You shifted career gears when you moved, leaving fashion design and becoming a fashion editor and writer. How was the transition and did you miss designing clothes?
If someone had handed me a half a million I would have been more than happy to continue with my design career, but as that was not the case I had to do what ever I could to survive and that took me in different directions. First as assistant to the producer at CBC for which we both knew I was over qualified, but I had to pay my rent. Tiffany Godoy asked me to write for the Japanese magazine Composite and that was the beginning of my journalistic career. It was never anything I had thought about at all. From there I went to Elle.com and then Vogue.fr as Tina Isaac was my editor at Elle.com where she initiated a Dr. Diane style column and then she went to Vogue.fr and set up their online and took me with her. I could work at home which was perfect for me. From there I worked for Joyce Ma as fashion editor for JOYCE out of Hong Kong and in 2000 I worked making fashion films with Disciple Films for 5 years.
A Shaded View on Fashion was one of the first fashion blogs when you created it in 2005. How did the idea of the blog come about and how did it evolve?
It was February 2005. When filming in Milan with Disciple Films I met a showroom model named Anina Net. She asked me if I wanted to try a new software called Life Blogging with a Nokia phone. I said yes and that is how my own blog began. In 2005 Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto, a London brand, commissioned me to make a road movie Adventure of Pleasure. It was a 3000-mile road trip over 6 days from London to Monte Carlo and I life blogged all the way, plus making this film. It was early social media, long before Twitter and even Youtube, which I think started about the same time. In the beginning I was the only one writing on the blog and now I have contributors from around the world. Because of the blog I was invited everywhere from New Zealand to Brazil to Estonia and beyond.
Being ahead of the curve again, in 2006 you started A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival, the first fashion film festival. How did the idea come to you and what was the reception like?
My first fashion film festival was called You Wear it Well and was started in 2006 and launched in Los Angeles. Because it was the very first fashion film festival it was invited everywhere from the Guggenheim in Bilbao with the Zinebe Film Festival and beyond. In 2006 no one knew what a fashion film was and you spent so much time explaining. However the first edition at Cinespace on Hollywood Blvd. was a success and now there is not a brand around that does not use fashion films to communicate their their ideas on fashion, beauty and style. ASVOFF is a cultural event it is not cliché of fashion.
You’ve traveled and presented A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival internationally. What were some of the highlights and which cities did you get the most positive response?
The biggest highlight of course was Centre Pompidou for seven years. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao was amazing, Palazzo Morando in Milan sponsored by Italian Vogue was wonderful, Mexico City with Trendsetera in 2010 at the Metropolitan Theatre 2nd edition of ASVOFF for over 2,000 guests that was the largest so far. Also of course the ASVOFF parties at the terrace of Palais du Festival in Cannes.
I know you love having tea, so if you could invite one person in fashion from the past, who would it be, which tea salon would you choose, and what would you talk about?
If they must be from the past I would say Adrian, the costume designer who also did ready to wear. I would love to talk to him about all the films that he costumed and the actors that he dressed. How different it was creating ready to wear compared to working on films. Maybe a good location would be Le Pavillon de la Reine. Place des Vosges. It is lovely, elegant, and quiet. Feels a bit like a hidden jewel in Paris.
Who do you think are the relevant people in fashion today and do they have a positive or negative effect in the overall business of fashion?
Rick Owens: He has his own path and he keeps challenging himself and never looking at others for inspiration. He’s a positive effect and what fashion needs more of. Dries Van Noten: It has nothing really to do with fashion and everything to do with beauty and timeless creation. Alessandro Michele: A true poet who gives thought to the most minute details. His creations inject joy and fun into a world that is desperately in need of happiness. I love how he changed the approach to fashion and always involves humanity and what is going on in our lives today. Bravo for a big brand to be so outspoken. Pier Paolo Piccioli: What he’s done for Valentino even makes its namesake happy. He makes beautiful clothes that make people dream. Demna Gvasalia: I’ve known his collections since he was a graduate student at Antwerp in 2006. He has moved things forward first with creating Vetements which was just simply about clothes that everyone wanted to wear, then that blew up into a major trend. I love what he has done with Balenciaga blowing away the cobwebs but keeping the essential of the house and pushing it forward. Jean Paul Gaultier: I will love him forever. He has impacted generations and continues to. He is inventive, curious, and courageous. I love him for his fashion and for his humanity. He is a wonderful human being.
You travel extensively for your work. What are some of your favorite hotels and tea salons?
Chén Chè teahouse in Berlin (www.chencheberlin.de); Les Deux Abeilles in Paris (www.facebook.com/pages/Les-Deux- Abeilles/173623495986374); Mandarin Oriental Tokyo for afternoon tea (www.mandarinoriental.com/tokyo); I always like The Wolseley (www.thewolseley.com) in London for tea or breakfast; The PuLi Hotel in Shanghai (www.thepuli.com) has to be one of the loveliest hotels that I’ve stayed in; and the SoHo Grand (www.sohogrand.com), my home away from home when I’m in New York. Everything about it pleases me; the Peninsula Tokyo (www.peninsula.com/en/tokyo). I love this hotel ; The Shilla Seoul (www.shilla.net/seoul) is another treasure of a hotel—exquisite and excellent service; the Stamba Hotel (www.stambahotel.com) in Tbilisi Georgia. Wonderful hotel. My room had a brass bathtub that I had to experience at least twice a day.