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September 2 2014

styledotcom OMG. Remember this? Summer camp flashbacks in full force. stylem.ag/1sXQxWy pic.twitter.com/rJGfIx3sQF

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Of Clothes and Cats: Adrian Joffe and Simone Rocha Have a Heartfelt Chat in Love‘s Latest Issue

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Christy Love Cover

Simone Rocha may not have taken home the LVMH Prize, but the 27-year-old designer is in greater demand than ever. This month she’s poised (like Christopher Kane before her) to launch a collaboration with J Brand, and in Love‘s latest issue, she sits down with Comme des Garçons International president (and husband to designer Rei Kawakubo) Adrian Joffe. Joffe has been a staunch supporter since Rocha debuted her first collection with Fashion East back in 2010, and he also happens to have known the designer since she was a child. In the Q&A, moderated by Love editor Jack Sunnucks, Rocha and Joffe talk cultural identity, her “abysmal” academic performance, and the six dearly departed Joffe-Kawakubo cats. Also of note? The possibility that a Simone Rocha scent may just be hitting Dover Street Market shelves in the future.

An exclusive excerpt as well as a Patrick Demarchelier-lensed, Katie Grand-styled portrait of Rocha (sporting her own design) debuts below. To read the full interview, pick up Love Issue 12, as covered by Christy Turlington (shot by Inez & Vinoodh, and pictured above), Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, and Amy Adams. It hits newsstands July 28.

When Love joins Simone Rocha and Adrian Joffe, the pair are debating the very important topic of pets: Adrian has just revealed that he and his wife, Rei Kawakubo, used to have six cats at home in Japan.

Simone RochaAdrian Joffe: We liked cats, but there’s none left—they’re all gone. So nothing at the moment. But with traveling and everything it’s sad to leave animals alone, isn’t it?

Simone Rocha: That’s exactly what happened to me. We ended up moving around so much. They really need company.

AJ: Being half Chinese, half Irish—does that influence your work, do you think? Do you feel Chinese or Irish? Or does it not matter?

SR: I think it does matter. They’re so different. But one thing that is very important in both Irish culture and Chinese culture is family. So both my mum and dad have really big families and really important relationships with all their family. I love being Irish and not looking Irish, and I love going to Hong Kong and knowing that my granny lives there and my aunts and uncles, and I can go out and they’ll all speak Cantonese and play mah-jongg.

AJ: I’m guessing, though, that you don’t like to be referred to as Simone Rocha, the half-Chinese, half-Irish designer. That limits you, doesn’t it?

SR: I’d rather just be a designer. But I am very proud. I don’t mind being called an Irish designer, because a lot of people call me a British designer. I can feel the whole Ireland kicking off when that happens!

AJ: Do you remember your first memory of liking fashion? Was there one thing that set your love of fashion in motion?

SR: It actually just felt totally natural being around fashion, being around clothes. I absolutely love the smell of plastic bags—you know, when everything’s being hung up and shipped out.

I decided to do fine art originally, because I thought fashion would be a cliché. But after a year in college I’d done sculpture, ceramics, print—and then the very last discipline was fashion. And then I was like, Oh no, this is it—this is how I can translate my creativity.

I was actually a terrible student. I was abysmal in my B.A. None of my teachers thought I cared. And I didn’t. But I was still producing work, and there was obviously something in it!

AJ: You were having fun, I hope!

SR: That was the problem! I was having far too much fun—far too interested in socializing. But then I got in on the M.A., and around two weeks into it… Well, I’d never cared so much about something in my whole life.

AJ: So now you’ve done three shops with Dover Street. Can we do your perfume, too?

SR: That would be fabulous! I’d love that. I already know what it will smell like. Something real, but something really special.

Photos: Inez & Vinoodh (cover); Patrick Demarchelier (Simone Rocha)

Ali Hewson and Danielle Sherman Open Up About Edun’s Future

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Edun

Since launching Edun in 2005, Ali Hewson and husband Bono have been candid about the challenges they’ve faced in developing and maintaining a fashion brand—particularly one with an ambitious mandate to source materials and employ artisans across Africa. But then, when the name of your label is nude spelled backward, perhaps transparency is a given. While Edun has been partially owned by LVMH for the past five years, only recently, with the appointment of creative director Danielle Sherman in April 2013, has the brand come into its own. Shortly before guests arrived chez Bono for a three-part party hosted by MyTheresa.com to celebrate the company’s launch on the site, Sherman (formerly of Alexander Wang and The Row) and Hewson settled into an outdoor nook overlooking the Mediterranean to discuss the state of Edun today.

