MEET OUR HEAD DESIGNER:
March 18, 2016
Born and bred in Manchester, England. Landing at St. John in 2006 and taking the helm as Head
Designer in 2012.
“I have always loved fashion and art, drawing and painting.”
“Each season we are inspired by the colors, textiles and
cultures of different countries.”
I have always loved fashion and art, drawing and painting. Very much against my father’s wishes, I decided to go to art school. I did what is called a ‘foundation course’ in the UK where you try all different artistic mediums such as sculpture, fine art, textiles, graphics etc. I ultimately chose fashion.
Where did you study fashion design?
I was accepted at the prestigious Central St. Martins School of Art in London for a three-year bachelor course and stayed on for an extra two years and got my masters. I graduated and got a job in Milan, intending to stay only six months, as I didn’t speak Italian – I ended up staying 13 years working for many women’s luxury brands, almost always as a consultant.
How do influences from your personal life find their way into your work?
I am deeply inspired by my personal surroundings. I’m a big fan of mid-century modern architecture. My partner and I recently bought a home here in Southern California. We had always lived by the beach until we became aware of the mid-century Eichler communities. We ended up buying a 1962 original Eichler post and beam house, which coincidentally was already renovated to our taste, although we have a couple of big projects still to complete. We are adjacent to the old town of Orange – which has the Victorian and Arts and Crafts houses and antique stores – it reminds me a little of being in Europe. We also have a lot of color in our home with my son’s artwork and his energy constantly keeps me on my toes!
What is the biggest thing you are fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
The creative team is most inspired when we have a really strong theme to work for our collections. We love to travel the world each season (virtually, unfortunately, due to how busy we are) and are inspired by the colors, textiles and cultures of different countries.
What advice would you give to young designers?
My advice would to be very strategic which brands you approach and work for at the beginning of your career, as it will really set the tone and path of your whole career. It’s easy to be pigeonholed into one section of the fashion business i.e. commercial vs high-end luxury and not be considered for certain jobs, no matter how talented you are.
“We have a lot of color in our home with my son’s artwork and
his energy constantly keeps me on my toes!”
What is your motto?
“Hope for the best, expect the worst, take what comes!”
What is your connection to England today?
Obviously my family is still there and many of my good friends. Workload permitting, I will try to get back at least once a year. I’m excited to return to London in May for a personal appearance at Harrods, one of our largest European accounts. I will stay on for a few extra days to take in some exhibitions, shop the stores and visit galleries to get inspired and recharge my creative batteries.
Is there any place in the world you haven’t been to yet but would like to from a professional perspective?
Luckily, through my job over the years I have visited almost everywhere. I have never visited Australia and would be curious to see if there are opportunities there for our brand. I would find that really exciting.
Do you prefer the beach/mountains or snow?
I’m a beach person. I’m a terrible skier and am not a fan of the cold.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have a uniform – button down shirt, navy or black v-neck sweater, jeans and a scarf. I think about clothes and outfits all day long. In the morning I really don’t want to look at my closet and have to think about what outfit I should wear that day! So having a uniform works great for me.
What is your ultimate luxury?
Having the free time to spend with my family and friends and in particular, my 3-year-old son, who I swear, grows overnight.
How do you take your coffee?
Strong, with milk and no sugar.
If you weren’t a designer, you would be?
Unemployed, as I really can’t do anything else!
Your spirit emoji is….
Who is the St. John woman?
The St. John woman is powerful, collaborative, empathetic and unconventional. These are women who lead rich, busy lives and are never idle or passive. I am proud to design clothes for this woman.
What are the five pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe this season?
“A great fringed topper paired with a dress in a light color is essential to building a wardrobe. The topper can be great worn back to a beautiful silk blouse and chic slim pant. While the dress is a staple all on its own.” Shop the look: Topper, Dress.