Hers is indisputably one of the most desirable closets in the whole fashion world _ be it the statement evening dresses with sparkling decorations (which she wears during daytime), those larger-than-life headpieces (which she wears anytime), or those glistening, awe-inspiring accessories (which she wears all the time).
Anna Dello Russo poses with a giant bangle from her H&M collaboration at Covent Garden in London.
In the current fashion world, no one beats Anna Dello Russo when it comes to being the target of photographers at style functions _ if you don't count showbiz stars and models, that is.
As editor-at-large of Vogue Nippon and a permanent fixture on fashion red carpets and at runway shows, Dello Russo is an ultimate "fashion maniac" _ a term once used to describe her by the late legendary photographer Helmut Newton. She's a supreme maximalist _ one who's dressed in excess and manages to keep her sense of style relevant and admired, even when the wave of minimalism dominates the fashion circuit.
And unlike other magazine editors who are more protective of their own persona and style, Dello Russo is a cross between an old-school fashion insider and a modern, media fashion figure who is happy to give away part of her life to the public. Her blog allows fashion enthusiasts a sneak peek into her wardrobe choices _ especially during fashion week.
Today, ADR (as she's often referred to) brings her love of sharing her own style with the world to another level _ she's launching her special collaboration with Swedish retail giant H&M. The accessories collection, which hits the shelves today, is a study in excess and maximalism. Here, Dello Russo answers Life's questions about the limited-edition pieces and her wild style.
- Tell us about your latest collaboration with H&M. How did the project come about and how does it feel being able to share an aspect of your much-adored style with fashion enthusiasts?
H&M contacted me proposing this amazing project. It was a big surprise for me, but in a way it did not come completely out of the blue. The world of fashion has evolved a lot over the past five years _ the rise of the fashion blogs and the whole phenomenon of street-style photography created a new reality, which is hard to be missed. Today the catwalk and the streets enjoy a mutual dialogue which is very inspiring. H&M has always been a forward-thinking company _ they have a way to foresee the future, which is incredible. It is so exciting for me to be the person leading the change. I am the first editor able to express creativity through a collection. The collection is totally me, and really over the top, in a joyous way.
- How do you feel about being the first non-designer/non-showbiz star to collaborate with H&M?
I am both honoured and humbled. As I said, it is the acknowledgement of a big shift that happened in fashion. Maybe I represent the new way to communicate in fashion today _ not strictly designer, not strictly editor. This is an era of contaminations, after all _ multitasking is the key, and I enjoy it.
- How do you approach the design process? What is the look and mood you try to convey through the use of colour and materials?
The design process has been a steady flow. I relied on my editorial skills to build up the collection, selecting ideas among things I like, creating pieces with a strong, bold visual appeal. I created something that is feisty, colourful and playful, with a precious feel. I come from the south of Italy _ colour and decoration are part of my language. The look and mood I tried to convey is optimistic, maximalist and gloriously decorative.
- There's a strong sense of excess and maximalism in the designs. What do you think the direction can bring to fashion today, which seems to be gradually moving away from the minimalism that has dominated the runways?
I did not think about trends while creating the collection. I just wanted to express my taste for excess and love of colour and decoration. However, as a fashion maniac, I can feel trends right before they happen, and yes, maximalism is the next thing.
- You once said accessories are the personal touch to any outfit. Does it also mean that the ADR for H&M collection will give wearers a personal fashion touch from Anna Dello Russo? If so, do you feel you're giving away your personal style to the public?
The collection will give every woman the possibility to play with fashion in an amusing way. It is thought to be interpreted in a free and personal way. I am not giving away my style, I am just offering women some instruments I like. These are accessories for them to play with, not to act as ADR lookalikes.
- What is the main inspiration for the collection?
I wanted to recreate the excitement of the fashion week tour, when you enter a dreamy fashion bubble that is almost like a parallel reality. I tried to capture that sense of freedom, joy and excitement in the collection, making it enjoyable for the wider public.
- You're a fashionista who's very digitally active and your website offers a tangible, friendly and un-intimidating look into fashion. How did the idea come about? What motivated you to start the site and how do you manage to keep it so fresh and friendly?
I wanted to create a window on my world for the wide digital audience. The web is great _ it brought down so many barriers, making it easy to communicate with your audience. After being the subject of so many street-style shoots, I thought about having my own space using my own voice, and I wanted to be as friendly and as over the top as possible. I love it.
- Please give fans some style tips for wearing ADR for H&M _ the eyeglasses, the clutch, the shoes and the jewellery.
OK. First, don't be on a diet when it comes to accessories, because too much is never enough. Be daring, know no limits. Go for colour.
Dare to be shocking. Surprise yourself and you'll be surprising for others. Try the feathered hat in daytime, the outsized sunglasses with a chunky gilt chain at night. Everything will be different _ more amusing, more fun. Don't want to give up your old, rather shabby black coat? OK, fine.
Shake it up with a pair of leather boots and a massive clutch glistening in gold and turquoise. Finally, the play of scale and proportions is essential to get the look, and nothing looks better, more fun and eye-catching than excess. So, be bold, and choose only off-scale jewellery _ your life will turn into a wonderful cartoon. A gilt Anna plate necklace will give a boost of energy to that Bon Ton suit or demure dress you like so much. Try it!
- Please name five items a girl should invest in for the autumn/winter 2012 season.
A fabulous gown, a printed dress, a pencil skirt with a blouse and the feathered hat and boots from my H&M collection.
About the author
- Writer: Samila Wenin
Position: Muse Editor