Team LBD meets... Grace Woodward
Team LBD meets... Grace Woodward
Posted in Favourites
November 30, -0001
Grace Woodward gets around. She's styled real people like the X Factor hopefuls and the gorgeous contestants on Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model (which she was also a judge for) as well as superstars like Florence Welch and Emilia Fox. And she's often found gracing the pages of GQ, Sunday Times Style, Harpers Bazaar and Elle. And she has nine wardrobes. Naturally Team LBD wanted to find out more about the styling, schmoozing, shopping phenomenon that is Grace Woodward, so we sat down to talk fashion faux pas, those glasses and how she'll be reworking her classic black dress instead of shopping for something new this Christmas party season. As one of Britain's leading fashion consultants, what does fashion mean to you? It's an emotion. The way people dress is very psychological which is why when I'm styling someone I always try to take something of that person's DNA and put it into what they're wearing. Styling is about creating a fantasy but if it's too far from the truth and doesn't say something about you it's not going to work. What is your fail-safe item? I want to say jeans or a classic black dress but that dress doesn't have to be classic anymore. It's not like when people wore clothes from the 60s in the 60s; everything is transitional now. You can go to a runway show and see Sci Fi, neon, classic black dresses and 70s evening gowns all in one place, that is the fashion of today. So anything can be fail-safe. If you dress something up in the right way you won't fail. Team one of this season's amazing statement necklaces with that classic black dress and you've got a whole new look. For me it's about versatility, sustainability and being creative with just one item to cover all the trends. Who are your style icons and who works a LBD like no other? This is a new one. I hate myself for saying it because I've always tried not to like her but there is no denying that Victoria Beckham puts a lot in to being stylish. Her life just is her clothes isn't it? She went in to my friend's shop recently (William Banks-Blaney of William Vintage) and he said 'Do you want anything? Maybe a cookie?' and she said 'Do I look like I eat cookies? I have wanted to eat a cookie for about 7 years'. Now that's dedication to the cause! She's always so chic and sleek in her tight black pencil dresses and boots. Also I love Tilda Swinton. She just gets it and she's so individual. That's what fashion is about, being yourself and showing who you are through what you wear. She is scarily cool. And there was a stage when I though Rihanna was amazing. It's not exactly my cup of tea but all those tight Herve Leger dresses and leather she was wearing, that really worked for her. We're planning our Christmas party outfits already at Team LBD. What trends should we be looking out for? Ooh I am loving trouser suits. Of course dresses are always great for party season but mix it up with a one-piece this year, they are great. But mostly I'm encouraging celebrities and real women to think about sustainable fashion when choosing their wardrobes this Christmas. Just today I was showing some girls things that you can wear five different ways. This means more outfits for less money, it means you're challenging yourself and really using your individuality and creativity and of course it means less fashion waste. It's all about reworking items you've already got, loving them and cherishing them and turning them into something new for each occasion or trend. So the LBD is perfect! Add a new season jacket (winter is my favourite season- I have a whole wardrobe for coats and one for jackets!) and a colourful pair of shoes and you've got a real on-trend look with a classic dress you've had for years at its centre. So sustainable fashion means a lot to you? That's quite a revelation from someone whose career is about following trends? It does mean a lot to me. People always think because of my career I shop a lot but I don't really. I have a lot of stuff and I hoard it forever and ever. And I do reuse rather than buy new when it comes to me. I love brands like McQueen and Boudicca and what I'm wearing today (tailored trousers and structured top- both black and embellished) is from Whistles- my friend is their Head of Press and I've 'forgotten' to give these back! They're expensive brands but they make classic investment pieces (think little black dresses, crisp blouses and satin evening gowns that will never date) and even more importantly they are manufactured in Britain and we need to be putting our money back in to this sinking British industry. We don't make anything here anymore which is why I love what Mary Portas is doing. She's bringing fashion manufacturing back to Britain and that can only be a good thing. Are you a shopoholic? I have to connect with an item before I'll buy it. But I have connected quite a bit over the years- I have 9 wardrobes and an office that's basically a dressing room! So no, I don't shop much, I just keep things for a very long time. How did you get in to styling? I've always been creative whether that's arts, drama or fashion. I always knew that I would end up in fashion, I just didn't know what I'd be doing because when I started out being a stylist wasn't really a thing. I'm still paying off my student loan, believe it or not. Education was the route I took but if I had to do it all again today I'm not sure I would. There are so many fashion students and not enough jobs, so I don't know what I'd do now but that's what I did. Then hard graft and luck led me to TV and now here I am. Have you got any advice for budding stylists? I was very poor for ten years and it's just started to be worth it. You don't get paid a lot for styling, even when you're doing a massive editorial spread for The Sunday Times you're getting around £300 for 3 weeks of full-time work. And living in London is so expensive. But I don't want to sound cynical. That's just how it is; the industry is getting smaller and it's becoming more and more fashionable to work in fashion which is why you have to stand out and be different. You yourself are a brand so you need to find your niche, your strengths and work to them. You are a one woman brand, what makes you different? We are all our own little brands. My look and my style are part of why I am where I am. The way I dress and the way I style people as well as my personality is what people relate to and why that translates across editorial and TV. Even my glasses are a part of it... Let's talk about those trademark glasses! Do you actually need them or are they just for show? Ha! I actually need them. I love them because they've helped me but I resent them and feel a bit trapped by them too. When I get booked for events they actually call up and say 'Can you wear your hair down and those thick glasses?'. How did I become a pair of glasses!? You always looked so well groomed. What are your beauty essentials? My desert island product has got to be mascara. I couldn't live without that. And did you know it had so many uses? I was on a shoot the other day and they pulled my hair back off my face. I have an uneven hairline so they just filled in with mascara! Mostly I just use it on my eyelashes though. Oh and olive oil. It's a wonder product and I use it on my body and on my hair. Do you feel the pressure to look good? Any fashion faux pas? Yes and I'm still living them down. I don't want to talk about them! We all make mistakes. We're all learning, or not learning but who cares. I want to do a TV show, a Room 101 kind of thing, where celebrities get the opportunity to stand up for what they wore and got slagged off for or at least to tell people 'I was on my period, I'd just been dumped, I was having a really bad day and yeah I made a bad choice'. Who are the up and coming designers to look out for? Young and fresh out of college kind of 'up and coming'? I'm cynical about all the fresh talent now because people build these young designers up and then they disappear. And some of the designers I've loved for years and years have been labelled 'up and coming' recently and I'm thinking, but they've been working hard and designing for ages! Instead of keeping up with all the new designers I tend to wear a lot of vintage. I just wear the same stuff in different ways. And finally, what are your top tips for emanating the Grace Woodward look? Well now you know about my hoarding, if you are looking to follow in my footsteps my key bit of advice is to buy a bigger wardrobe!