Lori Goldstein Won’t Be A Train Wreck For Your Viewing Pleasure
Lori Goldstein is the ultimate fashion insider. It’s not just that she’s outfitted Madonna or been the fashion whisperer to Donatella Versace or created to-die-for iconic images with Steven Meisel and Annie Leibovitz in the course of her career. (Though we still swoon over the Versace campaign from 2000 that Jay Jopling deemed gallery-worthy for White Cube.) It’s that in today’s full-exposure world, Goldstein plies her trade in an Oz-like, behind-the-scenes manner, backstage at Vera Wang or Carolina Herrera. That’s why I did a double take reading about her QVC line LOGO, a project started last season and now in very full swing. But if you ask Goldstein, LOGO isn’t about making her name but rather sharing the vast body of knowledge she’s amassed over the years. Trust us, it’s positively oceanic. Her collection, shown on the runway at Bryant Park on September 12, sold out in a mere 20 minutes, but Goldstein will be on QVC tonight at 8 p.m. Here, she talks to Style.com about reality shows, Jackie Susann, and fashion’s new frontier.
How would you describe the ethos of LOGO? It sounds like there are a lot of things with styling leeway, the jewelry and the detachable floral pins.
It’s really about having fun with clothes. We have to get dressed every day. It’s really not about price point. It really never has been for me. I happen to be obsessed with beautiful, expensive things. That’s always been my thing. Our aesthetic was never really available. So I just wanted to do that. It’s really how you put clothes together. It’s giving yourself freedom and permission to do different things, like mix print and color. And then the whole pin thing and the whole detachable thing, I love that whole two-fer idea.
And it’s sort of what you do: see something on a table and have the freedom to think, “That necklace would make a great headband.”
That’s exactly what I do as a stylist when I’m doing a shoot, and it’s really what I do as a consultant for a designer. So many times I’ll come in and because I don’t have a design background, I’ll see something in a totally different way. I’ll be like “Oh my God, that fabric will be amazing as a jacket.” And they’ll say, “Oh, it’s too thin.” And I’ll say, “Are you sure?” And then, you know, you try things. That’s how it all gets started. It’s kind of what this whole philosophy is. You can take all these pieces and play with them in different ways. That’s why it was so important to have a bag and have a shoe and have a scarf, and not just have clothing.
Compared to doing a massive Italian Vogue shoot with Meisel or the crazy pressure of styling a show, it seems like putting this together might be kind of fun. Is that a fair assessment?
It is fun. Those are fun, too. I’ve learned over the years to trust my instincts and that’s really a great thing. I am having fun with this because for the first time, it’s like “OK, I love these colors together. Let’s do that.” Instead of thinking, “Does this designer like that?” And that’s fine. I love getting inside the heads of good designers that I work with. But this has been kind of freeing. There’s no one to say, “Well, that’s not me.” That part has been really great.
You did the TV thing first in February. How did you find that?
I loved it. It’s funny, one of the biggest reasons I did this was the challenge of being in front of the camera. I am such a behind-the-scenes person.
You’re the über-behind-the-scenes person.
Yeah. I don’t like to be out there. But I also do like to challenge myself on a spiritual level. When this whole thing came about, it was like: OK, what’s my biggest fear? Being in front of the camera. So, here you go. What I’ve learned is that I kind of really love it. What’s fun about QVC is that you’re totally talking to that customer. It’s so different from having this vision in clothing or whatever you’re doing and putting it in a store and hoping that somebody’s going to relate to it. I get to really talk about how I see these clothes being worn and to listen to what they have to say. You know, they have that whole thing of writing back and giving their opinions. It’s fascinating.
What are some of the things that you’ve heard or read?
Oh, it’s everything from “Oh my God, these clothes have changed my life. I can’t wait until Lori is back on” to “I don’t like a thin T-shirt. I don’t understand it.” And of course I love a thin T-shirt because I love to layer. But you don’t get to say that if your customer in a store.
And it’s not the most exciting thing to express through a photo shoot.
Yeah, we don’t really love the how-tos.
We love the dream at Tony Duquette’s house.
That was my favorite.
Mine too. Of course, along with the Versace Jackie Susann campaign.
What can you say? Those were the days.
Are there certain images that stay with you the most? Or that get commented on the most?
