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Category Archives: Interviews
The Hilfiger name and brand has always been synonymous with the American dream. While Tommy built his empire, younger brother Andy was also toiling away behind the scenes –starting off with selling jeans in his brother’s store and eventually building himself up as a mover and shaker in the realm of launching celebrity fashion lines. His collaboration with Jennifer Lopez alone resulted in $250 million in sales, the launch of the uber successful fragrance Glow by JLo, an MTV documentary promoting the launch of the line and of course more exposure for the singer/actress/designer.
These days, Hilfiger is stepping out of the shadows with the launch of his eponymous line, Andrew Charles. The Designer however, hasn’t forgotten his secret ingredient–celebrity collaborations. The line is a joint effort with rock star and American Idol Judge, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
Musical inspiration is nothing new to Hilfiger, who has been involved in music from a very young age. When I meet Hilfiger at the showing of his collection at Macy’s in Sherman Oaks, he mentions that past rock & roll and soul influences have always found a place in his designs. This is evident in his latest boho-chic meets rock star girlfriend-inspired collection. Family is another recurring theme. As one of nine kids, the designer recalled being inspired by the variation in musical taste and style of his brothers and sisters. A few minutes into our interview and after getting a glimpse into his passion for music and family, I realize that his collaboration with Steven Tyler makes perfect sense.
Tyler’s sense of style has after all survived many generations, trends and fashion cycles. The importance of family is also a recurring theme with the rock star whose daughters are backstage and proudly supporting their dad. I get a chance to meet the family before I leave and the energy of both the Hilfiger and Tyler clans coming together is nothing short of exciting. Mia, Tyler’s daughter –a budding photographer introduces herself, there’s another photographer documenting the craziness backstage and taking group portraits. When Tyler himself finally enters the room, everything becomes elevated. His eclectic style, contagious personality and sweet demeanor are all things you expect but aren’t actually sure you’ll get. I can see why Hilfiger believes this collaboration is a dream come true.
Andrew Charles, named after Creative Director Andy Hilfiger, is available in the Impulse departments of Macy’s stores nationwide and also at Macys.com.
The holiday season is in full swing and between all the gorgeous bright colors, shimmer and shine, it’s sometimes a handful deciding how to work some of the current holiday trends into one’s wardrobe. Not to worry, SELF Magazine’s Fashion Director, Evyan Metzner is making things as easy and chic as possible. Evyan recently shared tips on sporting the season’s biggest trends as well as other insider info for the most curious fashionista. Check out my interview with Evyan here. (more…)
It’s 2:30am and after spending the past few hours editing 3 articles back to back, exhaustion seeps in. In spite of the fatigue, I have one more thing to do that I’m positive will bring me some much needed late night / early morning rejuvenation – I have a date with The Sartorialist. If this title doesn’t ring a bell or has very little meaning to you, then you haven’t experienced the power of the lens through the exquisite eye of Scott Schuman. A self-taught photographer and fashion blogger, Schuman has the uncanny talent to take you and engage you in the world of the stylish, elegant and chic. Sitting at your computer and sifting through his gallery of beautiful and fashionable shots, you realize that like Alice in wonderland, you’re not only fascinated by this marvelous world, you’re also excited to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
It’s not an over the top assumption to state that we’re a bit of a voyeuristic society. One only has to look at the plethora of celebrity magazines, blogs and behind the scenes specials to back up this statement. Schuman’s photos, which have a certain simplicity and elegance to them, are in a class of their own. With willing subjects, he provides a glimpse into the way everyday individuals express themselves through fashion – without judgment.
As a loyal reader of Schuman’s blog – The Sartorialist, it’s only normal to expect that so many wonder about the man behind the lens. How does he make it look so easy? How is he able to seamlessly capture such simple, vivid and captivating images?
To answer these questions, as part of Intel’s “Visual Life” video series and 2nd generation core processor promotion, roles are flipped and the camera is on Schuman. Viewers get to experience a day behind the lens of the artist and it’s quite rewarding.
The documentary is a rare treat for fans of Schuman’s work and will no doubt make new followers of those not familiar with him. As the film comes to an end, one more thing stands out – as much as Schuman makes it all about his subjects, the truth is the photos are interesting because of him. He is very much a part of each photograph.
It’s 3:30am and I’ve visited Paris, Rome, New York and Stockholm, all in one sitting. Schuman has provided a window for people to connect and get away and sometimes, getting away means everything.
