She's here! She's here! Nina Garcia talks and she's got lots to say with plenty of style. The Project Runway judge and Elle fashion director, answers a few of my questions and then lets Coquette readers take the spotlight by answering each of their curious questions from fashion tips to Project Runway. Enjoy!
Natalie: What inspired you to write your book, The Little Black Book of Style?
Nina: People often come up to me and ask questions on style, shopping, trends etc. I realized that fashion is an overwhelming and mysterious feat for many women and that there was a need for a manual that did not dictate fashion or emphasize trends but could be used as a platform to build one's own personal style. I approached The Little Black Book of Style as a fashion-insider, editor and woman to hopefully create an all encompassing Style 101 cheat sheet that women can draw inspiration from.
Natalie: Who are some of the up and coming fashion designers you like that we should know about?
Natalie: What are your thoughts on how technology is influencing the fashion world, or is it at all, in your opinion?
Nina: I think that technology is absolutely influencing the fashion world in many ways. Designers are incorporating technology in the treatment of their fabrics. For the Spring shows, Dries Van Noten designed the entire collection on white silk fabric and after the pieces were constructed he printed the pattern on the garment seamlessly blending two contrasting patterns together. Prada, as well, uses technology to treat fabrics. For example, this fall season she sprayed mohair sweaters and skirts to manipulate the original fabric into a completely different texture. I also see the influence of technology on the fashion world with the Internet. With websites that show the collections moments that they get off the runway it has really changed the face of retail and trends are dissipated on an accessible level faster than ever which challenges high-end designers to create garments that are more specialized. This more artistic treatment of fashion was a major trend that emerged for spring.
Natalie: Now that you have your blog on the Project Runway site, how are you enjoying becoming a blogger yourself?
I live for it! Being able to blog each week and viewing the episodes for the first time has been an incredible way for me to keep in touch with Project Runway fans. I love to see how people view the challenges, the designs, the personalities and the outcome of each episode! I also love when they ask me questions its great to interact with the bloggers.
Nina answers to Coquette readers:
1. Could you offer a bit of advice on where to begin on how to consider a career switch into fashion retail buying at 24? -Rebecca
Nina: Hi Rebecca. You have a great education behind you that will be useful in all areas of your life but my best recommendation for entering a job in retail buying is to apply for a job in a store that you are interested in-and really like the merchandise the store has to offer. Starting off on the floor is the best way to understand retail merchandising, the store's clientele and their buying patterns. From there you get acquainted with the corporate office and move up from there.
2. I'm curious who your favorite designers are and what eras from fashion history might be and why? –Jennifer
Nina: Hi Jennifer. It is hard for me to choose a favorite designer. There are so many designers that I love and others that my affections change from season to season. But my favorite era in fashion history is 1970's, think Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent. I love his mix of ethnic references, safari jackets and, of course, Le Smoking suit.
3. I would love to know which challenge on Project Runway has been one of your favorites and why? Also what's your favorite trend this fall? -Christina
Nina: Hi Christina. One of my all time favorite Project Runway episodes is when the contestants had to construct a garment entirely out of items from the flower market. The designers amazed me with their boundless creativity and made such realistic beautiful pieces that I wanted to wear them myself! My favorite trend for Fall that I cannot get enough of is the return of the jacket. It pulls together any look.
4. Does you believe that fashion is cyclical in nature or does it evolve more organically from aesthetic and cultural influences of the moment? If it is cyclical, what do you think is the next big look? Also, is there a single item or outfit that is truly classic and timeless other than the Chanel suit or little black dress? Finally, who is your biggest style icon/inspiration when growing up? –Nancy
Nina: Hi Nancy. I think everything is cyclical, especially fashion. For spring, a main trend on the runways was minimalism. Essentially, I think that more designers were motivated to move towards a cleaner toned down aesthetic as a reaction to other collections that are more opulent and styled. The single item that I think is truly classic, besides the little black dress and Chanel suit, would have to be a great tailored tuxedo for a woman. Finally, my biggest style icon/inspiration growing up, and of all time, is my mother.
5. What are some of your favorite movies that have the best costume designs that you admire? Do you care that Marc Jacobs has been upsetting the press non-stop with uber-late fashion shows and Project-Runway-esque drama queen hissy fits? Which Project Runway contestant who didn't win from any of the seasons are you most excited to see do something with their talent? -Bonnie
Nina: Hi Bonnie. My favorite movies/costume design that I admire are The Thomas Crown Affair with Faye Dunaway, Belle du Jour and Funny Face. In response to the press more recent criticism of Marc Jacobs tardy fashion show, I believe that all good things come to those who wait, and I love Marc and will wait. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing the works of Daniel V., Laura Bennett and Uli from Project Runway.
6. Does the designer's look affect how they're judged? Like if they show up to the runway challenge looking super-style, maybe even reflecting or complimenting hat week's design, do you think that helps their chances of winning the challenge? –Kate
Nina: Hi Kate. I think that they way one puts themselves together is important as this is a business where you need to not only sell your designs but ultimately sell yourself. But in the end, it does not matter if you have exquisite personal style if you do not have the talent to back it up.
7. In the finale of last season's Project Runway it seemed like Uli's designs had more commercial appeal, while Jeffrey's designs were more avant garde. How much do you factor in potential commercial appeal when deciding on your top pick? –Celiana
Nina: Hi Celiana. Being avant garde and having commercial appeal are two very important elements of a successful collections. In consideration to the winner of last season's Project Runway, one factor that influences my judging is if the designer is on par with what is going on in the industry. To me Jeffrey had a refreshing collection that was modern, relevant and avant garde which is why I chose him as the winner in the end.
8. I live in a place where we experience the extremes of all four seasons. I feel like I am always one step behind on fashion because I have to prepare for the coldest and hottest weather. How can I keep my wardrobe up with current trends and weather extremes without breaking the bank? –Danielle
Nina: Hi Danielle. This is a great question as we are beginning the long cold months of winter, it is a challenge to be fashionable and functional while at a price. But I think that there are great options this season that will keep you warm and stylish. We have seen many sporty down coats that this season. Whether cinched at the waist or with a fur hood, we have seen them at a variety of price points. I also recommend shopping at Uniqlo. They have the best cashmere sweaters, in every color of the rainbow and every style, at astonishing prices! I am obsessed. For summer, I love going to stores like H&M, Zara and J.Crew for simple sun dresses which I pair with ballet flats that keep you cool while looking ultra chic.
9. I am always super impressed with Nina's astute observations about the designer's creations on Project Runway and about fashion in general as noted in Elle Magazine. What are the primary things that influence your fashion sense and likes/dislikes? -Sarah.
Nina: Hi Sarah. My sources of inspiration are film, art, music, history, icons of fashion and street style.
Thank you Nina for taking the time to answer questions on Coquette! We wish you continued success and look forward to watching your style opinions each week on Project Runway this season.
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