A few weeks ago now I was rather lucky to be invited to attend the launch night of Olivia Rubin’s collection forDune, which I mentioned here. Above the rather South Molton Street store, Olivia spent the evening supplying us with cupcakes and inspiring us with her fantastic printed shoes.

The lovely ladies at Dune offered me the chance to interview Olivia, which of course I agreed to. So here it is folks:

When Hannah met Olivia Rubin

So how did your collaboration with Dune come about? 

Dune is a family business so we’ve always talked about collaborating at some point. The time seemed right for me and Dune liked the idea of doing a printed range-something they had never really experimented with before.

Obviously your famed for your bold and graphic prints, what advice would you give women on wearing print?

Wearing a print always makes a statement. It needs little or no accessorising. The beauty of the Dune range is that the same applies-wear the wedges, platforms or pumps with a simple tank and jeans for an up to date modern look.

Which other designers do you admire?

I appreciate different elements of many designers from Prada to Pucci and Givenchy. I’m having a Marni moment right now-I love their eclectic mix of texture print and jewellery for SS11.

Do you have a particular woman in mind when you’re designing?

I always consider my variety of customer that I’ve met over the years but ultimately I stay true to my design ethic that has got me where I am to today-that it an instinct that comes naturally to me.

You’ve worked with both Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, what was it like to work with such huge design icons?

Mammoth! So different but both with their unique spin on design. I learned completely varied skills from both designers but both as invaluable as the other. Experiences like that will always remain very poignant in my mind as they were once in a lifetime opportunities.

How have they inspired you?

They inspired me to want to start my own label. As much as tutors hark on that you have to work at least 7 years at a company before you can start your own label I completely went against that grain. Galliano and McQueen taught me a lot about instinct and passion-everybody is different and if you want something you have to go for it! Working day and night at their labels gave me an insight into running a label that you can never be taught at college and that is why work experience and internships are so important.

You’ve attained quite the celebrity following with Fearne Cotton already being spotted in your new collection with Dune – what’s it like to see them wearing your designs and do they ever inspire the direction of your designs?

It is very flattering but also gives you a sense of satisfaction that celebrities who have the most amazing choice of clothes and accessories at their fingertips are choosing mine-it is quite surreal. I wouldn’t say they inspire my designs but once I’ve designed a collection I know immediately which celebrities to target.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Moving into my studio on South Molton Street, my catwalk shows, the exclusive in Vogue that kick started my career, Cheryl Cole showcasing one of my designs from one of my first collections….there are so many..I feel very lucky.

What fashion blogs do you read when you have a spare minute?

I champion Coco’s Tea Party. I’ve met the girl behind the blog a few times-she is so unassuming and lovely and it blows me away how much she has achieved with her blog at such a young age!

What’s your absolute favourite item in your wardrobe right now?

A vintage Pucci dress I picked up in Italy! It is yet to be worn and is carefully bagged up looking very precious. Now I need an occasion to wear it!

Which is your favourite item from the Dune Collection?

The Warhols! They are the perfect printed summer platform-the colour combination is perfect with black cropped trousers and a loose shirt for spring but I’m looking forward to wearing them with bare legs and city short when the summer hits!

Last years stylist of the year, regular contributor to Sunday Times Style as well as working with Elle,125, Tank and Nylon magazine AND styling Florence and the Machine….Grace Woodward is now one of the panelists on Britains Next Top Model AND the stylist for X Factor. Some achievements hey!!

How would you describe your style?

Somewhere between vintage and modern, bonkers and safe

What does a normal working day for you consist of?

There’s no such thing as a normal working day for me! At the moment I’m trying to make a routine of getting up and running as I’m supposed to be doing a half marathon, then getting down to blogging as I’m new to it. Then it will either be a day in the photo studio shooting or rummaging through references and clothes shops. My day though pretty much always starts at about 5am with my cat UJIIII coming for her morning wake up and feed me cuddle in my face.

What fashion blogs would you recommend?

Mine! And Pandorda’s Jukebox

Also Blogzine Platform…. I admire it’s irreverence

Fashion tip for the season?

Sexy girlie shoes are hot hot hot. Pointy, high with bows! Check Michael Lewis, Prada, Louis Vuitton (I wore the Catwalk A/W LV shoes in baby blue satin with a brown ostrich bow and teal blue alligator heel to Lara Bohinc’s wedding at the weekend. Be warned – they are not for novices!)

Who would play you in a movie?

Bella Monticelli-Mctiernan

What’s your party trick?

Usually my outfit. At the moment my glasses are getting a lot of attention. People think they are fake so it’s funny getting people to try them on as it weirds them out!

Who/What has been your greatest fashion influence?

