Monday, 14 December 2009

Fashion's Most Wanted - Katie Grand Interview

Photograph by Duncan Ord

Katie Grand

Editor-in-Chief of LOVE Magazine
and Stylist Extraordinaire


Katie was born in Leeds in 1971 and brought up in Selly Oak by her Dad, a university research scientist "the only Birmingham university scientist to wear Jil Sander!" after her Mum and Dad split when she was seven. An only child, Katie still saw her Mum, a primary school teacher every evening after school. At twelve she discovered fashion saying "I was really nerdy. And then, kind of overnight, I can clearly remember thinking 'I just want to be cool'. "Dad was very lenient and liberal and used to go away and let us trash the house - I remember phoning him and asking if I could go to London shopping - we used to go down to the Great Gear Market in Kensington. I was thirteen and it was a Monday morning, and he said 'Yeah, okay'. He's brilliant and cool and we are still really close."

Jo Parker, Katie and Ian Reenie

Growing up obsessed with style magazines Blitz, The Face, i-D and Vogue, Katie's ambition was to become the Editor of Vogue. She wrote to Liz Tilberis for advice and was told she must go to college. Katie took evening classes at the local college in sculpture, life drawing, jewellery making and pottery to improve her design skills. After completing sixth form she began a foundation course at Birmingham's Bournville College of Art where she was named Student of the Year after achieving a brilliant 96% in her results.

Second left; Nathan Gregory Wilkins, Neil Macey far right

Katie went on to study at the prestigious St Martin's College of Art and Design it was while she was there she met the photographer, Rankin. Katie and Rankin became an item and they worked together on a magazine called Eat Me, the contents of which she admits are a blur "I know there's a lovely picture of me topless in the supermarket" she said "It was basically just people we knew and everyone appeared naked". In 1993 along with Jefferson Hack they launched Dazed & Confused, the style magazine that defined the era in the same way as The Face and i-D defined theirs. None of them realised just how important to their generation this fold-up, pamphlet-style fanzine - as it was back then - would become. During this time Katie was the launch editor of an experimental Dazed off-shoot title, Another which featured a head shot of a sheep on the cover.

Bottega Veneta Fall 2000

Missy Rayder

Frankie Rayder


Missy Rayder

Katie's big commercial breakthrough came when Bottega Veneta hired her to revamp their image. She brought in Giles Deacon to design for them "We made a big splash with the fashion shows and BV was talked about as being this very cool label all of a sudden, and that brought me to the attention of Mrs Prada, who said "Come and do something for me." It was an amazing opportunity and I think that was when people started talking about me as a stylist."

In 1999, Katie was made Fashion Director of style bible, The Face and eventually in 2000, given her own magazine to set up, the inspirational POP. POP made money from the start and was a magnet for advertisers, many of whom turned to her for input on their own collections and her freelance styling career went stratospheric.

Katie is stylist for a roster of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Proenza Schouler, D-Squared, Cavalli, Dior Homme and Giles and is behind some of the industry’s most style-defining advertising campaigns of recent years. She is Creative Consultant to Loewe, Giles, and Topshop Unique, and works with Jonathan Saunders amongst others.

British Fashion Awards: Luella Bartley, David Sims, James Moores, Katie and Katie Hillier. Katie is wearing a Prada vest, Judy Blame necklace and Giles trousers

She has maintained relationships with the most powerful and innovative fashion houses, having been a consultant at Bottega Veneta, Daks with Giles Deacon, Hugo Boss, Miu Miu and Prada. She has styled many influential advertising campaigns; clients include Armani Jeans, Armani Underwear, Ballantyne, Bulgari, Calvin Klein, D&G, Emporio Armani, Estée Lauder, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Iceberg, Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, Luella, Miss Sixty, Pollini and Top Shop. This season will see her tenth womenswear show at Louis Vuitton where she has also styled three of the men's shows.

POP was a huge success, attracting fashion insiders and A listers from around the globe. In a spectacular media coup POP was sold to Bauer. Grand and her entire team immediately defected en masse to Conde Nast and fashion maverick, LOVE was born. LOVE caused a stir with it's strong, photography led content, a policy of minimal retouching and controversial cover. It sold out straight away. The cover shot by Mert and Marcus and styled by Katie also went on to win a Maggie award for Best Fashion Cover of the Year.

