intimate, if not brief look inside the lives of celebrities (I especially loved the inaugural, with Sarah Jessica Parker). Now, building on its popularity, Vogue and Google have partnered to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary September issue: launching a 360-degree virtual reality five-part series, “Supermodel Closets” and offering viewers exactly what its title promises – an inside view of the closets of industry stars – beginning with Kendall Jenner. To that end, the viewer of Supermodel Closets is “alone” in the closet, as Jenner tells the stories behind her clothes, handbags and accessories, her most beloved and prized possessions.

Vogue’s long-standing objective is to show what’s new in fashion. The decision to partner with Google and its complex, wide-reaching fashion strategy, represents the next step for Vogue in delivering ever- alluring content. Says Julina Tatlock, co-founder of digital entertainment company 30 Ninjas, which produced the series, “There is an opportunity when you are making 360 and virtual reality to let the story shape itself a little more … The fact that Vogue allowed us to shoot the models for almost two hours, and then we cut it to four minutes, means that Kendall could completely relax.”

While Supermodel Closets can be viewed on a computer or phone via YouTube, the virtual reality elements must be experienced using special equipment. I am not set up for that, yet, but perhaps I can figure it out … eventually.

 

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Pippa Middleton Makes A Fashion Move for Her Wedding

Pippa Middleton – getting married! Image courtesy News Group Newspapers LTD

In just a few days Pippa Middleton’s wedding will take place – Saturday, May 20 – and I hear that she may be asking her guests to bring a second outfit for the reception. Apparently, she has several rules for her wedding, but this one feels over-the-top. A bride will sometimes change into a second wedding dress for the reception but to ask guests to do the same is a pricey and anxiety-producing request. Weddings are already expensive. Vogue has labeled this move ‘unusual’ and ‘slightly high maintenance.’

This could be gossip, it could be real – but could this snowball into a real fashion trend for weddings in the future??

 

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‘Tis the Season for Hats

One of Ms. Colon-Lugo’s creations
Credit Dina Litovsky for The New York Times

Tomorrow marks the 143rd running of The Kentucky Derby – a day for horses and hats! Extravagant hats. That is why the recent New York Times feature about milliner Ellen Christine Colon-Lugo, is inspiring. This is Ms. Colon-Lugo’s, owner of Ellen Christine Millinery in West SoHo, New York, busiest season. And she herself has already spent hours preparing hats for women who will wear them at tomorrow’s Derby. Not to mention that May 15 marks Straw Hat Day, when people used to trade in their winter felt hats for spring hats.

Ms. Colon-Lugo has quite a story: she studied costume design at the School of Fashion Design in Boston and later at New York University. Her hats have adorned the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and W Magazine, and she is president of the Milliners Guild in New York. Says Colon-Lugo, “The idea of balance is very important in a hat. I don’t do yoga, I do hats. Hats reveal our inner characters, and we have many of them.

Which of her hats will be watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow?

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On the Costuming of Broadway’s War Paint

Courtesy of War Paint

A musical just opened on Broadway – War Paint – highlighting the fierce rivalry of two cosmetic giants, entrepreneurs, and icons: Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. Vogue’s Hamish Bowles interviewed War Paint’s much sought-after costume designer, Catherine Zuber, and I am reminded of the power of costume design. Zuber is much admired in the industry and has earned six Tony Awards for her costume design productions, which also include South Pacific, The King and I, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Awake and Sing!, and The Light in the Piazza. For War Paint, Zuber is once again telling a story and addressing the character of these larger-than-life women through their costumes. Played by acting icons themselves, Patty LuPone as Rubenstein, and Christine Ebersole as Arden, these hugely successful women were among the wealthiest of their time and at that time, the only two women in America to have their names above their company – by doing something not done before in the beauty industry – bringing makeup into the mainstream of society. The timeline for War Paint begins in the 1930s and follows these women into the 1960s, which provided excitement to move through the different time periods. Rubenstein was, according to Zuber, more flamboyant, and dressed in “Poiret, Schiaparelli, and Balenciaga.” However, finding costumes for Arden’s story was “just as powerful,” says Zuber – and gave Zuber high contrast with which to work. The production focuses on the working world of these women. Says Zuber: “They were such hard-working women, and so much of their lives were focused on their careers and their businesses that we decided to celebrate that.”

This show is a must-see for me!!

 

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Diversity on US Magazine Covers Improves in 2016

Photo: Courtesy Fashionista

Photo: Courtesy Fashionista

Fashionista researched 147 covers from 10 leading U.S. fashion publications and discovered the following: while some titles remained stagnant, the majority saw distinct improvement. Among the leading publications, which included Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Nylon, Teen Vogue, Vogue and W – Teen Vogue featured the most diversity this year by including women of color on seven of its 11 issues, 63.6 percent. — with cover stars like Amandla Stenberg, Willow Smith and Simone Biles.

This is so important because young women look for themselves on the covers of magazines. They want to feel that the magazine speaks to them and the cover is the fist thing they see. There is a long way to go for inclusivity but this is a statistic that is moving in the right direction. I’m buying it!

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Watch Anna and Amy Switch Jobs …

amy-schumer-anna-wintour-640x400amy-schumer-anna-wintourWant to liven your Monday morning? Watching Anna Wintour and Amy Schumer switch jobs in this Vogue Original Short is great for a giggle. Part Devil Wears Prada, part Lucy and Ethel (remember the Job Switching episode?), this is a full-on treat!

Photos courtesy of Vogue

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Beverly Johnson’s New Memoir: I’m Buying It!

Beverly Johnson

Beverly Johnson

Featuring gorgeous, never-before-seen photos from Johnson’s childhood and modeling days, The Face That Changed It All gives a no-holds-barred look at the lives of the rich, fabulous, and famous. It is also a story of failure and success in the upper echelons of the fashion world, and how Beverly Johnson emerged from her struggles smarter, happier, and stronger than ever.” Beverly Johnson website

Iconinc supermodel Beverly Johnson has a new memoir: The Face That Changed It All. Ms. Johnson, 62, was one of the original 1970s supermodels, becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974. She then made fashion history with a successful 3-decade modeling career. The Face That Changed It All appears to be an honest and thoughtful look at Johnson’s life, and an opportunity for us all to feel inspired and energized to be our best. I’m buying it!

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