Christine Suppes in Vivienne Westwood Couture, Photographed by Frederic Aranda
Founder of FashionLines.com/ Haute Couture Parton
by David Pedroza, Editor-in-Chief
Christine Suppes is the innovator and pioneer to introduce the first editorial fashion E-magazine on the Internet. In 1999, Christine launched FashionLines.com, a site that reported fashion week coverage from all over the world, interviewed fashion's most interesting designers, and covered life style and cultural stories. The site closed in 2007, but made way for new fashion Internet editorials and inspired fashion bloggers abroad. Christine Suppes is not only a respected journalist (she is also our fellow Editor at large), but a great patron of the arts as well (she was the major patron of the Yves Saint Laurent retrosoective at the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Fransisco in 2008, and will also be patron for the Balenciaga exhibition at the de Young in March 2011). Christine is also a celebrated Haute Couture collector and has been noted to support new talent, such as Rodarte when they first appeared on the fashion radar. This beautiful, inspiring and intriguing woman shares with us her unique personal style and why she loves haute couture....
DP: Has it been an easy or difficult to become one of society’s arbiters of fashion?
CS: Being a style arbiter was nothing I ever thought about. I realized early on when purchasing the clothes I loved that I would rather know more about each garment, and be able to write about it, than just to be known as a fashion consumer.
DP: Does your mood reflect what you wear?
CS: My mood is affected by what I wear. Rodarte brings out the California girl in me, Chanel brings serenity (correctness has its place!), Westwood brings joy, Lacroix Haute Couture brings majesty. And on and on….
DP: Who are your favorite designer(s)?
CS: Karl Lagerfeld of course, On Aura Tout Vu who are my dearest friends, Kate and Laura Mulleavy who I adore, and of course, Vivienne Westwood, that wonderful madcap genius.
DP: How did you gain this passion for collecting haute couture?
CS: By going to so many shows. I broke down one afternoon at a Lacroix show and started to cry because I wanted to look like the angel on the runway. I had already been buying dozens of on aura tout vu gowns and accessories, but they were still “invited members”, not flat out Haute Couture.
DP: What was your first HC purchase and did this purchase change the way you view clothes? The quality, shelf life, purpose of clothes….
CS: Again, it was the angelic Lacroix apricot organza coat with beige embroidered pearl lace and a matching dress. I have always taken care of my clothes, even when I wore GAP jeans. This time, with couture, I turned the lights off and covered the garments with “shrouds”. The purpose of clothes, after a certain level, means the wearer is taking responsibility for the look of a generation.
Striking a pose in Vivienne Westwood, photograph by Frederic Aranda
DP: Do you think your clothes well demonstrate your personality or who you are?
CS: They demonstrate something, but perhaps it’s too bold for me to say they demonstrate me.
DP: Are your accessories an extension of your ensembles, or do they stand out as their own objects?
CS: In the case of Chanel or Westwood, they belong as an ensemble. In the case of on aura tout vu, the accessories may stand alone because they are absolute works of cutting edge art.
DP: What are your favorite pieces in your closet?
CS: The latest thing I own…The pieces I love most are what I have recently acquired. There are exceptions, my Westwood corsets, my on aura tout vu accessories and their famous Map Coat from their second collection, and Lacroix’s goat hair and silver bell ethnic coat from his 2006 autumn collection.
DP: Do you believe being Editor in Chief of Fashionlines.com help your own personal style evolve by being exposed to more designers and their visions?
CS: Of course! Without question. At one point I was covering between 8-10 shows or related functions per day in Paris on my own. Experience like that matches no other.
DP: What would be your immediate reaction if you were sitting next to a woman wearing the exact dress as the one you where wearing?
CS: If I were wearing Haute Couture, I would find the directrice of the house and make a complaint. But prêt-a-porter is just that-----ready to wear. One can’t complain too much about what is more readily available. However, having said that, the prices of Chanel demi-couture are so high now that the saleswoman should bear in mind not to sell the same garment to frenemies or even friends in the same social group!
Extravagant in Vivienne Westwood Couture, which was custom made for Christine. Photograph by Frederic Aranda