Previous to my role at Liberty I was in my home town of Melbourne working for two independent young designer boutiques as manager/buyer. These were both largely stocking Australian young designer labels. I also squeezed in a BA in Gold and Silversmithing while I was there.
2. I’ve heard you have an accomplice as part of the my-wardrobe.com team! Is it just the two of you who carry out the process of purchasing for the store?
Luisa De Paula is the Buying Director at my-wardrobe.com, overseeing the Men’s and Women’s. We work closely together to decide on strategy and brand mix. Her input is invaluable as she has over 15 years experience in buying for the UK market.
3. The pieces you’ve selected for my-wardrobe.com seem to be largely of the understated cool/minimalist disposition (APC, Nudie, Helmut Lang etc.). Was this pared down aesthetic intentionally chosen or did it just occur organically?
Luisa and I were very conscious to make the first season appeal to a broad cross-section of the contemporary male consumer by presenting some well-known favourites (Paul Smith, Polo Ralph Lauren, Mulberry, John Smedley, Barbour) together with some current cool brands (APC, Acne, Vivienne Westwood, McQ, Raf by Raf Simons), and a few new-comers (Velour, Cold Method). So you can see that we have various aesthetics covered and are presenting the offer almost like a department store with different rooms. For AW09 the brand mix will grow considerably with some much loved names.
4. Recently, menswear was awarded more attention than ever before at the MAN shows and presentations in London. Do you feel this increased interest in young menswear-design talent will be nurtured even further next year?
I think there was a great buzz this season due to the grouping of the Men’s shows together. I really hope this continues and grows, as menswear really should be given a platform in London much more than it has previously. There are so many key menswear brands based in the UK, it’s a shame they have to take their shows to other countries to ensure they are seen.
6. SS09 collections seemed to purvey a more feminized aesthetic for men (abundance of polka dots, bright yellow hues, deep v-necks and curved, rather than structured shoulders). How do you personally feel about this look? Do you think men would embrace or abhor it?
I think there are some elements that men will embrace, but for the large part it can be tricky to wear a piece that is overly styled in this way. Colour and pattern will be easier to pull off while still looking current. I think it is important that new purchases will fit into your existing wardrobe with ease. I’ve made the mistake too often of buying something that I can’t then wear with any existing item in my wardrobe.
7. Considering the restrictive economic climate, investments rather than disposable fashion/impulse buys have been encouraged, what staple items should men be purchasing now?
I have always thought it important to have well made, classic pieces that have a longevity to them. For example, a Mulberry Brynmore Bag is a classic that will last you years. The Barbour International Jacket has been around for decades gone and will be for decades more. Add to this the eponymous polo tops by Ralph Lauren, a grey wool suit by Paul Smith London, and a pair of Nudie’s Average Joe Dry Jeans and the backbone to your wardrobe is there. Once you have these key classic pieces, it is always so easy to buy the new season key items to wear with them.
8. What three items (clothing/accessories) can’t you live without?
At the moment I am living in my APC jeans, Helmut Lang Slim Fit Shirts and the Barbour International Jacket in a black coated linen fabric.
9. What’s your favourite film?
I went to see John Waters in Hammersmith last year, and have since been having a bit of a retrospective of his films. Cry Baby is golden, and all his films have the most fantastic soundtracks.
Much thanks to Emily and Lee at, and images from, my-wardrobe.com