Home to some of the world’s most influential fashion houses New York is bursting with energy from dusk until dawn. Famed for its faultless style, Vintage Heirloom took a trip across the pond to meet Egem, a fellow Brit with a love for vintage Chanel. In between admiring and raiding her wardrobe we explored her Brooklyn neighbourhood and quizzed her on her secrets to staying stylish in a city that never sleeps.
VH: HI EGEM, TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
I was born in London in the Blackheath/Greenwich area, and I went to Nottingham Trent University where I studied Furniture and Product design.
VH: HOW DID YOU END UP IN NEW YORK?
It was always my childhood dream. Back in 2002 I got an internship for 3 months working for Karim Rashind, who is an industrial designer. That was the start of me making connections in the city. Fast forward eleven years and today I’m the director of visual merchandising for Dior Beauty.
VH: SO IT’S FAIR TO SAY YOU’VE LIVED EVERY GIRL’S SEX AND THE CITY DREAM!
Yes exactly! I hate to compare it to SATC as that’s overly cheesy but I do love the show, although the reality of living here is totally different. During my internship I met my husband. It was unexpected but meant to be – I guess that could be considered a very SATC like story!
VH: DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
I really admire the Parisian chic look. They manage to make their style look effortlessly cool and creative. They always stand out from the average girl on the street. In the summer I like to wear dresses, as they are easy to throw on, plus you can alter the accessories to change the feeling of the outfit. My go-to pants are black skinny jeans from J Brand or Stella McCartney, they fit so perfectly.
VH: WITH AN EXTENSIVE WARDROBE HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO WEAR EACH DAY?
I dress to what I have on at the office. There are some French marketing girls who dress extremely chic. It’s not so much of a competition but dressing well is a great way of connecting with them in a friendship as well as a working relationship.
VH: HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED FROM LIVING IN NEW YORK OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS? WHAT WERE YOU WEARING WHEN YOU FIRST CAME HERE?
7 jeans were popular when I arrived in New York. I had a H&M crossover sweater that I beaded myself. It was all DIY at the beginning, I didn’t have much of a budget!
VH: WHAT’S YOUR LATEST SPURGE?
A Vintage Heirloom Chanel necklace with the pearls which I love to pair with my new vintage Norma Komali jumpsuit, its almost Grecian and has hammer-like style legs.
VH: SO THOSE WERE YOUR LATEST VINTAGE SPLURGES, HOW ABOUT NEW STORE SPLURGE?
Chanel smoking slippers from Saks.
VH: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST BARGAIN?
Well I’m never that lucky. I never find good bargains! I guess the best I’ve found was a Celine zip up wallet for $70 in a second hand shop.
VH: WHAT’S YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET SPLURGE?
My first proper job in NYC was working for a design company designing displays for stores. I was making $500 a week so I don’t know how I survived, but I still managed to buy a $600 trench coat by Development. At the time Philip Lim was the head designer, it’s a light Khaki colour with a sequin belt. I wore it to death!
VH: IS YOUR HUSBAND INTO SHOPPING AS MUCH AS YOU? HAS HE EVER BOUGHT ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR YOU?
My first gift from him was a Burberry Porsum coat. That was the start of my love for them. Back then I think they had really great classic cuts. He knew that I had been trying to save hopelessly for a Chanel 2.55 bag and he surprised me one valentines day!
VH: YOU MIX A LOT OF YOUR OUTFITS WITH VINTAGE. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE VINTAGE PIECES?
That always has to be Chanel! Although I do have my mother’s first ever designer piece which is a Dior handbag. It took her a whole months wage to save for it so I guess that’s a special piece.
VH: BIGGEST FASHION REGRET?
Trading my vintage Chanel jumbo for a medium jersey jumbo flap bag in navy.
VH: WHAT’S ON YOUR WISH LIST?
Two fur coats from Nina Mercer Vintage. A fox fur coat and a mink one! Also a Goyard coloured tote, the smaller shopper.
VH: WHAT’S YOUR FASHION OBSESSION?
Oh coats! I love coats. In New York we get really cold winters. If you have a great coat you can wear whatever underneath to wrap up warm while the coat keeps you looking fashionable and chic! They are impressionable garments! I have over 50. I also have a large collection of handbags, but I do get a lot of wear out of them. Currently I am more than happy with my Celines & Givenchy nightingale totes. I wont be buying another for quite some time…
VH: YOU HAVE A LOT OF LANVIN JEWELLERY. WHAT IS IT YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
I think they are elegantly gaudy! It’s the same with Marni. I love the way they play with different materials and proportions, they can easily dress up a plain outfit.
HOW DOES NEW YORK STYLE COMPARE WITH LONDON?
London are really great at translating trends quickly and you can easily find affordable rip-offs of designer pieces. In NY they tend to stick to American classic styles. I miss London high street brands. NY need a COS, & Other Stories and a Whistles!
VH: WHERE DO YOU BUY THE BEST NEW YORK STYLE?
I do like to go to J Crew. Otherwise I’ll do a one-stop shop at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman. Sometime I’ll have a look in Club Monaco although I get deterred by the price point.
VH: WHO’S STYLE DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? BE IT A CELEBRITY OR BLOGGER?
Olivia Paloma, I do like her! I recently discovered They All Hate Us, they have great legs and wardrobes too!