Katie hosted the pre-launch of the first issue of LOVE with Beth Ditto - an Afternoon Tea and Treasure Hunt, at FLASH, the temporary restaurant by Bistrotheque at Royal Academy of Arts. Here are some of the pictures

Cover star: Beth Ditto and Katie

Katie and Suzy Menkes, Editor of the International Herald Tribune

Agyness is wearing Giles dress and Giles for Louboutin shoes, Katie's wearing Vuitton dress and shoes

Kelly Brook, Agyness, Deyn, Katie, Beth Ditto and Giles Deacon

This was followed by a LOVE-In space at Dover Street Market where Katie invited her fashion friends to design exclusive limited edition LOVE products, which included Burberry Underwear, Victoria Beckham dresses, Giles for Swarovski duvet and pillow case sets, embellished shirts and dresses by Dolce and Gabbana amongst many other fantastic designers; Prada, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Loewe, Katie Hillier, Pam Hogg, Luella and House of Holland. Katie Hillier also designed the space. Adrian Joffe President of Dover Street Market said "We take pride in launching this strong and creative masterpiece from Katie."

Rachel Zoe and Katie wearing a Giles lace dress

The 'New Blood' issue of LOVE magazine, the second issue, came out at the end of August and featured two covers, one featuring Coco Sumner shot by Mert Atlas and Marcus Piggott and the other unknown 18 year old guitar teacher and bass player Alex Hartley, shot by David Sims.

Katie is the Senior Contributing Fashion Editor on the fantastic Interview magazine and contributes to leading international style titles including Vogue Russia, Arena Homme Plus.

Katie and Simon Robins, Fashion Director of Russian Vogue

Earlier this year Katie was invited to take care of Prada's Old Bond Street store as part of The Iconoclasts project where she took charge of visual identity of the whole store.

Katie may not be a household name but everyone at some point will have seen or wanted to wear her work. Celebrities and fashion designers understand her considerable power and mysterious "cool" factor and she counts Marc Jacobs, Victoria Beckham, Agyness Deyn and Patsy Kensit amongst her friends.

Victoria Beckham styled by Katie for Russian Vogue

"We go out every now and then," Beckham said. "I wouldn't like to say she's a troublemaker, but it's always guaranteed to be a lot of fun. I was a bit nervous of her at first, she has a reputation for being great. I thought she'd be older; she's so young to have achieved what she has". Katie styled the Spice Girls in their mid nineties heyday. "She's been so supportive of me since working in the fashion industry," says Beckham. "If I have any questions, she's the first person I'll get on the phone and say 'I'm doing this, what do you think?' She has so many influential people listening to her, and she's really earned that respect".

Patsy Kensit and Jeremy Healy

Patsy Kensit agrees; "She's really kind and not a bitch. I've never heard her be horrible, ever. She blows the myth of the 'fashion person' out of the water." The two became friends when a shoot turned into a tequila drinking session seventeen years ago. "I think people get quite carried away in that role" I always knew she would go on to great thing; she always gets it right. I'm not surprised about her success. When I first met her she was this girl with two bin bags of clothes. She gets clothes delivered by private jet now, but she's still the same person." Jeremy DJ'd at Katie's hen night to which only girls and gays were invited (with the exception of Nathan Wilkins and Giles Deacon who were allowed to be token gays for the evening).

Rachel Zoe, Ashley Olsen, Katie and Mary Kate Olsen. Katie's wearing Proenza Schouler

Inevitably, she is as much in demand from celebrities and their agents as the designers themselves, dressing the likes of Eva Mendes, Jude Law, Jourdan Dunn, Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Ricci, Chloe Sevigny, Diane Kruger, Kylie, Hayden Christensen, Elizabeth Hurley, Kelly Brook, Victoria Beckham, Courtney Love, Beth Ditto, Snoopy, Miss Piggy and P Diddy.

In July 2009 Katie married her long term boyfriend, music producer and Pulp bassist Steve Mackey. The wedding took place on an amazingly romantic island in the middle of Lake Saranac in New York State and they hired the Rockefellers country house for all the guests for a long weekend. Thirty five of their closest family and friends, mostly in fashion were there and Marc Jacobs dropped by in his helicopter.

Katie and Steve. I love this picture

LOVE co-hosted Alexander Wang's afterparty at New York fashion week in September, in the gas station at Milk Studios in association with M.A.C which was a highlight of the week. Guests could help themselves to sweets and crisps in the store, models stuffing bags of M&M's in their Chanel 2:55's and Katie holding court in Prada sequins with the Louis Vuitton shoes that were made for her wedding. At midnight Courtney Love performed with her band.

Katie's biggest task of the year (apart from getting married) has to be her role as stylist for the 4th international Fashion Rocks in Rio, giving the bloggers a field day.

Katie's extensive collection of clothes takes up a whole floor of their Edwardian house. "They are all packed on rails in alphabetical order, (A for Alaia, B for Balenciaga, C for Chanel etc) and then sections so if someone wants to see parkas, I can have my assistant send them the section. Then I have another room for magazines (floor to ceiling bookshelves with bound volumes of Arena, Blitz, Dazed & Confused, Elle, i-D, The Face, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair and British, American, Italian and French Vogue), I'm a terrible hoarder. Steve has the whole basement. He keeps his records there. It's a bit damp and the rabbit has started to nibble on them."