Danielle, you’ve just been made a member of the CFDA. What does that mean to you?
Danielle Sherman: I’m very lucky to be a part of that community now. It puts us on another platform. With Edun, so much of what we do is about a meeting of the minds. This is another way of connecting to a larger community.

Now that Danielle has two seasons behind her, how has the team settled into this new chapter at Edun?
Ali Hewson: I think Danielle has done an amazing job in rewriting us aesthetically and finding exactly how to work in Africa and how we produce. We’re now producing 85 percent in Africa, which was our goal from the beginning—we just could never really get there. But with Danielle’s commitment, we are there.

How did you finally reach this goal?
DS: It’s in the details. Everyone [in this industry] is creating and manufacturing stuff, but the details are what make things special. We do this by talking to the people who are making our clothing. But then also setting up a structure where they can understand our language—certain details like necklines—and then they can successfully achieve it. So it’s not like we just send packages away and then expect to get something back. The way we work at Edun and the factories we work with in Africa—it’s all extremely intimate.

Ali, how did you determine that Danielle would be a good fit?
AH: Bono and I met her in Switzerland at a hotel. We were on our way someplace; she came to see us, and we had an hour and a half together. But it was very clear to us just by meeting her that this was someone who was really going to think through every step of the process and who had the excitement and imagination to do the creative side. It kind of just oozes out of her; you can feel it. So we felt very confident once we met with Danielle—as if we found home.

How does access to artisanal techniques benefit the collections?
DS: Madagascar has a vast history of embroidery, for example. So if anything, it’s us going there and learning from them. That’s why we say it’s reciprocal—not purely a transfer of skills from our end or their end. When I visited last year, we were walking on a beach and saw some fishermen’s homes—essentially long leaves interwoven into honeycomb structures. It was so beautiful and so straightforward. Little things like that can inspire the total direction of a season.

Your most recent collection drew from your visit to the archives at the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris. But it hardly feels like a trip back in time. How do you keep the collections current?
DS: I think being a woman and being able to relate intimately to the clothing that you’re working with and that you’re wearing—you see something and you’re influenced by it. And then the way we like to interpret it is in a nuanced way, not an obvious way. When I went to the Musée du Quai Branly, I met with Héléne Joubert, who oversees the African textile archive, and the history is all there. The textiles that were really interesting to me were from North Africa, especially Morocco. They’re geometric and graphic and have a lot of stripes. That’s what gave me the idea to take something classic like a herringbone and intersect it with a stripe.

Danielle, you clearly have the basics figured out from your stints at Alexander Wang and The Row. Were the directional runway looks a challenge?
DS: I think in order to really push Edun and give it new direction creatively, we had to introduce more transformative or aspirational pieces. This took more time to develop because I needed to still relate to it in some capacity; it couldn’t be totally foreign. Nothing that we do is really fantastical or frivolous and there’s no excess. Everything is quite stripped down, very reduced to an essence. The stuff you see in the show is definitely stuff we have worked and reworked. But I read that Fitzgerald rewrote The Great Gatsby something like 76 times. And if he wrote that book 76 times, then I could redo this collection a few times. For Edun to be a viable and relevant brand, people need to relate and understand the core basics and classics, because that is the everyday. But people still need to get excited by something, and those pieces have to be what you see in the show.

With MyTheresa, are you after greater brand visibility and reach?
AH: Absolutely. And to introduce Danielle as the creative director of Edun internationally—to get people to understand and recognize who she is and what she does. MyTheresa really wants to support us. As Jens [Jens Riewenherm, MyTheresa's CEO] was saying to me earlier, “We’re not into a one-night stand; we’re into commitment.” Which is so important for us because we’re still a small brand working in Africa.

Have you been able to speak with clients and retailers about their opinions and expectations?
DS: That’s probably been one of the biggest challenges; we don’t have our own store, so we are relying on retailers to give us information. Justin [Justin O'Shea, MyTheresa's buying director] came in a few times and we’ve had conversations to understand his market and who his customer is, because it varies significantly from other dot-coms. And MyTheresa has such a unique angle. They’re the ones picking up those showpieces. I really like honesty. My mom and my sister talk about things a lot. Ali might say why she likes something or what she’s not into.

AH: Danielle is very open, which for a creative person, is amazing. She’s really open to what people think and what they want to wear and to making Edun a success. At the end of the day, you can have the most beautiful clothes, but if people don’t want to wear them, it’s not going to go anywhere. And the whole point of the mission is that we do sell clothes, and then the company grows and therefore we work more in Africa.

Do you find this is a motivator for you—that it gives the fashion another dimension?
DS: It’s unlike any experience I’ve had. I ask myself, How can I be tired when there’s a bigger hill to climb? It’s something that’s bigger than us. And that’s what this is about.

