Nini Khatiblou is the kind of girl you want to hang out with; she's cool, stylish and she's a girl's girl. Her gorgeous flat in Primrose Hill is a Fashion Editor's paradise; all white walls, vintage knick knacks in every room, and importantly a wine rack filled with the promise of a fun night in. On the day we visited, Nini was preparing for a shoot with Zara Martin for Phoenix Magazine so we could see racks of clothes, stacks of shoes in her office, as well as the customary five suitcases for ferrying clothes around London. When she's not prepping or shooting, she's out and about in North London, keeping an eye out for celebrities and looking for more vintage finds. Welcome to Nini's world:
DONNA IDA: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
My parents are both Persian and moved to London in the late 70s. I was born and brought up in North London and I love it. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else - except maybe Babington House!
DONNA IDA: How did you get started in the fashion world?
It all happened very organically. When I was 16, I was at a 6th form school where I really didn't feel like I fitted in. At the time, work experience was slowly starting to become more of a thing and I ploughed all my time and energy into trying to get as many work placements during the holidays as possible. It was my form of escapism and I soon realised I much preferred the company of grown-ups in the workplace than my schoolmates! My mum used to collect old copies of HELLO! magazine so after a brief placement on the features team, I realised how much I loved the feel and energy of working in a magazine environment. One placement led to another and fairly quickly, I was interning in fashion cupboards every school holiday.
DONNA IDA: What inspired you to get into styling?
I've always been fascinated with the connection between psychology and clothes and more specifically, the influence an outfit can have on your mood. I was quite shy and reserved as a teenager but once I discovered fashion and dressing up, my personality totally developed. Nothing makes me more happy or confident than wearing an outfit that I love and feel good in.
DONNA IDA: What are your tips for taking a great photo?
Lighting is key! And a good Instagram filter - when in doubt, use Mayfair.
DONNA IDA: Tell us about Fashion Week; what are your show highlights, what are you looking forward to and what are your survival tips?
For me, it's just as much about people-watching as it is about the shows themselves. I think it's great that Street Style has become such a huge part of the fashion world and I love seeing what other people are wearing to the shows. In terms of survival tips, acceptance is key - it's going to be a knackering few days but you can rest up when it's over!
DONNA IDA: What are your wardrobe essentials and how do you wear your jeans?
Without a doubt, my denim dungarees are my ultimate essential. I have them in blue, black and ecru denim and can't get enough of them. I genuinely think they're the most versatile item of clothing you can own. I love wearing them with an oversized shirt and trainers for a casual look or dressing them up with a silk blouse and pointed toe heels - the juxtaposition feels very modern. When I'm not in denim dungarees, I'm in jeans - I can't actually remember a day i didn't wear something denim! My default outfit is a pair of jeans, a big furry jacket, trainers and a fab clutch - it's when I feel my most comfortable.
DONNA IDA: Why do you think jeans are such an iconic item?
I don't think there are many items which you could say have lasted generation after generation and been reinvented so many times as a pair of jeans. They're permanently on trend and can be styled in a million different ways. Plus -everyone looks good in a pair of jeans, it's just about finding the right style.
DONNA IDA: Which are your favourite jeans from our shoot and why?
I have a huge soft spot for the IDA Sadie boiler suit because it's the perfect mix of totally bonkers and really flattering and stylish! I also loved the J Brand cropped kick flares - I'd written off this style a while back as I didn't think I was tall enough to pull them off but once Sarah, the Manager of DONNA IDA in Chelsea persuaded me to try this pair, I was hooked!
DONNA IDA: Who is your denim icon?
I love how Alexa Chung and Chloe Sevigny wear and style their jeans. They're both really carefree and adventurous in their fashion choices and there's something really inspiring about girls who make it look genuinely effortless.
DONNA IDA: Where in the world are girls best dressed? What kind of style do you admire?
I know everyone says it but I'm a big fan of French style. I lived in Paris for a while and became totally obsessed with how simple yet brilliantly put together French girls look.
DONNA IDA: Describe your style highs and lows?
I probably couldn't pinpoint a specific high - I like to think of myself as a work in progress! In terms of style lows, far too many to name but it's all part of the fun.
DONNA IDA: What’s your favourite restaurant?
For food and the overall experience, I'd probably go with Bob Bob Ricard - I love the grand decor. I'm also a big fan of small, family-run Italian restaurants. There are some great ones in and around Hampstead.
DONNA IDA: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
Sardinia is my favourite place in the world - give me a bowl of 'ghochetti sardi' in a beachside restaurant and I couldn't be happier!
DONNA IDA: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
Obviously PHOENIX, followed by Red and Town & Country, I like magazines with substance and lots of ideas.
DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Be more confident!
DONNA IDA: What’s next?
I've just joined The Manual by PHOENIX as their Fashion Editor and I'm looking forward to more exciting celebrity cover and Main Fashion shoots. 2016 is all about embracing change and I'm really looking forward to it.