Katie and Steve live in Tufnell Park, North London with their rabbit Clara.

Photo by Matthew Hise for Grazia
At the British Fashion Awards with Jonathan Saunders, Giles Deacon and Gareth Pugh

Photograph by Phil Poynter. Katie's wearing an Azzedine jersey dress

In the Closet with Katie

How do you describe your style?
This week I've had three 5am starts so I would say anything I can get my hands on in the dark by Azzedine Alaia that I know makes me look like I've made an effort, when the truth is far from that

Lauren Hutton

Lara Stone

Who are your style icons?
In no particular order; Stephanie Seymour, Lara Stone, Lara Croft, Lauren Hutton, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, my Dad, Tor Gooder from Hermes, Camille Micelli, Marc Jacobs, Muiccia Prada, Katie Hillier, Manuela Pavesi

Stephanie Seymour in a Giles T shirt. Photograph taken by Katie

Which person's wardrobe would you most like to own?
Miuccia Prada and Stephanie Seymour's

Do you have any health tips?
Try and do everything in moderation, except drinking water, running, swimming and having fun

Do you exercise?
Yes, obsessively

Snoopy and Katie. Photograph by Sølve Sundsbø

Do you use any products?
No. I wash my hair about twice a week and use nothing on my skin. Anytime I use a moisturiser I come out in spots. For some reason they just don't work on me!

Is there anything about your body you dislike?
Everything and nothing. It's within all of us to control how we look, it's just sometimes we are a bit more controlling

Who does your hair?
Gary Richardson colours my hair, otherwise I rarely have it cut or put anything on it

What is your current favourite outfit?
A black Azzedine dress that makes me look like I've made the above effort. Otherwise my Azzedine wedding dress which is just amazing and I can't believe I own because it's so beautiful

What is the oldest thing in your wardrobe?
An original Adrian suit bought from New York Vintage which is amazing, I saw it today!

Katie and Giles at the Serpentine Summer Party. Katie is wearing a Prada coat, Miu Miu dress and Vuitton shoes, bag also by Prada

What is the one item of clothing you couldn't live without?
Azzedine black stilettos, no platform. Amazing

Photograph by Phil Poynter. Katie is wearing a Loewe hat and veil

What are your favourite vintage pieces?
A Balmain couture dress from 1966, it's one of the first 'proper' pieces of clothing I bought from Didier Ludot

Who are your favourite designers?
Azzedine, Miuccia, Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Giles

Marc Jacobs

What are your favourite high street shops?
Top Shop Top Shop Top Shop

What is the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
My wedding dress

What is your best bargain?
My wedding dress - it was couture and the price was very good considering

These absolutely breathtaking silver and black Prada shoes were made for Katie by Fabio Zimbinardi, especially for her wedding. Katie says "They are the most incredible shoes I have ever seen. When they brought them to London for me I jumped around the Prada Bond Street store for about ten minutes I was so excited about them!"

What are your favourite shoes or trainers?
Prada couture shoes above and Nike Shox

Katie's engagement ring by Victoire de Castellane and Tag watch

What is your favourite brand of watch?
I have a Tag from 1966 which I love and also an Andrew Grima sixties watch

What are your favourite sunglasses?
Balenciaga ones that Steve bought me. Also some Tom Ford ones that are so expensive I daren't wear them

What is your fashion must have this season?
Dolce and Gabbana black mesh dress and Giles pink lurex glasses

What would you save if your house was on fire
My rabbit, Clara

Katie's wearing a Stephen Jones bow and a Prada blouse


What's in your pockets or bag right now?

What keeps you awake at night?

Who or what has been the greatest influences on my life?
My parents, Miuccia Prada, Giles Deacon, Rankin, Conde Nast, Nathan Wilkins, Luella Bartley

How did your childhood affect the person you are today?
I was allowed to always believe I was right (I'm not sure that's a good thing but it's true)

Which famous person is your all time crush?
George Hamilton, I was obsessed with I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

What qualities do you look for in a man?
Tall, handsome, nice, good at driving, likes heights, likes travelling and likes sheds in Big Sur

Katie, Agy and Giles. Katie is wearing a Balenciaga parka

What are your eating habits like?
I'm currently on day eight of a juice and raw food detox. The first week was really hard but it's starting to pay off and I feel amazing

If you had to have one last meal what would it be?
Toasted bagel with cream cheese and salt and pepper

Katie and Luella Bartley lived on the top floor of St John for three years

What are your favourite restaurants?
St John, J Sheekey, Ciao Bella on Lambs Conduit Street and Harry's Bar

What are your secret London addresses?
The Gunmakers Arms on Eyre Street EC1 and The Lord Stanley on Camden Park Road

What would you have on your tombstone?
Woof, baaah

Charlotte Stockdale and Katie at the Prada Congo party wearing a secondhand flying suit

What's your worst fear?

