Annabel Tollman is one of today’s hardest-working stylists. She’s the former fashion director of Interview magazine, eBay’s new fashion “brand ambassador,” and she’s famous for styling everyone from the Olsen twins to Scarlet Johansson. Did I mention she’s British and incredibly witty? I was thrilled when she said she was a huge fan of heels, too (she has a huge laundry list of her favorites below!). This is a girl I can totally chat with over coffee. See what I mean:
I Heart Heels: Which celebrities are you styling right now, and are you styling anyone for any upcoming events?
AT: At the moment, I’m working on some things with Vogue.com for NY Fashion Week and Fashion’s Night Out. Also, more eBay amazingness in the works.
IHH: How do you like to “style” yourself – is it pretty easy for you to get dressed every day?
AT: Some days I feel inspired and some days I don’t. I think the best thing to do to overcome either a style rut or a morning wardrobe panic is to practice. I always draw the parallel between cooking and styling. You wouldn’t expect to be able cook an amazing dish for a dinner party without making sure all the ingredients are assembled and having a test run!
IHH: Tell me about your new project with eBay.
AT: eBay have been amazing to work with – it’s so great when your hobby becomes your job. I shop a LOT on eBay for all sorts of things – vintage clothes, new clothes, furniture, art, magazines. It’s sort of like having the whole world as your closet. I’ve also learned some interesting things from sellers – a lot of them are experts in their field, and there’s a wealth of talent on there in young designers, artisans and also young stylists with eBay boutiques. It’s sort of a project without parameters.
IHH: I’m a former ASME intern at Seventeen magazine and huge fashion magazine fan. What was it like working as fashion director at Interview?
AT: Oh, it was a glorious time! Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant were so inspiring and incredible to work for. I just wrote my first ever editorial for The Daily Telegraph in the UK (it’s out on Monday!) and have to thank Ingrid. She really taught me the craft of journalism (and would lock me in my office until all the fashion copy was done; I used to be a reluctant writer!). I also had many incredible experiences and met incredible people – traveling to Tokyo with Karl Lagerfeld to shoot a special issue, epic Bruce Weber shoots, and the 35th Anniversary issue cover (which was the hottest, loudest shoot I have ever been on with 86 people and an on-set DJ), Julian Schnabel dropping into the office to show us his pictures. It was such a wonderful team, truly a family.
IHH: Why do you love vintage shopping so much – what is the allure?
AT: I suppose that I find vintage so alluring because it allows you to be more creative than merely choosing from the array of clothing in the stores any given season. I also love the workmanship – the hand-embroidery, the cutwork and the beading are things that you don’t find so much in modern clothing, except the extremely expensive or couture pieces. The sad thing about vintage is that often pieces are fragile, especially the Edwardian and 1920s/1930s pieces that I love. It’s sort of like having a beloved elderly relative. You know that they are going to fall apart and it makes them that much more precious.
IHH: How would you style a simple LBD?
AT: It really depends. The joy of the LBD is that the possibilities are endless! I’ve always been one for a bright shoe with a black dress, and I also usually throw an old shrunken biker jacket over anything too formal. So probably both of those.
IHH: Do you ever have red carpet anxiety when dressing celebs for events?
AT: Of course! The girls feel so much pressure to look 200-percent perfect that you can’t help but absorb it. They are relying on you to make sure it all goes smoothly.
IHH: What pieces are you already dreaming of for fall?
AT: Oh my goodness – so many things! I love the Isabel Marant rolled-jean look worn with a perfect pump. Obviously madly in love with the Louis Vuitton and the Prada retro-inspired looks. They’re a natural progression of my bonkers-floral-vintage-frocks I have been wearing this summer. I have really been lusting after the new Rochas and Vionnet, and absolutely pine for the Nina Ricci lace cocktail dresses. The Burberry aviator jackets, the tough Dior shoe booties, the MiuMiu and Prada bow belts.
Vintage-wise I usually have to see what appears. Vintage is the bonus ball that gives the edge in the lottery of fashion!
IHH: And, of course, what’s your favorite pair of heels and why?
AT: Oh, goodness me! Too many to mention, and of course I’m a fickle customer and switch allegiances every single day!
1. My favorite re-discovery is my Alaia white leather broderie d’orsay with an ankle strap. I bought them in Paris from Collette as a present to myself for my birthday six years ago and I just dug them out of the archive.
2. My favorite to actually wear (practical) shoe is a Bottega Veneta chocolate faux-alligator wedge. I can truck around all day in these babies.
3. My favorite classic is the Manolo Bebe – such a pretty shape on the foot and very comfortable, too. I have it in red suede and black suede.
[Photo Courtesy Glamour.com]