05 September 2011

Katie Grand Talks Marc, Galliano and Helena Bonham Carter!

We can't get enough of super-stylist and Love editor Katie Grand here at Grazia Daily HQ - how could we? - so we kick-started our Monday morning by re-reading her interview for yesterday's Telegraph. We think a strong dose of fashion with your second tea of the day keeps those Monday blues away so here's what Katie had to say on...well, everything from her work with designers like Marc Jacobs on Louis Vuitton and Giles Deacon at Ungaro, her latest covers for Love magazine and the workload that designers like John Galliano have to manage. Oh, and did we mention there's mention of her wardrobe(s)?

First, what does a typical Katie Grand schedule look like? We find out that 'after a weekend in Madrid working with the leather brand Loewe, a day in Paris with Marc Jacobs, the creative director of Louis Vuitton, an evening in London with her husband, the musician Steve Mackey (currently on tour with his band Pulp), and a return trip to Paris with the designer Giles Deacon to work at Emanuel Ungaro, where he is creative director - she popped into Azzedine Alaïa's boutique.' All pretty hectic and tiring but then...'he happened to be hanging out, naturellement, with Grace Jones and Grand ended up ensconced in Alaïa's apartment watching footage of his couture show, with Jones drinking red wine and rising to her feet in applause now and again to exclaim, "I die! I die!"' Nice.

Katie, of course, styled the Marc Jacobs campaign with Helena Queen of Our Hearts Bonham Carter so whose stroke of genius was it to feature her? Not Katie's, as it turns out. 'No, it was all Marc,' she says. 'He became obsessed with her after she wore two different shoes to the Oscars last February. Even before the clothes were finished he knew he wanted to use her. Before the shoot he just sent me a BBM [BlackBerry Message] to remind me to use odd shoes. And then I used the odd gloves. And then Helena wanted to wear them backwards…' Well, of course she did! But how does the discussion on what to do next between two of fashion's most creative minds even begin each season? 'Well, Marc and I will sort of BBM each other…He'll say, "What are you thinking?" And I'll say, "Dunno. But I quite like white..."'

So, ok - what about Grand's grand wardrobe of which she admits to feeling 'very guilty' about? This gem of a tidbit says a lot, we think. Before Katie's assistant left recently, she handed her a floorplan of the house so that 'Grand would be able to locate all her clothes. Her bedroom and the entire second floor are taken up with an alphabetised archive, including "a few" couture suits and coats from the 1950s and 1960s, shoes, bags, many pairs of jeans and "a quite good collection" of army surplus and "stuff from when I started shopping. I started buying Prada when I worked for them but I mean huge quantities."' A floorplan?!!! Is it any surprise that 'a museum has requested to view parts of the archive'? Nope, we thought not.

Joking with Mr Jacobs aside, Katie works with some of the biggest names in fashion so how does she approach her role? She says what she offers is 'sympathy! There's a very big team of people and a lot of money being spent on getting those collections together. If you're working with a new client you can't just come in and rip it apart. As a stylist or a consultant you're just there to help. It's the designer who has to come out at the end of the catwalk and take responsibility. Fashion is an art and it's the only art where you have to produce something to a schedule that isn't your schedule,' she says. 'Much as record companies would like Adele to put out another record next year, that's up to her.'

Does she think that the ever-increasing workload for designers nowadays is manageable? 'That's a phenomenal amount of work even with the best teams in the world. You're still looking at everything and you're still involved in every part. You're still checking whether you like the heel on a shoe or should it be a platform? Those decisions come down to you. Also, it's not your money, so ultimately you're beholden to a company that needs to keep its profits up.' With talk of Jacobs moving chez Dior to replace Galliano gaining momentum every day, what's her view on what happened? 'I don't know John Galliano but when he started out it was all completely different. He probably didn't ever think he'd be dealing with handbags or jewellery. I mean, his college collection was a load of twigs in the hair; that was as far as it got.' She continues, 'I'm not saying what happened was right. That obviously is a separate issue. I'm just saying it can't have been easy being him. It's taken Marc quite a long time to…enjoy it, almost. He's got his head in a place where he can deal with the pressure and [knows] how to get through it. Lee [McQueen] obviously didn't, which is a great shame. You just end up thinking if things had been different maybe that wouldn't have happened.'

With only a few days left until the fashion machine goes into hyper-mode, what will we find Katie doing at 3 in the morning on a pre-show night? Making sure shoes fit, handing Carmen Kass a glass of champagne, playing the right song when everyone's flagging. 'They've all been working a lot harder than you have and this has gone on for months,' she says. 'I just come in and out. I have the nice bit.' She makes it all seem so easy, doesn't she?

 

-- Kiki Georgiou


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