What's your philosophy?
Never regret anything

Which animal would you most like to be?
Clara my rabbit. She's so bloody lucky, she sits by a fire all day and chomps on delicious spinach

Azzedine Alaia

What are your guilty pleasures?
Azzedine Alaia

What was the last play you saw?
The Importance of Being Earnest when I was about eleven

What are your favourite books?
David Geffen's biography and You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again by Julia Phillips

The fantastic Stephen Jones making Katie a hat from the wrap around promotion they did with LOVE magazine and the Herald Tribune


Which magazines do you read?
All of them, except some...

What are your favourite TV shows?
I only watch I'm a Celebrity, Come Dine with Me, Sex in the City, O, and I kind of like Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain

What were the last good films you watched?
The Proposal on a flight from New York. I loved it and then Steve confessed to having watched it and enjoyed it also so I felt better!

What are your favourite albums?
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Up the Bracket by The Libertines, Is This It by The Strokes, London Calling and The Best of The Clash, Put The Needle on It a single by Dannii Minogue, all the usual really. I do love a greatest hits though and I still listen to CD's

What are you listening to at the moment?
Calvin Harris!

Stephanie Seymour by Richard Avedon

Helmut Newton by Alice Springs

Kate Moss by Juergen Teller

Who are your favourite photographers?
All of them, but some more than others. At the moment I'm obsessed with the recently deceased ones; Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts. And then Juergen Teller and Araki are pretty impressive. And also Mert and Marcus of course and David Sims and Bruce Weber and Inez and Vinoodh. And bless Angelo Pennatta and Boo George for getting on so many planes in the last few weeks for LOVE

Missy Rayder

Daria Werbowy

Who are your favourite models?
Lara Stone, Daria, Kate, Naomi, Stephanie, Jeneil, Dree Hemingway, Alessandra Ambrosio, Raquel, Missy Rayder

What makes you laugh
Sheep. Nathan took me to see Three Men and a Little Lady, I laughed so much at the sheep scene, I cried (I will put image up asap!)

What makes you cry?
Not much at the moment. Stupid things which then make me very angry because there are much more important things to get upset about than the fashion industry

Katie and Jonathan Saunders

What irritates you?
Moths. There's a company called Beaver House, they are amazing at moth prevention. They set off these mini bombs and although I have the odd nibbled scarf or sweater, I don't have too many moth problems anymore. Mothballs are useless and there is no point dry cleaning everything if you have them - these mini bombs work very well and are a fraction of the price

What's your biggest indulgence?
Clothes, shoes, bags, pyjamas, books, magazines, photographs

Eva Mendes styled by Katie for Calvin Klein

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
In my dreams, Eva Mendes

Roger Grand, Katie's Dad and Katie in her beautiful Azzedine dress

Katie and Steve

What has been your proudest moment so far?
There's been many but I've never been so overcome with emotion as getting married

Katie and Steve. SO happy!

Who would you have at your dream dinner party?
Steve, Giles Deacon, Keith Warren, Stuart Vevers, Luella Bartley, Grace Cobb, Ange Kurdash, Charlotte Stockdale and Liz Collins. It's really hard seeing people I like, let alone people I don't know

If you could be anywhere on earth right now, where would you be and who would be with you?
I'm in a car coming back from Milan with Keith Warren. I'm just so happy to be back in London.

A few catwalk pictures

Prada AW03

Amanda Moore

Daria Werbowy

Louis Vuitton SS09

Jourdan Dunn

Toni Garrn

Louis Vuitton AW09

Yulia Kharlaponova

Sigrid Agren

Kim Noorda

What the press are saying

"LOVE is guaranteed style bible status. Uber-stylist Katie Grand still has the midas touch"
Rhiannon Harries, The Independent on Sunday

"Her power is second to none"
The Observer
"What Katie does - and Katie says - is as influential as it gets."
The Evening Standard

"Katie has great personal style. She brings incredible energy to her work. One cannot help but be seduced." - Tom Ford, Sunday Times Style

"The most superb of the Super Stylists with a phenomenal power base" - Time Out

Her enthusiasm and joy for the fashion business and the role she plays in it shines forth like a beacon - one of the most in-demand stylists in the country."
Evening Standard

Britain's coolest fashion queen has no trouble getting the A list to pose for her glossy mag."
The Observer

"The coolest stylist in British fashion."
The Sunday Telegraph

"One of the most powerful stylists in the world"
Daily Telegraph

To see a gallery of some of Katie Grand's work click here
To see more of Katie's styling on the catwalk click here


Anonymous said...

bland taste in music, not good for magazine direction (yes, visually)

sooze said...

Great interview! She is such a massive influence and huge personality on the fashion scene yet not a household name. I'm sure she prefers that though