What will Edun look like in five years?
DS: I still think it will have its essence of purity, just by the way we tend to dress ourselves. It always feels honest and very real, and I hope it still has that. I think it will become more diverse, if anything. Our goal eventually is to enter into other categories, which will also fulfill the mission.

AH: It’s very exciting because you’re standing at the bottom of this thing and you don’t know quite how it’s going to grow. But you know it’s going to grow and it has huge potential and great energy moving forward, especially at the moment.

Is it important that Danielle shift the focus from a Bono/Ali story to Edun proper?
AH: We realized from the beginning that no matter what the mission, the aesthetic is the most important thing. Or else it’s not fashion and it’s not going to be a business. And it needs to be a business to achieve its mission. So the aesthetic is what makes it sustainable, and that’s where Danielle comes in.

Danielle, have Ali and Bono influenced the way you think about design?
DS: I have always loved to travel, but most of my research has been from books and things I get inspired by from my friends who are artists. Ali and Bono have shown me a whole other world that exists, and there’s so much incredible inspiration and so many people we have met and a culture I was more or less foreign to that I am starting to get to know. They also continue to encourage me to travel. Bono said to me, “You need to make time to dream.” What he meant is I really need to take that time to clear my head, and see something and have an experience—and then to bring it back to Edun and interpret it and translate it in some way that people can also experience.

Dressing for Fame: Emily Current and Meritt Elliott Talk Designing, Styling, and Making It Work

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If celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Emily Current and Meritt Elliot

Emily Current and Merritt Elliot You probably know stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliott from Current/Elliott, their namesake brand that launched a million boyfriend jeans. But before they were designers, they were stylists. And after they departed the label in 2012, Current and Elliott embarked on a journey chock-full of twists and turns that have helped them fine-tune their aesthetic. The women currently work on ad campaigns, editorials, and branded partnerships (their most recent collection for PBteen launched last week), and they even released a book dedicated to denim this past March. Counting Jessica Alba, Emma Roberts, and Mandy Moore as clients, Current and Elliott further their brand appeal with each new look they create. Here, the power pair speaks with Style.com about juggling design projects and celebrity clients, the aesthetic power of the stylist, and the challenges that come with dressing a new actress.

How did you two get into styling?
Meritt Elliott: We jumped from college into different parts of this industry. We worked for magazines and clothing companies, and we saw that the stylists had the most control in terms of being able to articulate and define a trend. It’s actually the physical part of going in and manipulating a garment or a shoe, and it just felt like the most tangible way to achieve what we wanted to see. We both love that hands-on feeling—we share that passion—and we became a team. So it was like, OK, this is the look you want us to do, and this is how we want it to be worn. We felt like stylists had the most power in that respect.

Why did you decide to try your hand at design, and what was it like going from styling to designing?
Emily Current: We were always in fittings and we were always kind of coming up empty when it came to relaxed bottoms and chilled-out denim pieces. A lot of what we were pulling at the time was really dressy. I think our transition into design was organic and it came out of styling—it came out of doing fittings and realizing that there was a hole in the market and that we had the ability to fill it.

As stylists, do you think it’s important to have your own recognizable aesthetic?
ME: It’s inevitable that you develop your own signature when you’re a stylist. I think it’s fifty-fifty—you have to read off of what the client needs or wants or what they’re aiming for, but I also think you have to bring a point of view, and that’s why you’re hired for a job. You’re not there purely to execute, but to bring an opinion. Over the past decade and a half, we’ve learned that it’s important to have an opinion, to speak up, to stand for something.

EC: I do think, though, that we really pride ourselves on sociologically diving into clients and figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and how to express their personalities through what they wear. So while our point of view and aesthetic is really important, it’s more about us being able to translate it through their needs.

Is it difficult catering to varying clients’ needs?
ME: I think, organizationally, it makes us understand a little bit more the full gamut of different needs, different designers, and different proportions. But that makes us better designers and better stylists, not being so one-sided. We love working with women with all different body types, needs, insecurities, and things they like to show off.

EC: We look at each client when we’re prepping for a fitting, and we sit there and put ourselves in their position, like this is a movie we’re promoting, it’s a sexier role, it’s a racier role, and then we look at what they have just worn and what they need to balance that out. We try and get into their headspace and what they need, and it’s always something different.

Do you ever feel a sense of pressure from critics, press, or fans?
ME: We’re not totally naive to the constant commentary going on and people having an opinion on best dressed and worst dressed, but I think we’ve evolved, and at this point in our lives, we care less. The good news is that the clients we work with don’t care that much either, and we love that about our client roster. We love that our brand philosophy is that there are no rules, and whether someone likes it or not doesn’t define whether it’s cool, new, or right for the moment.