Clinique and Teen Vogue recently took to the road in a 13 city tour, visiting college campuses and select Nordstrom locations. It is their second annual Fresh Faces Tour and their goal is to inspire young women interested in fashion, beauty and publishing careers and educate them about how to break into these desirable industries. According to the Tour, one accomplished young woman who embodies integrity and healthy beauty will be selected as the next Clinique Fresh Face and will win a summer internship with Clinique along with a one-week, behind the scenes experience at Teen Vogue in New York City…basically an all around hard to pass up, winning package. The last stop for the tour was at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where I got the opportunity to sit down and talk to Eva Chen, Beauty and Health Director of Teen Vogue and one of the panelists of leading industry movers and shakers on hand at the event to give insider tips as well as career advice.
Chatting with Eva, I realize she’s one of the luckiest girls I’ve ever met. She works in an industry she absolutely loves, has a job she’s truly passionate about, gets to jet to places like Japan to interview stars like Lady Gaga plus she couldn’t stop saying wonderful things about her boss, Teen Vogue Chief Editor Amy Astley….did I mention she’s one of the luckiest girls I’ve ever met? Dressed in a chic skirt and blouse combo and a pair of coveted Alaia platforms, Eva, a John’s Hopkins and Columbia Business School Graduate answered questions on beauty, fashion and her dream career.
How did you get started in the Fashion/Beauty Industry? Was this always a path you knew you’d take?
I started at Teen Vogue in 2003. Beauty and fashion in general, I started in 2000 as an intern. I was actually pre-med in college and never expected to work in the fashion industry. I was always interested in a lot of different things so while I was pre-med, I decided to take a break and try something new. I decided to get an internship and I applied to about 30 of them. I was really lucky; I got about ten offers from ten different fields…PR, television, book publishing and the only one that paid was ironically in magazines (because now magazines don’t pay for most internships). I took the one that paid…thought it would be nice to have shelter over my head and food in my stomach. I went to Harper’s Bazaar, worked in the Beauty and Features department and it was a really eye opening experience. I don’t think people realize that what you love, your hobby can be your job. I loved reading fashion magazines growing up. My mom always had Vogue and Bazaar, the classics and I just never realized it was someone’s job to make those magazines. That’s why today, I’m meeting girls and telling them…guess what? You can do what you love. Anyway, after my internship at Bazaar, I got my first official job at Lucky Magazine. I worked in the fashion closet which like so many before me, included logging clothes in and out, doing credit, which is pretty much a thankless job. The whole time, I really wanted to write, to tell stories. I also missed beauty, I found it fun, optimistic and a bit more light hearted than fashion. I ended up getting a job at Elle Magazine in the beauty department where I worked for 3 years before coming over to Teen Vogue where I’ve been for 5 years and I love it.
How has the industry changed since you started?
The industry has evolved a lot. When I started at Bazaar and Lucky, dot-coms were the barest minimum. We basically had a page showing people where to subscribe. Now social media has taken over. My job was to be an editor and writer, now my job is to be an editor, writer, blogger and tweeter. We have an iPhone app that offers fashion and beauty tips, I also do events like this, public speaking engagements and marketing events for beauty…it’s a lot. I’ll admit, I was a bit of a late adapter to things like twitter. I just joined a year ago, I felt I was already blogging and on facebook but it’s such a powerful tool. We’re also able to do so much more with the web. We don’t necessarily have the space in every issue to explain to each Teen Vogue reader how to apply eyeliner but on the website, I can do a video and literally show a girl step by step how to do a smoky eye.
The economy has really changed people’s mindsets. A high number of individuals are not content being where they are right now. This event benefits young people looking to get into the fashion and beauty industry…what advice would you give to the person who’s coming into this a little late, maybe even someone who already has an established career in another industry?
I think it takes a lot of courage to pursue what you love. What I always say to others I’ve talked to about this is that at the end of the day, you’re at your job for most of your life so you have to love what you do. If you’re a lawyer and you love jewelry, start doing something about it, start designing. You have to demonstrate interest and invest in it. Taking the first step is the hardest. It takes courage just to take that first step. It may help to start saving money so you have a bit of a cushion…It also helps to start small. I have a friend who was an editor and decided she wanted to be a makeup artist; she started by doing makeup for all her editor friends for black-tie’s and benefits. At the end of the day if you want it badly enough, you’ll do it…you have to be hungry for it.
