Behind the Seams with Caroline Legrand

Caroline Legrand

Caroline Legrand is our idea of the modern woman; she's strong, cool and stylish with a glamorous lifestyle and wardrobe to match.  She's used her linguistic skills to work in luxury fashion and now is a celebrated interior designer. We had a few questions for Caroline Legrand:

DONNA IDA: How did you get your big break?

Caroline Legrand: Basically by word of mouth, slowly putting myself out there, effortless networking and, as always, everything always comes together at once!

DONNA IDA: Your success in fashion and interior design has been incredible - what advice would you give to those looking to break into fashion or aspiring interior designers?

Caroline Legrand: Just follow your passion. If you do what you really want to do in life then money/success will follow if your heart and soul are in it for the right reason. Be yourself, keep your eyes open, be open to change, observe, listen, read, but most of all follow your instinct. Work hard, be kind, treat others the way you want to be treated whether its a client, a colleague, someone who needs your help or someone whose help you need. Nothing is a coincidence in life. Door opens to us all the time, it's the ability to recognise those doors and walk through them that is important.

DONNA IDA: Have you always been interested in fashion and interior design?

Caroline Legrand:Yes, I call it the 'trilogy' as my three life choices were: languages (interpreter), fashion design and interior architecture. I decided to go with languages as that would enable me to work anywhere in the world and in any kind of industry. And I have achieved all three which has been fascinating really.

DONNA IDA: So give us a sneak into your daily life, what is your typical working day?

Caroline Legrand: When I am in London, I drop my sons at school and then start the day with training (Tracy Anderson three times every week, Lomax twice a week and Jivamukti yoga twice a week). Then it's either emails/admin or research for clients, for example 1stdibs is one of my favoutite websites.  I usually spend a few hours shopping for clients all over London looking for various things from Alfie's Market like bar taps and towel rails to flowers. I tend to schedule client meetings when they are home in the evening.  I am very organised and can fit a lot in a day! I try to see a few of my close girlfriends a few times a week but not too many as lunch breaks your day up. No day is ever the same as I often travel a lot either for work/creative purposes or for kid's holidays (a London luxury is to be able to go away with them and spend quality time and explore the world).

DONNA IDA: What do you think is the future of fashion?

Caroline Legrand: The future of fashion is to be more in synchronicity with our lives, where we live and how we live. I find it ridiculous that Summer clothes hit the stores in November and by end June the sales are over, so it's impossible to buy decent clothes by the time the warm weather hits. I find it hard to buy 6 months ahead of the season as I have no idea how I will feel, how my body will be, how my mood will be when it's time to wear the clothes. I live now, not in the past nor in the future.

DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?

Caroline Legrand: I don't know. The younger me made pretty amazing choices from a very young age so there is nothing I would change.

DONNA IDA: What will you be wearing this SS14? What makes up your modern wardrobe?

Caroline Legrand: I have bought very well this season in that I have worn everything I have purchased so far, which is the way I work. I buy to wear. I can't bear items unworn in a wardrobe.  I have bought fabulous jeans at Donna Ida and wear them daily with various looks. I bought a lot of Isabel Marant (I mix her pieces with Donna Ida jeans and with Saint Laurent pieces). Leather elasticated waistband trousers have been a great investment and I've  worn them non-stop for daytime and evening.  I love black and white. Bold leather colours mixed with plain tees.  I bought a few jackets this season (IRO, Isabel Marant, Saint Laurent) which are to go with different looks. I have added a few new designers too: Emilio de la Morena (so different than what's out there), Anthony Vaccarello (so sexy and few people wear him), Cushnie et Ochs (cool) and Tamara Mellon. The beach wardrobe is mainly Melissa Odabash bikinis and Topshop fringed kimonos which is trés Kate Moss. Perfect for Ibiza, Bali, Miami.

DONNA IDA: How do you, as an interior designer, organise your wardrobe? Do you have tips for us on how to organise ours?

Caroline Legrand: Oh I am very organised. My girlfriends ask me to come sort their wardrobes regularly which I love to do.  I put away Winter clothes around the end of March before we go away for Easter so when I'm back there are no more woolly jumpers around. I do the same with my Summer clothes, the very high Summer items are being put away in early to mid September. I keep out items that can work all-year-round.  My wardrobe is organised in six main sections:

1. new purchases which are organised by colours and looks

2. previous season's dresses

3. evening/black tie/party dresses

4. previous season's shirts/jackets

5. rain coats/leather jackets/capes

6. jeans (all organised by styles - skinnies, slouchy, wide leg, coloured)

That's why I can be ready in seven minutes. I also repeat looks, so I may wear the same look many times.  I wear what makes me happy, what makes me feel good and makes me look good. I wear heels every day, always have and always will because I love shoes.

DONNA IDA: What’s next?

Caroline Legrand: 2014 is a very exciting year for me. I have completed four amazing projects in the last six months already and I have a few interior projects with interesting clients on the horizon. I also have a new property development in the pipeline. I have just become an investor in a website called MyGoodness which was created and launched by a dear friend of mine. It is an online fashion website which reinvents shopping by giving back. It supports social change by incorporating philanthropy into our daily lives.  There are a lot of very smart women out there (whom I am proud to be friends with) who are trying daily to bring awareness to causes close to their hearts, who are trying to make people aware of what's going on in our world (social, political, environmental).  It's the year of gratitude for me.  Fashion is an expression of our personalities, and what we do with our lives are a reflection of our personalities I would say…