Nina Garcia was in Chicago yesterday for an AK Anne Klein presentation at Macy’s on State Street to promote her book, The Little Black Book of Style and to give fashion advice. I had five minutes to talk to her before the event!
While waiting for Nina Garcia to arrive, I saw a very tiny body in black flash by – about a size 0. It was her! My eyes were drawn immediately to her shoes, black suede loafers with a golden crest, flat – because she was in an airport where she "may have had to make a mad dash." (a quote from her book). An airport is one of the few places she would wear flats. Five minutes later, a long cool woman in black skinny pants walked by. Now she donned mile-high beautiful suede pumps with a long black jacket, a quadruple strand of vintage-looking pearls and silver around her neck. She rocked!
When I met Nina Garcia I couldn’t help but rave since I truly enjoyed the book and her fashion philosophy. Her suggestion of looking to movies and rock and roll icons to seek your inner self reminded me of what I was taught in fashion design school. In her book she subliminally influences us to be our own designer. She gives many good examples and expert advice that push us to find our own style.
I mentioned her book reminded me to be more creative with my own wardrobe. When I was younger and without much cash I wore a lot of vintage, why not now? "That’s why I said that it isn’t always the women with the most money who are well dressed. They are the one’s who are able to express themselves and seem to understand style the most.”
Listening to her speak was like watching Project Runway. Nina was TV picture-perfect, only so much more real. She certainly wasn’t the “scary judge” but very animated, warm and genuinely interested in my thoughts and questions…and not just because I was gushing! I soon began to feel like I was chatting and joking with one of my girlfriends.
SCS: Is there something that you wish you could add to the book now that it is published?
NG: Oh yes, there is a lot I want to add! (She lit up and laughed.) Stay tuned!
SCS: Oh great – can we look forward to another book? Come on, can’t you just give us one thing you would add – maybe for spring?
NG: (Smiling) All I will say is – stay tuned!
SCS: What’s the hardest thing about writing about fashion?
NG: Editing it down. Yes, editing it down.
SCS: What’ the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
NG: "Less Is More."
SCS: Who’s the designer you love that nobody else has heard of yet?
NG: The are a lot of emerging fashion designers, not that no one has heard of these, but Alexander Wang, 6267 out of Italy, and Chris Benz.
SCS: What’s the best thing in your closet?
NG: My shoes. (she answered quickly, and a shoe junkie myself, I’m thrilled with her answer, besides dying to see her closet!)
SCS: Now that’s cheating because that’s not one thing, but okay…
NG: Next would be jewelry. But it’s my shoes.
SCS: No, I’m putting down – that it’s your shoes!
SCS: Our Second City Style writers are wondering about this one…Do you ever just go into a retail store and buy jeans? Would we actually ever see you shopping?
NG: Oh yes! All of the time!
SCS: Like in a department store? Where?
NG: A lot of department stores… I also like to go to J. Crew, GAP and Ambercrombe and Finch. During these trips I also I like to see what people are shopping for, for the magazine. I like to see what actually gets purchased. Besides liking to actually shop there as well! My husband will say "How much shopping can you do?" Everywhere I go, wherever I travel – I can’t stay away from it.
(So now I love her… I want her to be my friend).
Now that we are friends, the chatting begins. I told that her book really seems to “go with” Elle. She expressed how grateful she is to get to work for Elle for the last five years. She loves the spirit of the magazine and the fact that is not at all restrictive. I told her I enjoyed her article in the March issue about Fashion Week, reading about what she needed to pack and how hectic it is going from New York to London to Milan. She said "Yes, I keep saying that I will take it easy and meet with friends and go to dinner, but as a fashion fanatic, I’m drawn in to the shows…I can’t stay away from it!"
I and I beg her "Please, don’t ever, ever stay away from it!"
Order Nina’s book The Little Black Book of Style here.
— Carol CalacciSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40