At 24, Cape Town based Poppy Evans is Elle South Africa`s youngest fashion director. With an irreverent sense of style and a free-spirited approach to fashion, she follows in the footsteps of predecessors Chris Viljoen and Jackie Burger. So, what is a typical day like for a fashion director? Poppy reveals all.
(Pictured above Poppy Evans)
Why fashion styling, and what does it mean to you?
I’m not your typical stylist in the sense that I don’t live for fashion. But, I do feel very strongly about the business of fashion, and working towards bridging the gap between designers and consumers. This position enables me to showcase trends in an exciting, inspiring and accessible way. We need to eradicate the idea that fashion is exclusive. I’d love to help grow the SA fashion industry so it is coveted not just here at home but abroad too.
Take us through a day in the life of a fashion director and define your role?
I wish I could tell you that I spend my time discussing skirt lengths and sipping on skinny lattes between shoots, but that’s not the case at all. In short, as fashion director, my job is to determine the magazine’s fashion policy, content and vision, and direct the output of the fashion team. It’s about producing fashion content that is accessible and inspiring, while nurturing SA talent so that the industry continues to grow.
How do you feel you’re adding to people's lives (and wardrobes)?
If anything, I’d love to know that I’m helping our readers to have fun with fashion, to take it less seriously, and wear it with confidence. After all, style is whatever you want it to be.
Tell us about your fashion journey: from entry point to where you are today.
My fashion journey began as one of Elle’s unpaid interns, under Chris Viljoen, almost six years ago. Everything was a challenge, I had never been on a set before, never pinned or sewn a garment- I was completely clueless. Prior to interning at Elle I had been a manager for India Jane (a local design emporium) and had to start at the bottom - fetching coffees and dry cleaning, doing the work that no one else wanted to do, but I learnt more in those 6 months than at any other point in my career.
Who are some of your favourite designers and why?
I have great respect for designers such as Clive Rundle and Jacque van der Watt of Black Coffee who consistently break the mould and raise the bar. They are producing exciting and original work, that does not emulate international collections and that is relevant to our country and our climate.
What’s been your most memorable fashion moment (thus far)?
My all-time fashion moment has to be shopping at Didier Ludot’s boutique, in Palais Royal, Paris. This vintage haven is laden with haute couture pieces that many of us can’t afford but certainly covet, and I got to share this experience with my close friend, and designer, Elaine Du Plessis.
What are winter 2012’s top three trends?
Texture is key with the use metallic, faux fur, sequins and plastic. Androgyny calls for oversized trouser suits, grungy knitwear and flat shoes. And, Bad girl glamour features leather, head-to-toe black and peek-a-boo pieces.
What can we look forward to this summer?
Pastels, a la Louis Vuitton, will dominate. Flared skirts, bra tops and all-things rockabilly celebrate 50s Americana. Afro-centric pieces are big; get ready for head-to-toe print. The all-serene white is always summer friendly, and this time around it’s about iridescent textures. And, for the fun of it all, pyjamas are making a comeback.
What are the five key items a woman needs in her wardrobe?
Narrow dark blue jeans, a leather jacket, a pair of contemporary black high heels, a piece of jewellery with sentimental value, and that one dress that makes you feel beautiful.
(Photography by Justin Polkey)