A lot of fashion fans have seen the portrayal of the industry on shows like The Hills (Teen Vogue) and the The City (Elle). Would you consider it an accurate portrayal?
I feel like based on movies like The Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and television shows like The Hills and The City, I get so many questions from friends asking if my boss really throws a coat at me every day. I think people want to be entertained and I’ll admit there’s a grain of truth to every story. You also have to consider that every industry has cruel people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, doctor or in the fashion industry. You have to be prepared to deal with multiple personalities. There are people who give life to and promote certain stereotypes but there are also people like Amy Astley who are smart, successful and so kind.
Can you give us one beauty trend that no woman should go without this fall?
My brain is currently in the Spring/Summer (2011) seasons right now so I’ll give you something for fall and spring. For fall, it’s definitely the classic red lipstick. A lot of brands have recently launched amazing super rich red lipsticks…Chanel Rouge Coco is great. I also love really bold lashes for fall; I call them angel lashes because they wing out. For spring/summer, it’s the transition from the classic, polished red lipstick to kind of a salmon-y, orang-ish red. It’s fun, young and a little off-beat.
What’s your personal fashion/beauty philosophy?
Have fun! A lot of times women and girls are so afraid to try something new. 99% of the time, your personal insecurities are your personal insecurities….no one else notices them. When it comes to beauty or fashion, the worst thing that could happen is you take your clothes off and put on a different outfit or if the makeup doesn’t work, you wash your face and start over. Lastly, if you’re trying out a new trend and you’re not sure if it’s going to work, don’t spend so much money on it.
For more information, visit www.cliniquefreshfaces.com or follow the tour at Twitter.com/Clinique_US and Facebook.com/Clinique
“My biggest influences are strong, creative women that chart their own path, lead their own lives and drive the course of history” Rachel Roy
Rachel Roy is the kind of woman that you want in your corner. Behind those brown eyes, you can tell she’s everything she’s asking other women to be; confident, supportive, and strong. Most importantly, a fearless woman who makes her own rules and is in control of her destiny. Tall, lean, put together and soft spoken, she’s also incredibly polite…wants to know just as much about you as you wish to know about her. She’s chic and modern and her curiosity is enchanting. Twenty minutes into our meeting, we’ve touched on both of our travel experiences, our history with the state of Maryland (she attended Columbia Union College), and broken down each of our ensembles (she’s in a long cardigan, harem pants and military style boots). Today, she’s presenting her Rachel Rachel Roy Fall 2010 collection at Macy’s at the Beverly Center, Los Angeles. One could say Rachel defines her eponymous brand. The Rachel Rachel Roy woman is on a journey the designer explains. Getting to know that woman, it’s clear that her wardrobe reflects her journey and while one isn’t exactly sure where she’ll land, one thing’s certain, her life and her clothes exude confidence and hers is a story of living and learning through amazing experiences.
Here’s life and fashion according to Rachel…
Defining the Rachel Rachel Roy woman
We have a lot of fun with the Rachel Rachel Roy brand being the younger sister to the Rachel Roy brand. I think that the Rachel Rachel Roy woman is someone that is looking for classic clothes with a twist. She’s looking to stand out in a room and not fit into a crowd. She takes chances in life and that also trickles down to her wardrobe. She wants to have fun with it, mix things. She wears many hats, pursues many passions in life and her clothing is just an extension of that.
Rachel’s personal style and celebrating the chic, modern woman
I definitely design for the woman that I aspire to be and I’m always influenced by strong women who take chances and make their own paths. I’m very curious about so many different things and I think that curiosity keeps me going. Working with different artists that I collaborate with from Estelle to Jessica Stam helps with getting a fresh perspective and making all the designs relevant.
How Rachel’s personal style influences her designs
My style influences all my designs. One of my favorite things to do with all my design teams is to choose prints, colors and fabrics; to really talk about them and develop the stories behind them.
Traveling + the Rachel Rachel Roy woman
It’s really important for our customer, our girl to travel as much as she can. Traveling is something that is very costly and it’s hard for many young girls to do and we just want to encourage that as much as possible. Whether it’s through scholarships or exchange programs…however they can, even if it’s within the United States. I just think that it’s one thing that brings us all closer together and helps us realize how similar we are. To me, it’s the best life changing experience in terms of education.
