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Gail Elliott

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FASHION FUTURE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

American designer Gail Elliott who now calls Australia her home talks of timeless style, her lable Little Joe and her fashion journey.

Describe your style or collection

“I’d like to think of my style as being casual, cool, easy, effortlessly sexy, slightly glam and chic !

How and why you entered fashion Industry-

“I entered the fashion industry as a model in the late 1980’s shooting for Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle etc and doing fashion shows and print campaigns for all the designers you can think of…Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaia, Donna Karen, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Prada and many more.

Where did the journey into fashion design begin for you?

“We started our clothing company Little Joe – Woman in 2002, in New York. I’d been living there for 24 years and was modeling and it just felt like a natural extension to the career I’d had all my adult life.

Who has influenced you most in your life?

“I’ve been influenced by many people in my life. My husband, my family and my friends. I’ve also been influenced by people I’ve worked with over the years…all the incredibly talented designers, photographers and stylists I’ve had the pleasure of working with for many years have taught me a lot about style, travel and life in general.”

1. Why is it so rewarding to be a leading Fashion Designer?

“It’s rewarding to be a respected fashion designer because I love clothing, design and beautiful things. People often would and still do ask me what I’m wearing and it’s great to be able to share my clothing with them now. It’s a huge rush to see someone wearing something you’ve designed and produced and also to see how others put Little Joe - Woman designs together in their own stylish way.”

2. Where do you get your inspirations from?

“My inspiration comes from my life, the countries I travel to, the people I meet,the conversations I have with people and what I feel I’d like to have in my wardrobe the following season.”

3. What has been your greatest achievement?

“My greatest achievement has been my 12 year marriage to my husband Joe Coffey. He is also my business partner and runs Little Joe – Woman. It’s a great achievement not only that we’ve been together for 15 years but that we work together everyday sharing our head office as well as the highs and lows of running a company with 7 stores which can be challenging but we seem to make it work well.”

4. What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

There are various challenges that come about everyday, some are simple and others more complicated. Depending on what they are, I deal with them all in different ways. For instance, moving to Australia was a challenge to begin with as I didn’t know many people. You drive on the opposite side of the road, I got lost all the time, I missed my family and friends, Australia’s very far away from the part of the world I was used to and grew up in but after being here for almost 5 years, I love it! I love our life here in such a beautiful part of the world and living at our Bondi apartment overlooking the ocean with Fletcher and Miss Biggie our Maltese Poodle Terriers….”

5. Whose style do you most admire?

“I admire the styles of many people but right now the people I feel are stylish are Carinne Rotfield (French Vogue editor), Karin Upton Baker (Hermes Australia), Kate Moss and Christian Liaigre (furniture designer).

6. What changes in your business, if any, have you made to adapt to the current economic climate?

“The changes we’ve made to the business with the current economic climate are that we’ve become even more aware of what the Little Joe – Woman customer wants. We’ve always been very aware but now it’s even more important. Next week, November 20th we’ll open our 7th Little Joe – Woman store, this one’s in Chadstone, Melbourne so in terms of the business, it’s still growing despite the economic climate but we are definitely more aware of our customer’s needs.”

7. Divulge the fashion piece that you couldn't live without?

“The fashion piece I couldn’t live without changes all the time but today would have to be our Little Joe – Woman silk chiffon Concorde Dress in cream, my Balenciaga bag in grey and a pair of super high Prada shoes recently given to me by a friend and my favorite Elle Macpherson Intimates lace bra.”

8. What is your worst fashion faux pas?

“I wouldn’t say it’s a faux pas exactly but it’s something I certainly wouldn’t be doing now. We used to do all the Azzedine Alaia fashon shows for years and years and had so many beautiful but terribly short Alaia outfits and super tight leggings that we’d wear all over town. We’d be checking in at airports, going to rock concerts and running around New York in these teeny tiny clothes which seemed completely natural at the time but I probably wouldn’t do it now although I still have close to 175 pieces of Alaia…!!”

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

“In 5 years the plan is to build the business from our existing 7 stores to 12-15 Little Joe – Woman stores throughout Australia as well as a strong wholesale and internet business.”

10.  What advice can you offer to emerging fashion designers?

“My advice to emerging fashion designers is to be smart in business as well as in design. It’s not enough to design a beautiful collection, you need to know what’s going on with every aspect of your business. You also need to know what your customer wants from you.”

11. Gail’s ‘HOT TIPS’ –“Little Joe – Woman, Laurent Perrier Champagne, anything from La Mer, Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island – and ENJOY !!!….xxx ”

 

 

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