Welcome to another installment of TheFind’s Q&A series with style leaders from our favorite publications. International stylist and fashion editor of 5280 Magazine, Georgia Alexia Benjou shares her tricks for staying up to date on the latest trends and finding style inspiration. We’re thrilled she chose to share her favorite fashion essentials and shopping finesse with us.
How do you find out about new trends / brands?
For trends, I review the runway shows from NYC, London, Milan, and Paris. I’ll also check out trend forecasting sites. Discovering new brands is a bit more difficult. With so much merchandise in the market right now, finding well-designed clothing or accessories that also offers something original can be a challenge. Even if you do find an exciting new brand, whether or not they’ll have enough media and consumer support to survive is always a big question. In an effort to give young designers additional support, Denver-based photographer Hans Rosemond and I are in the process of launching a website with a focus on new brands.
What are some of your favorite trends / brands?
Right now, I’ve been really interested in the work of Chitose Abe of Sacai for how she mixes fabrics and creates shapes; Gareth Pugh and Junya Watanabe, who are conceptual designers and create some of the most beautiful Ready-to-Wear pieces each season; Haider Ackermann for his romantic draping and layering, as well as his eye for color; and for luxury houses, Céline and Bottega Veneta, because both have a very modern take on luxury for women and bring functionality to their designs. Finally, I’m interested to see how New York-based designer Chris Gelinas continues to develop his line (his Fall 2014 collection had a lot of strong pieces).
Do you search for specific brands for your readers and do you try to stay within a specific price range?
I don’t focus on specific brands; I’m more interested in good design and if a piece or look fits the story I’m working on. Because everyone’s budget is different and what someone is willing to splurge on is a very personal decision, I tend to operate within a broad price range. Plus, I know even if I can’t afford a specific, high-end piece, I want to be inspired by it and figure out how I can find something similar, but within my budget. It’s the hunt and discovery for that perfect item that’s still half the fun.
How do you decide which styles/trends to splurge on?
Because of my job, my wardrobe needs to be multi-functional and go from day to evening easily. An item is worth splurging on if it suits my style and I feel good in it. Some of the designers I wear include Helmut Lang, the now defunct Theyskens’ Theory, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Zoe Karssen T-shirts, and Preen. I mix these lines with tailored pieces I own from Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana (from when I worked in NYC), and 1960s and 70s vintage.
Do you have any online shopping habits?
Like many people, I research a lot online. If a local store has an item I’m interested in, then I will purchase it through them.
What tips do you have for our readers?
- Always choose quality over quantity.
- Your style changes as your life changes. If your old wardrobe isn’t working any longer (or if you’re uncertain about it), start a restyle by honestly assessing your day-to-day and how it’s changed.
- When shopping discount or sale items, it’s not a deal if you’re not in love with a piece, if it requires a lot of tailoring to fit properly and/or if it doesn’t work with the rest of your closet.
What is one item in your home you couldn’t live without?
My MacBook Pro. I feel like my entire life is on it: photo shoots, concept notebooks and story ideas, Christmas gift and card lists, family photos, bills to pay, music (so important!) – the list goes on and on.
What inspires you?
I routinely turn to photography, art, music, film, and travel for inspiration. However, lately I also like checking out things my 9 year-old niece is into.