LONDON - Effortlessly cool. That is Kate Phelan summed up in two words.
She belongs to that special clan of women with innate style who look easily slouchy-chic in a simple parka, loose pants and slip on sneakers. Any other person would appear frumpy in the same combination but then again, Phelan is the creative director of Topshop.
Phelan has a solid fashion background. She worked at British Vogue for 18 years as co-fashion director before taking on the role of top dog at the high street giant in 2011.
Her wealth of experience in styling and working with photographers like Nick Knight and Tim Walker helped her move focus from editorial work to conceptualising designs and collections without a hitch. Plus, her easy style is quintessentially Topshop.
THE TRUTH ABOUT KATE (MOSS)
The chance to interview the creative director came when I flew to London for the launch of Kate Moss for Topshop collection.
We sat in the middle of the space where the Topshop press day was going on and what struck me about Phelan - after I got over how cool she is - was how grounded she was.
After all, this is a woman who dresses supermodels and celebrities, including Kate Moss, for shoots on a daily basis.
With celebrity collaborations a dime a dozen these days, I wanted to know how involved the model was with the collection that bore her name. Phelan recognises how widely the word collaboration is used in the fashion industry but only had praise for the other Kate.
She said, "Kate takes her fashion very seriously, whether in front of the camera or designing a collection, they are both equally important to her. Particularly with the Topshop collection as it's about her, the clothes she loves and wears and the lifestyle she lives. It's exciting to see someone approach a collection thinking purely about 'Do I love it? Do I want to wear it?' instead of thinking about how 'I need to have casual wear or sweaters' in a world where fashion is very organised. She delivers this sense of decadent lifestyle and wonderful source of beautiful vintage, mixed up with modern day to champion a confident young woman who dresses her own way and I think that's a very powerful message today."
We can certainly see that the collaboration is very Moss from the fringed jackets to bohemian maxi dresses, so how down and dirty did the supermodel get during the design process?