Today’s Q&A is near and dear to my heart because it’s Annemarie Iverson, former Editor-In-Chief of both Seventeen (yep, while I was there!) and YM magazines as well as former Fashion and Beauty News Director at Harper’s Bazaar. She now works at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics as Senior VP of Creative Brand Development. I first ran into Annemarie at the fax machine (I was an intern, hello) and she actually stopped to chat with me (of course, I was shaking in my sample sale Prada skirt!). What a genuinely nice person with such talent and style (she had blunt-cut bangs at the time and could rock a ponytail like no other). Annemarie’s just written a book out this month called IN FASHION, and you MUST pick it up if you are at all interested in working in the industry. I even found it worth my time just for familiarizing myself with key players and tips. Such a good book, and here’s what Annemarie had to say about it!
I Heart Heels: Where did you get the idea to write this book, and how long did it take to write?
Annemarie Iverson: It started as “Lessons from Liz.” Liz Tilberis, that is, who was my editor, friend, angel at Harper’s Bazaar. She had a way of looking at life that made normal situations feel magical. She also had strong ideas about things. For example, she didn’t trust people who didn’t have pets. Liz also strongly believed drinking champagne on a fashion shoot guaranteed better pictures.
So I already had bits and pieces of this book written when Clarkson-Potter asked me to make things more job focused. Once I worked out the format for IN FASHION, it took me nine months or so to write the 250,000 words. A personal record.
IHH: Designer Diane von Furstenberg wrote the book forward and designer Nicole Miller is mentioned throughout as a friend. How do these ladies inspire your work?
AI: Both Diane and Nicole inspire me in that they both have the flip-side abilities to be creative in design and smart in business. Both fashion icons, Diane and Nicole have put their own names on labels, wear their own clothes and live and breathe their own visions. Most importantly, they both have proven to the world that they have the stamina and courage to survive and thrive in the up and down, cruel and fabulous world of fashion.
IHH: I took the Fashionista Aptitude Survey on your Web site, and I’m a Visualizer. Where do you fit in?
AI: I am a clear-cut critic. The Fashionista Aptitude Test is a weirdly accurate measure of Where You Belong In Fashion.
IHH: You’re from the Midwest. Was big city life always appealing to you from a young age, and were you ever intimidated when first starting out?
AI: I’m still intimidated! From the Wastelands of Wisconsin, I watched this TV show called THAT GIRL (with Marlo Thomas & her character was called Annemarie!!). I knew from the age of five or six that I had to live in Manhattan. That my father forbade me from doing so only spurred me on.
IHH: Do you have a favorite pair of heels?
AI: Hello! The Marni fluted 14 cm heel platform pumps I wore to my book party. They are a sick rose fleshy color that I love. They now occupy the most important position on my shoe wall. (My toes did go a bit numb in them, however, so they are probably more for short bursts of height.)
IHH: I love Bobbi Brown Cosmetics! What are some of your daily tasks as a SVP at Bobbi Brown?
AI: The most important thing I do every day is messaging – making sure that Bobbi’s straight-forward, empowering message gets out to women in the 56 countries where we are sold.
IHH: Which shade of Bobbi Brown lipstick do you wear the most?
AI: I am obsessed with this new orange-red shade Bobbi developed called LADY RUBA. It’s named after the creative director here, Ruba Abu-Nimah, who loves intensely pigmented color. People stop me on the subway and at Dean & Deluca to ask me what I’m wearing.
IHH: What’s in your make-up bag right now?
AI: Bobbi Brown Medium Bronzer, mascara, concealer/corrector, three to four lip colors. It’s high summer so I’m doing “makeup lite.”
IHH: What’s one key point from the book that budding fashionistas should take home with them about breaking into the industry?
AI: That working hard and being a good, kind person matters more than anything else. Not to chew gum or be arrogant on interviews.
IHH: How did working as a magazine editor shape where you are today?
AI: As I write in IN FASHION, being a magazine editor prepares you for almost any job in The World.
[Photo Credit: Henry Leutwyler]