Anna’s Revenge: Dello Russo Up-Front for Macy’s
Published September 9, 2011
To watch Anna Dello Russo flit around her collection video for Macy’s is to understand what makes her so great. Macy’s is, as she puts it, “a more accessible brand,” she treats the experience with the type of intensity and inspiration she’d put into a Vogue Nippon cover. She touches garments critically, helms a roundtable discussion, and directs a shoot with herself and Karolina Kurkova (captured by Dello Russo’s longtime pal Inez Van Lamsweerde). In other words, she doesn’t treat her Macy’s collaboration as anything other than an addition to her fashion-obsessed, imaginative and highly curated portfolio of work.
She led Interview through her collection, and talked about why the time is ripe for her to work with a retailer—and why she should collaborate with FedEx.
LEILA BRILLSON: Welcome to New York Fashion Week. Is this a hectic time for you, or do you enjoy the parties?
ANNA DELLO RUSSO: No, no party. I’m not a party girl. I’m just a working girl. Usually I come for the fashion week, but this time I came before for Macy’s.
BRILLSON: So for this capsule collection, what was your influence? What does “Editor-At-Large” mean?
DELLO RUSSO: First, I had to pick the right product, the right clothes. I advised the group and said, “This is good” or “This is not good.” I had to push one way or lead another. I edited the collection. Secondly, I styled the collection. Choosing to put a block of color with a print. Third, I chose the photographer, the models and the idea of the campaign to communicate the fashion in the advertising.BRILLSON: [picking out a houndstooth shift] This is the first print I’ve seen. Is there a reason why you gravitated towards blocks of color?
DELLO RUSSO: Yeah. There is a graphic, geometric print at the beginning. This print is a fat print. There is a sense of geometry.
BRILLSON: When you worked with Karolina and Inez, what did you want to communicate?
DELLO RUSSO: First, we were having fun. We are making this campaign to be fun. It’s going to be me and Karolina together in the picture. It’s a new way to approach fashion. Before the editor, and the stylist, weren’t visible; they were behind the camera and you couldn’t see. This is a historical moment, where people behind the scenes can be in front of the camera. And it’s a fun moment—a kind of revenge for me—to be there! I think that’s reflected in the picture: It’s full of energy. It is not serious or stiff. To me, that’s the message of fashion. You have to really play with fashion, and have fun. Let the problem go, and enjoy the moment.
Second, it was about style. It was really important for it to mix together. This blonde Czech girl, and me, this tan brunette Italian girl—and mesh them together. Different but not different. And of course, the quality of Inez. Inez was the right photographer, because she understands how to make you feel great, beautiful. She is also an ageless woman. She can really tap into the feeling of ageless fashion for the mass market.
BRILLSON: How do you balance creativity with the commercial needs of the mass market?
DELLO RUSSO: This is why I accepted this. Because it was a challenge. I’ve edited magazines for 20 years, for magazines like Vogue, and this is not for that market. But the world is changing so fast. I understood it’s time to approach a different challenge, and deal with a new generation and a new market. And it’s less pretentious than luxury.
I think it was the right moment to make a bridge between me and the market. I think it works, because what is important is the quality. The quality has to be everything, like quality images. But the content can be more approachable… That is the formula.
BRILLSON: What trend in fashion right now do you really love?
DELLO RUSSO: I love all trends. If I don’t wear it, it also means something, right? I love the dialectical trend in fashion: I love the opposite trends, it makes a kind of process. Fashion is never static. What is good about fashion is that it is always moving.
BRILLSON: There is an element of video to this project. Can you tell me why video, and your personal videos, are so important to you?
DELLO RUSSO: The Web is a new channel for fashion. On the Web, you have a lot of room to make a kind of story. I started to do video for my blog, so when Macy’s approached me, I wanted to do a backstage video. I think it’s a funny way to read between the images. You have a presentation, but I think it’s smart to take a humoristic approach. Video is really important for the Web, because everything stands so static. It has to be shorter, it has to have impact, and it has to be fun in a way. It has to be quick, instantaneous, modern, young. You have to be direct.
BRILLSON: What is packing for Fashion Week like for you?
DELLO RUSSO: How much luggage? [laughs] My next collaboration should be with FedEx. How much luggage should I bring to Fashion Week? I bring a lot of clothes. New York is different, and each city has a different approach. I project myself into a scenario, like I am in a theatre. I have to think where I am and where I’m going, and then the order of the cities. Maybe I am the only one thinking about the order: This has to be seen before that for it to have impact. I think I’m the only one thinking about that… maybe I am crazy, but it is that important to me.