My dad in the glasses dept and my mum in the heels dept. Lara Bohnic and Yasmin Dexter are the best dressed women I know. I’m a closet Isabella Blow really.

If you owned a boutique, what would it be called?


What would it stock?

I recently saw the 30’s cinema/mecca bingo hall was up for sale on Essex Road. I immediately could imagine a modern BIBA in there, selling great things ranging from sparkly wellie boots to tins of tea. Also would have to be a little bit like Fred Segal’s in LA – with a great drop in bar and bistro. If I wasn’t in fashion I’d be involved in food in some way. I thrive working with other people and so it would be an amazing thing to be able to have a great big place to sell and support and hang out with all the many talented people I know.

Who’s your favourite designer and what do you love about them?

Richard Sorger as we work together. Working with Richard on the collections allows me to be creative in a different way from making imagery or TV. Making products is incredibly satisfying. I wouldn’t want to do a label totally by myself so it balances really well for both of us. Plus it’s great making stuff you know you’re going to love wearing – SO EXCITING!!

To clog or not to clog?

I almost did at the weekend/ Chanel, to go with a 70’s floral jumpsuit by the bus stop I got in Bang Bang, I didn’t.

If you could have any accent other than your own, what would it be?

My accent changes all the time and spent some of my time in the theatre so I have a pretty wide choice to call on anyway. French is hands down the sexiest.

Favourite quote:

In regione caecorum rex est luscus  – in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.

In a nutshell your philosophy is:

You reap what you sew.


Emily Johnston is a twenty-something American who’s called London home for nearly a decade now. She founded and runs Fashion Foie Gras in London where the latest and greatest in fashion news is published 24/7.

How would you describe your style?
I am pretty classic with a mix of seasonal trends. I love embracing new movements in fashion but I always come back to the classics. Being 6’1 (and 6’5 in heels) it has taken me a long time to figure out what
works and now I definitely work it.

What does a normal working day for you consist of?
Don’t tell anyone but I actually do have a day job! haha. No one ever believes me when I tell them that as a lot of people think that all I do is blog all day. I get up at 6am and check out all the news sources for any fashion tidbits and check emails for releases and I blog for about two hours before heading into work. I’m in the office acting as a PR guru from 9am until 6 or 7pm, hit the gym until about 8:30pm and then I’m home to punch the keys again with blogging (or I’m out at a function and then home to blog). I have made a promise to myself that I will sleep before 1am but I have to finish all my ideas for blogging before sleep will come! I actually have a whiteboard that I have to have cleared before I’ll even look at a pillow!

What other fashion blogs would you recommend?
There are so many. I reader about 200 on a daily basis. I just love the way in which everyone interprets fashion. If I had to name my top
five they would be (in no particular order):
1. Fashion Editor at Large
2. Red Carpet Fashion Awards
3. Sea of Shoes
4. Fashion Gone Rogue
5. The Blonde Salad

Fashion tip for the season?
White, white and more white! Load up on white jeans, white sundresses, white cutoffs, white crisp shirts. Everything goes with white! You can
accessorise it to death and still look fresh.

Who would play you in a movie?
Julia Roberts. She’s feisty and fearless and I can only hope to look that good at her age. Plus, we are both tall, have heavy brunette locks and big white American smiles.

What’s your party trick?
Oh man, I guess I’m boring here. I can shoot a made tequila! Does that count?

Who/What has been your greatest fashion influence?
Greatest fashion influence was my mother. She has amazing style and I can remember sitting in her closet surrounded by all of her clothes
and accessories and promising myself that I too one day would have an entire closet devoted to shoes and handbags. I’m not there yet…but
there’s still plenty of time. (for the time being my whole front room is my closet instead).

If you owned a boutique, what would it be called?
I’d stick with the name Fashion Foie Gras.  I might get PETA outside banging down the door but I just love the name.

What would it stock?
Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Prada, Vuitton, Rick Owens….I could go on for ages. But they would be from season’s past. I am still in love
with some pieces from runways of old that I can’t find anywhere but the styles will always bang on trend.

Who’s your favourite designer and what do you love about them?
No question, it’s Ralph Lauren. It’s the all American prep look with that extra special ounce of sophistication. You can’t beat it.

To clog or not to clog?
I’m an anti-cloggette. I have a pair that I bought for the season thinking I could channel a Chanel or Vuitton model but I can’t get
over the sound they make. I think women sound like horses in clogs! That just isn’t sexy at all!

If you could have any accent other than your own, what would it be?
I’m sticking with my Southern Deb American accent.

Favourite quote:
Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In a nutshell your philosophy is:
The only thing that ever holds any of us back is fear. If you can accept the worst possible thing that will ever happen to you in any situation then you become free of fear and that is a very powerful thing. My dad taught me that fear is our greatest enemy…a great lesson to learn early in life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s