Do you find your own partnerships and ventures detract from your styling or does it enhance what you’re doing?
ME: Schedule-wise, it’s hard to juggle. We have an amazing team that helps us. I think that they all hold hands, that we spend more time running all of these projects through our brand filter than anything else, and that exercise has helped us define who we are so much that now it’s easy and it’s much less of a discussion. It’s become such a joy whether we’re writing a book or designing a lamp or a pair of jeans. We now know exactly who our girl is and how [our product] needs to look and feel.

EC: I do think we split our brain into two sections. One is our own design projects, and everything goes through our brand filtering of what our point of view on design is. Then there’s a whole other side of our brain that we use for styling clients and consulting projects, where we go in and wear their hat and think, What does this brand need to build out a stronger business? or What does this client need to evolve within the fashion they’re wearing? So it’s two different hats that we wear.

What are some of the challenges that come along with being stylists?
EC: There are so many, but the one that comes to mind is when you take on a new client who is somewhat less well known, it’s a challenge to build their relationships with designers. When you’re working with someone new, it’s harder to pull the top designers and really vary who they’re wearing and how they’re wearing it.

ME: Along the same line are resources matching expectations. Sometimes a client will want something, whether it’s an advertising client or a celebrity client, and perhaps there isn’t the time or the budget or the availability. You’ve got to work with what you have. Sometimes we have a very narrow amount of resources, and we’re still expected to deliver, so we’re always challenging ourselves on how to be resourceful.

Photo: Getty Images

Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift: Summer Style Style Twins

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Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 14, 2014

Karlie Kloss has more in common with Taylor Swift than a new blond ‘do—it turns out the BFFs have a matching weekend uniform, too. Spotted at Sarabeth’s in Tribeca, their off-duty style seems to consist of simple T-shirts, ladylike black bags, and—what else?—denim. Swift opted for distressed cutoffs, while Kloss gave us serious white jean envy. Both looks epitomized a laid-back summer vibe. For more style inspiration, you can check out our favorite cutoff moments and today’s brand-new shopping guide dedicated to another summer favorite: chambray shirts.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 14, 2014

Photo: Raymond Hall/GC Images

Dressing for Fame: Stylist and A.L.C. Designer Andrea Lieberman on What Women Want

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andrea-liebermanIf celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Andrea Lieberman is a rare breed of stylist. A success story at styling, no doubt (she put J.Lo on the map in that plunging Versace at the Grammys), Lieberman harnessed that success into A.L.C., her well-received contemporary collection that seems to set the standard of cool season after season. With one foot still delicately placed in the world of styling and one firmly planted in design, the stylist-slash-designer talks exclusively to Style.com about going through the Valentino archives, her friend Arianne Phillips, working with J.Lo, and more.

You’ve done a lot of work styling music artists. Is there anything about styling for music artists that you’ve found different from styling celebrities in general?
My background was always very much a music background. For me, I really enjoyed that collaborative effort and creating a whole image, like an art director. It was more about collaborating on their image and touring and costuming and just really creating a look to go along with the vibe of where the album was.

What compelled you to start designing?
I immersed myself at a young age growing up in New York in the world of fashion, whether it was internships to retail to helping out friends who were stylists. Arianne Phillips is a very dear friend and has always been a huge inspiration of mine. I remember when I met her when we were both young and hanging out in New York. She was one of the first people I knew who worked on music, so she was quite inspiring. In terms of when I made the decision, it was just organic for me, and it felt right at that time in my life. I had a great time styling for ten years, and it was time for me to start a family and shake things up.

Do you think your styling career has informed your design career and vice versa?
As a stylist, you understand women and their wardrobe needs. Whether it’s an artist or a more average person, how they take things from the runway and make it a reality is an interesting thing. That’s how people actually wear things, and I think that’s why there’s been so many street-style blogs. I understand the emotional connection of women getting dressed, what makes them feel good, and what they put on to say, “This makes me feel good, this is what makes me feel strong.” I think from dressing women who were not models, you understand this emotion.

You’re well known for certain looks that you dressed your clients in. Is there one that sticks out to you as your favorite red-carpet moment?
For me, there are quieter moments that might not have gotten attention like the other moments. I had access to the Valentino archives for the Oscars one year (when there was no red carpet) and dressed Jennifer Lopez in a beautiful mint green Valentino dress that [had been] worn by Jackie O. That was a majorly beautiful moment. And I worked with Fred Leighton, and we made these amazing maharaja-inspired earrings out of all platinum and diamonds.

Do you want to be remembered or regarded as a stylist or a designer? Or both?
I just want to be present. Obviously, both. Styling was a really important part of my journey, but maybe I’ll be remembered for the next thing that I do.