Supporting other women
We hire a group of women out of Tanzania and Rwanda through an organization called Fairwinds. It’s a very small factory of women who create fashion pieces for the brand. It is of course more expensive to do it this way but these women were chosen as “women in need”. Their need is to get out of their situation; so whether that’s a bad marriage or losing their husband to a war, they’re funding their own lives through this job. I’m not just handing anyone anything, I’m hiring and helping them to make their own way. The more I can do that, the better and that’s what pushes me to keep doing better each season because the more I have, the more I can give to them.
Rachel’s must have fall pieces
There’s a red leather pencil skirt that I love from the line and it goes with so many different things. It’s really simple and well made; Leather well made and simply cut will last for a very long time. It’s something that you can invest in.
My second pick is a light weight military jacket. The military look is very strong this season but if you think about it, the military look never goes away for fall/winter.
Looking towards the future – The Rachel Rachel Roy Woman in Spring 2011
We use travel as a source of inspiration and reference and for spring, it’s about hope and renewal and what we’re looking forward to. It’s colors and it’s bright, mixing prints is something that I have a lot of fun with and I find beauty in mixing odd prints, matching them so that they almost don’t work but when you sit back and look at it, it works so beautifully.
Shop the RACHEL Rachel Roy line at Macy’s.
For more chic pieces, visit the Rachel Roy website at www.rachelroy.com
Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama took over downtown L.A and brought out VIPs and celebrities for a good cause. Just as in years past, Macy’s was able to continue their commitment to being a leading supporter of AIDS beneficiaries by donating nearly $1million dollars in support of APLA and Project Angel Food. The event was a well thought out combination of fashion, fantasy, music and magic. “So you think you can dance” choreographer Brian Freidman seamlessly wove intricate and elaborate dance routines into the show’s presentation.
Macy Gray exhibited her unique, raspy voice and had the crowd singing along and Singer / Song-Writer Eric Hutchinson was as charming as they come.
Earlier, The red carpet was a bustling scene of both long time supporters of the event, as well as some fresh faces. Amongst the stars were Serena Williams, Brandy, Eric McCormack, LaToya Jackson, Sara Rue, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Glee’s Mark Salling, 90210 star Michael Steger and many more.
The event’s main attraction was of course the fashion show. Models stomped the runway, showcasing the latest in tomorrow’s fashions by Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Material Girl Collection, Chris March, Calvin Klein, Tracy Reese, Just Cavalli, INC, 2(x)ist, Felina/Jezebel and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Check out more photos and interview snippets from the event below. Wish you were able to see the runway show? We’ve got you covered. Check out the attached video at the end of the article.
The Runway Show…
For a sneak peek of what it took to put this show together, click here
Meet Mikey Koffman – The driving force behind LA Fashion Week and a true California girl with an east coast sensibility
Mikey Koffman is keeping busy these days but it’s a pace that she’s grown accustomed to. Before her foray into Fashion close to 10 years ago, Koffman was the first female to own a custom motorcycle shop in Long Beach –Sin Cycles. These days, you can catch her on Showtime’s “The Real L Word” and preparing for LA Fashion week in October. She’s currently spearheading the growth and rejuvenation of this major event through her event production and marketing company (The Gallery).
Talking to Mikey Koffman is like re-uniting with an old friend whom you haven’t spoken to in a long while but everything seems to fall right into place the moment you say hello. She’s a bundle of energy and you immediately feel at ease with her. Our conversation starts off like many do in L.A. – the crazy driving in this town. We run through everything from her passion for fashion to her style, her role on The Real L Word and of course celebrity. Our no holds barred interview not only features a rare insight into the fashion world but also shows a down to earth power house who’s not afraid to speak her mind and a true advocate for Los Angeles Fashion. An hour later, we’re all caught up and there’s a slight pause, you realize you can’t wait to do it again.
Her Passion for Fashion
“It’s interesting because I’m somebody that’s in jeans and a t-shirt every day. I’m really passionate about the production side of things. I love pulling together the designers and I actually helped start LA Fashion week on the roof of the Downtown Standard Hotel which was about 9 years ago. So I did that for about 71/2 years and then my company has picked it up and taken off with it for the past 2 years.”
A true Angeleno with an East Coast attitude
“I used to have half of my business out on the East Coast for many years; I travel a lot to New York every year for events and stuff. I have to tell you one thing I appreciate about New York is the East Coast attitude. These guys either love you or they hate you and there’s no in between. I just feel like that’s how I’ve always been. I really appreciate East Coasters more than I appreciate my West Coasters (laughing). Either we’re high-fiving or duking it out in the streets.”
