Ella Gregory is perhaps better known as Coco's Tea Party, the lifestyle blog she founded in September 2006 where she inspires fashion savvy young professionals. Ella's been on our denim radar for a while since we chatted to her on the business of blogging and love of classic skinnies, and so we couldn't wait to shoot her for our latest Style Insider. What do we love about Ella? Her understated natural beauty, her calm demeanour plus the fact that she is at home in front of the camera and can rock this season's 70s vibe with minimal effort. So where is the perfect setting for a retro photo shoot? How about Belgraves Thompson Hotel which is around the corner from DONNA IDA in Belgravia. The space is an eclectic mix of cool and wonderful pieces with ever-changing paintings making it a very chic living art gallery. Let's catch up with Ella Gregory.
DONNA IDA: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I live in South West London, which is where I grew up.
DONNA IDA: How did you get started in the fashion world?
I started my blog Coco’s Tea Party on a whim in 2006. I was 16 at the time and had no idea I would still be blogging 10 years later. After I graduated I went straight into an internship at Marie Claire, but left after two months to focus on Coco's Tea Party full time. It was a big leap of faith at the time, but turned out to be the right decision.
DONNA IDA: What inspired you to start your blog?
There was never any great ambition for the blog. I just loved writing about fashion and wanted to have an outlet where I could hone my skills before going into a fashion journalism degree. There weren’t really any famous bloggers in 2006, so there was no way of knowing it could ever be more than a fun hobby.
DONNA IDA: What are your tips for taking a great photo?
It really is a case of practise makes perfect. It takes a while to feel comfortable in front of the camera, so take time to experiment and find your best angle. Natural light is much more flattering than saturated, artificial lighting, so always pose near a window or outdoors if you can.
DONNA IDA: What are your wardrobe essentials and how do you wear your jeans?
Skinny jeans in black and navy are two of my key wardrobe essentials. I wear them almost every day, whatever the season. In Autumn/Winter I pair them with over-the-knee boots and chunky knitwear, and in Spring and Summer switch to statement flats, silk shirts or printed camisoles.
DONNA IDA: Why do you think jeans are such an iconic item?
A good pair of jeans can always be relied upon, no matter what the occasion is. I think they’re so iconic because they can be comfortable, practical, sexy and fashionable at the same time. Can you really say that about any other item of clothing?
DONNA IDA: Which are your favourite jeans from our shoot and why?
I thought the flared J Brand jeans were super cool, in a Charlie’s Angels kind of way. They’re probably not a style I’d ever wear in real life though. The IDA skinny jeans are much more me - I live in blue skinny jeans.
DONNA IDA: Who is your denim icon?
It’s a bit of a predictable answer, but Kate Moss wears jeans like no one else. I also love seeing how Olivia Palermo styles denim - she always looks pulled-together with an edge, whether she’s in a Current/Elliott pencil skirt or J Brand skinnies.
DONNA IDA: Where in the world are girls best dressed? What kind of style do you admire?
You can find great style in every corner of the globe, I really believe that. But I’ve always gravitated towards cool, contemporary American fashion brands, so love the style you seen on the streets in New York. Especially around SoHo and Williamsburg.
DONNA IDA: Describe your style highs and lows?
The early-2000’s weren’t very kind to fashion, and I spent a lot of time dressing like J.Lo and Britney Spears. So that was a definite low point. But I think you constantly reach new style highs as you get older and get a stronger sense of what suits you.
Ella Gregory wears DONNA IDA Come Fly with Me blouse and J Brand jeans
DONNA IDA: What’s your favourite restaurant?
I love La Esquina in SoHo, New York. I’m going back to NYC in April, and the Mexican restaurant is top of my “must-visit” list for the city.
DONNA IDA: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
I love warm climates, so anywhere tropical with a great beach. But I’m also hoping to visit Nashville later this year. I love country music!
DONNA IDA: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
Vanity Fair is the only magazine I still read on a monthly basis. I now get all of my fashion news and inspiration online. US Vogue are creating great online content at the moment.
DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
When it comes to confidence, fake it until you make it. As I’ve got older I’ve realised everyone has the same insecurities, no matter how successful they seem on the outside.
DONNA IDA: What’s next?
I’ll be celebrating Coco's Tea Party’s 10th anniversary in September, so there are lots of exciting things to come throughout 2016.