Well, the Versace ads are something that people always refer to. I could talk about that all day long because it was just everything that I live for. It was a moment where it all converged. I started working with Steven [Meisel] again. I had worked for Allure so we hadn’t been working together. It just kind of happened. The thought process is never, “How can we make this happen?” I’m really of the school of “Let’s just go for it.” That was just this magical convergence of Donatella asking me to work with her, Steven doing the campaign, us starting to work for Italian Vogue again and me being obsessed with Jacqueline Susann again. I had been obsessed with her since the seventh grade in Ohio. And not to sound corny, but everything I just said about that is what has happened with QVC. It wasn’t like we were totally pursuing it. IMG was really talking to them about the tents and I was there. I met the right people to make these clothes. That’s how these things happen.
Now that you’re comfortable being on TV, would you ever consider a reality show?
[Laughs.] There’s a couple things about that. It’s not my goal. I think it’s a vehicle for a lot of people with a certain goal and that’s not my goal. I definitely am a kook and there’s so many times that I think we need a camera here because we’re so insane. Yes, if there was a great message to get across. Nate Berkus is a friend of mine. I love what he does with Oprah. He just did this whole thing with an animal shelter down in Texas and he did a giveaway with me where someone gets to come up here and shop. I love giving back in that way. I never say never but it’s so crazy with everything that’s on right now. I’d hate to be a train wreck for someone’s delight.
Do you watch those shows? The Rachel Zoe Project and all the competition shows?
I do watch a few of them. There are some that I can get obsessed with, yes.
But you won’t name names?
A good stylist plays a very key role in creating something, but it’s so ephemeral because your name doesn’t stay attached. It’s always the designer or photographer. Is that something you’ve had to reconcile yourself with or is it just part of the deal?
It is part of the deal, but I don’t think it’s fair. You know, it’s crazy. I don’t own my work. I mean, we all started and we all just did our thing. This whole business just grew organically and took on a life of its own. A lot of times it does make me sad or frustrated when I know what a big part I had in things and I don’t really get the credit. I mean, if they talk about Demi Moore’s naked cover with the big diamond ring one more time! You know how hard it was to find a diamond that size back then? Graff didn’t exist. I was in some funky little old jewelry store inside a department store than doesn’t even exist anymore in Beverly Hills, trying to find a diamond. It’s very strange. But here we are.
Are you a bit mystified by the access to fashion that exists now?
I’m not mystified. I mean, it’s definitely a new frontier out there. It’s not just fashion. Everything was so small and insular in its day, and the more technology grew, it’s just what happened. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s definitely a different thing. You know, when I was working with Madonna, which was quite a while ago, people would not lend me clothes unless I gave a credit. They would really only loan for editorial. But now, if you pick up someone on the street and they say they’re going to be in front of a camera, you can get them clothes.
Because someone somewhere will talk about it in print.
Someone somewhere will talk about it and that’s really what it’s come down to. But I’m still in it for the love of clothes. I always love the people who are really talented. I still love it for what it was but I get what it is now. God bless everyone who wants to be in it. I love that everyone is obsessed with fashion. I think it’s such a great part of our lives. We do have to get dressed everyday and it’s something that should be really joyful. God knows what’s going to happen during the rest of the day. You might as well have fun in your closet.
Have you worked with Steven Meisel recently?
I just did a story with Steven for the October issue of Italian Vogue. All I can say is that I live for him, I love him. There’s no one like him. He’s just unbelievable. I’m so inspired when I work with him I want to pull in every single piece of everything, find every new young designer. He just loves to see what young people are doing, what talented people are doing. We just marvel at every little piece that I bring in. He’s like, ‘Where did you find that?’ And I love that. I love being inspired like that.
What’s the story about?
It’s just a Steven and Lori story, a bakookle Steven and Lori story. We just did fashion and there’s really no theme. We’re in a club but it’s just the piling-on, the bakookleness, the great girls that we love.
Is QVC a long-term deal?
I hope it will be. And it’s not just about the recession. For me, I’ve never been about designer head-to-toe. It’s just as exciting to find something for $20 as it is to find the $2,200 Comme des Garçons coat I had to buy on Saturday. What can you say? I needed that blanket coat. For me, one will never negate the other. For someone who’s never had the rush of the Comme coat, let them have the rush of buying something they love just as much. That I love.