“I have thrown celebrities out of fashion shows. If you’re rude and obnoxious and disrespectful to my team, I don’t care if you are the Editor of vogue or you are fricking Angelina Jolie, it doesn’t matter. We’re all here to treat each other kindly at the runway shows, to have fun at our events. At the end of the day, the bullshit attitude in our business, it’s a joke to me.”
Not taking Fashion too seriously
“It’s funny because our job is not that serious. If you are not enjoying what you’re doing and having fun at it, what’s the point? People turn fashion into an emergency room crisis and it’s actually not.”
New York Fashion vs. L.A Fashion
“My company is built on being the polar opposite of what New York Fashion week is. It’s about having fun, having a great time working with some great people. I’ll work with 200 no-name brands as long as they’re cool and fun and they’re having fun working with us. I’d pick those brands over other brands that are big names with bigger egos and want to be just really commanding and dramatic. It’s all about having a good time. We work with some great consumer brands out here on the West Coast. The thing that differentiates us is that we’re doing consumer fashion out here. We’re driving trends, we’re driving what people are buying in the department stores and New York is driving a lot of ego and a lot of vanity projects. I love New York Fashion Week, I think it’s beautiful but the stuff you see on the runway is not going into production. People aren’t wearing it walking down the street. It’s great and beautiful but I feel like what we’re doing makes sense for the designers, for their buyers and the media.”
Her inspiration, even after so many years in the business
“I’m inspired by the designers; I’m inspired by the team of girls that work the showroom around here. They’re really amazing and to be able to work with people that you respect and love…we have a small family here. I’m also really blessed to be able to work with designers that just turn things over and let me handle it turn-key. We have Dolce Vita here and we got to work with Richie Sambora’s White Trash Beautiful last season….all the collaboration and creativity is awesome.”
Catapulting LA Fashion Week to the level of NYC, Milan and Paris
“At the end of the day, it all comes down to dollars. If we can get our big sponsors back on board, and our title sponsors back, that would really help elevate Fashion Week. Everything that we do for Fashion Week now is not a money maker whatsoever for my company but I’ve been so passionate about it that I wasn’t going to let it just fall to the wayside.”
Advice for up and coming Designers (Koffman launched her own clothing line which went international within the first year a few years ago)
“Don’t do it (laughing). I made a lot of mistakes that cost me a lot of money. Having a business plan and capital that you need to actually launch your brand is really important… before you even put pencil to paper to do a flat sketch, that is the first step. A lot of small businesses and designers don’t do that. They just fly by the seat of their pants, burn through all their money and are unable to afford Production or Marketing and PR. You also have to know your target audience and target market.”
Becoming a part of Showtime’s “The Real L Word”
“I said no before I said yes. You need to know that this wasn’t pitched as a reality show; it was pitched to us as a documentary series. Some of the editing has not made me happy, they definitely have their own story lines for us and it can be a little frustrating because it makes it not so real and not so much of a documentary. The one thing I will say about Showtime is they’ve been amazing and they’ve allowed us to write our blogs and be honest about what was really going on in those episodes. That has been the saving grace. I get that they need to make a dramatic show that is sellable but it’s been hard to have somebody else tell a different story about your life.
Public Response to the Show
“I’m smart, I don’t read the blogs. There were so many people judging us before the show even came out. I have a good sense of humor about it all, even when people say mean things. I think somebody said ‘Bon Jovi wants his hair back’ and I was like hell yeah….they’re relating me to Bon Jovi. I love that (laughing). I do pay attention to the positive things written on facebook which is huge for me because I never even went on facebook before that.”
More than the “L” Word
“I didn’t build my business on being gay. Honestly, I haven’t even been involved with that many gay people. I don’t hang out at gay bars; I may go to The Abbey and have drinks every once in a while….My whole life, I’ve had to work twice as hard to be respected and not be that gay girl, that lesbian girl. I’m all about equal rights but I don’t feel the need to talk about gay rights. For me, it’s all about equal rights for every human being.”
Fame, Celebrity and the Moral of it all…
At the end of the day, you just have to be able to laugh at yourself. You cannot take yourself too seriously and just for the record, I don’t believe that anyone that does reality shows should call themselves celebrities…at all.