Tuesday, July 8, 2008

9 Questions For... Gigi Guerra!

Well, I gotta come clean. First of all, I’m way behind on my "monthly" 9 Questions For… posts. Sigh. Then, I personally was afraid of including too many fashion folks in this feature for fear that it would become very insular and predictable. Like, aren’t folks who work in the fashion or related industries suppose to be fly? Don’t they get all the free ish (sometimes), find out about all the dope sample sales first (usually) and all obtain an innate sense of sick personal style? (not at all, trust me) But then I had to check myself and remember the main reason I started this blog in the first place was to show how style is much, much deeper than what we wear. (And what we do.) Isn’t it just as silly to exclude someone from 9 Questions For… because they do work in fashion just as much as it is to include someone solely because their office is in the garment district?

That said, you may still be wondering why I picked Gigi Guerra. First and foremost, I’ve been following her career for a minute. She has put in work at YM, Jane (R.I.P.), and Lucky mags. At Lucky, she traveled the world reporting on the best boutiques and websites for the popular Shopping Trip section. (Now that was a sweet gig!) These days the Texas native is a marketing big wig for J.Crew’s new Madewell spin-off. Thanks to folks like Gigi, I continue to learn how important it is not to get too comfortable regardless of what you do for a living. Gotta mix things up - sorta like mixing up high and low-end clothing; everything is important to the bigger picture. Anyhoo, Gigi always appears effortlessly cool and has a personality that is equally as approachable as her style. And though she usually keeps it pretty low-key, it is apparent that she does put in some effort. You know how real fly girls do. So read on to learn how this 34 year-old (Gigi advises us to embrace our age!) flipped a shower curtain into a couture creation when she was just a teen, why you should pay more attention to what flight attendants are wearing and why we mustn't sleep on Tokyo.

PPT: Who are your favorite stylish people?
GG: There isn't one particular person I try to emulate or anything. Sometimes it is people I see on the street - I'll like the way they put something together.

PPT: Where are your favorite stylish places?
GG: I was really impressed with the style in Tokyo because it just seemed so advanced from anyplace else I had been in the world. Everyone looks to the runway for style ques but literally what is on the street there seems to trickle down to the masses like two years later. Other places include Buenos Aires. The shoes and bags and the leather there is so impressive.

Tokyo's got next.

PPT: What are your favorite stylish things?
GG: Really well-done utilitarian objects. I love old linen tea towels with someone else’s initials on them that you re-embroider to make your own. There is a store called Matter (they have a couple of NY locations) and I think they are really good for sourcing unusual objects that are well thought-out pieces. I am basically drawn to things that are beautifully functional.

PPT: What has been your biggest splurge?
GG: I visited Easter Island about 10 years ago. It was a solo trip. I also went to Morocco (my cousin's husband is from Marrakesh, so we visited and hung out with his family over a big holiday). To me travel is always worth it.

Iconic statues on Easter Island.

PPT: How about your ultimate budget find?
GG: I found an old Emilio Pucci airline stewardess blouse from the 1970’s for 50 cents from a thrift store in Austin, TX. I got it like 15 years ago and I don’t think anyone knew what it was then.

PPT: What was the last vacay you took [non work-related]?
GG: I went to Ethiopia last year. I went for about ten days, it was an amazing trip. I traveled all over the country. Oh and I stopped in Dubai on my way to Ethiopia.

A breathtaking waterfall in Ethiopia.

PPT: What was the last book you read?
GG: I’m reading Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux right now. It is about a man traveling from Egypt to South Africa and he goes through Ethiopia. I wanted to read it and kind of reminisce about my trip [to Ethiopia]. It’s really cool to read about a place after you’ve been there. I really love his writing. He’s so observant and lives like a local when he travels so you really get a good perspective on a place.

PPT: Who are you listening to?
GG: Panda Bear - it’s kinda like dreamy and pretty. I’m listening to a lot of old stuff because many of my old favorite bands from college are touring like Spiritualized and My Bloody Valentine.

PPT: What is your definition of style?
GG: I don’t have a particular personal style, that isn’t who I am. I’m not that focused. I hop around, like one day I might wear a dress from the 1920’s and the next day wear something really modern. I don’t necessarily have one look. In general, style is about confidence. It is the complete package. If someone really loves what they’re wearing, that is what is important. I wore a shower curtain to school when I was about 16, I sewed beads on it and added pockets and my mother totally supported me so confidence was instilled in me at a young age.

(Technical Difficulties: I'm SO sorry Gigi's pics are teeny, tiny!)

Check out previous 9 Questions For.. interviews below:

Michaela Angela Davis
Rodney Lovejones
Kasha Esque

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