You know what’s the only thing better than listening to Anna Dello Russo speak? Listening to Anna Dello Russo speak in person. Which is why we got giddy when the opportunity to interview our favorite fashion alien fell conveniently between Fashion Week appointments and into our laps.
Dello Russo, in case you hadn’t heard, is Macy’s INC first Editor at Large, which more or less involved styling the private label brand’s fall campaign and giving style tips to Macy’s customers — you can see behind the scenes videos of her doing just that here. Herein, the stylist and fashion editor talks about everything from her work with Macy’s to her desire to exhibit her massive collection of clothes — and she address that whole ugly “You were trying to make Crystal Renn look Japanese by taping her eyes!” story.
What did you want to accomplish working with Macy’s?
The idea of doing this collaboration was keeping this quality high, like all my life and my relationship with the magazines. And then I was thinking, yes we can do that, but it has to be done with the same quality as that one. That’s the secret. The camaign reflected this way, fun, color, not be serious, but be strong, as fashion is.
You’ve been working with the world’s best designers for your entire career. Was it more difficult to style a campaign with clothes from a mass market brand?
It was not that difficult because the approach was similar. Always we invent a world, we invent a story about fashion, about the clothes. What I say always about fashion is that it’s not the clothes. It’s all the world, and the clothes carry it. I was important to keep my team. Because if you work with your team generally, you a;lready know how you can buld the situation. That was really important. To keep a high team, high level, high quality.
Was this collaboration a way for you to see what it would be like to design your own collection?
I always say, so far no. I respect designer’s work. It’s a long long concept. They take six months to do a good collection. It’s a full time job. I don’t like to design clothes, roughly. If I ever design a collection, it will be properly. It will be a proper job. So far this hasn’t happened.
Do you have any plans to show your own large archive of clothing?
I love that. Because it’s a big collection, mine, and I would love to do an exhibition of that. Because it’s all about pret-a-porter. I started collecting clothes this was the middle of the seventies. Then I have 25 years of pret-a-porter … If a big American instittuion wants to do it, just call me.
Do you think more traditional journalists will start working with brands like Macy’s in the future?
When something happens, it’s not by chance. It’s now. It’s in the hair, it’s society. For example, Carine [Roitfeld] doing this big collaboration with Barneys. We see Vanessa Traina with Maje. Margherita Missoni and Target, for example. All this season, you believe it or not, all now, it’s just an example of a different kind of communication. There will be more and more. Now of course it will open a door. It’s a new thing.
Fashion week starts tomorrow. What are your rules for getting through the week?
The rules for the fashion week is: Full of energy. Don’t complain. I hate the people who say, “Oh, I’m tired, we have a hundred shows to see.” … We are a miracle. I mean, we are so spoiled, we are so privileged. To see it is like a jump on Disneyland. We’re going to see all the new stuff! And that’s a privilege. Because so many people worked for six months to create this new show, this new spectacle, this new lot of fashion. Then we have to be really proud of being a part of this process. Not complain, full of engergy. Dress up yourself, because it’s a big fashion show. Fashion has to be like that. Everyone is part of this process. A little example can be very contagious. Everyone is part of this miracle. We see a lot of new things. Between the fashion, after the fashion, outside the fashion, you will get a lot of inspiration. You know what I mean?
You credit the blogosphere with your newfound fame. What blogs do you read everyday?
I have blogroll in my blog. I have a long list of blogs. But everyday I go to Style.com. In the morning I open it. That’s like my fashion news, every day. But I see many blogs, like Sartorialist, Garance, Jak and Jill, Vogue.it, Grazia UK. I love Grazia UK. All friend of mine. Then, who else I see. Street Fashion, also is a friend of mine. Bryan Boy, every day. Tavi. Because if you want do blog, you have to see what’s going on. You have to keep in contact with them. You cannot be outside. It’s part of a connection.
Speaking of connections, you’ve worked for publications all over the world. How many languages do you speak?
English, not well. No, because when I see the video, I thought, “My English is terrible!” Because my pronunciation is terrible! But I speak any language bad, because it’s OK. Italians doesn’t speak so well the language. Japanese speak many languages. Karolina Kurkova (who stars in the Macy’s INC campaign), she’s five languages correctly. All the people from the east. Italians … no. But I don’t care. I invent it. I speak what I speak. It try to make contact with people. That’s what’s important.
Male, let’s say, not bad — English, French, Italian. Not that bad. But not many.
Finally, some people accused you of trying to make Crystal Renn look Asian for an upcoming spread in Vogue Nippon. Is that what you were trying to do when you taped her eyes?
It was not to make her look Asian. That’s a typical beauty trick to make a cinematographic eye. I learned this from a makeup artist from Hollywood movie stars. He used this when he did something in a movie, to make a little bit of a kind of cinematographic eyes. SO many people asked me, “Why you don’t use Japanese?” I don’t want to use Japanese. She was looking like … like Sophia Loren. You know when you put eyeliner, eyelash. And she loved that.
Behind the scenes, you always want to create some dialiectic in your fashion. That’s why I put the behind the scenes what make people talking. But sometimes people talk about something crazy, just to make a little heavy. I don’t pretend to transform a European girl into a Japanese girl. This was just a beauty tips.
And there you have it. Just a beauty tips. If you’re in New York for Fashion’s Night Out, you might be able to snag a glimpse of Dello Russo at Macy’s Herald Square flagship store tomorrow night.