The Deals and the Dish on Where You Need to Shop
May 14, 2010
04:09 PMWindow Shopping
Lucky Mag Visits Madison
The title “editor-at-large” has always sounded mysterious to me. Madison Magazine does not have an editor-at-large. So, what does that mean? My man André Leon Talley is Vogue’s editor-at-large—but André mostly defies expectations anyway, so I figured that title meant hobnobbing with celebs, meeting with designers and telling them their collections were fabulous, wearing capes and robes, and sporting fancy canes (Mr. Talley does all of the above).
I spoke with Loehnen recently because she’s in town hosting a Lucky/Lands’ End Canvas summer style event at the State Street store on Saturday, May 15 (details are at the bottom of the post). Attendees will receive style advice from Loehnen, meet textile designer Lily Raskind and get all sorts of freebies like tote bags, refreshments and the chance to win a Lands’ End Canvas summer wardrobe.
So, you’re the editor-at-large. What do you do?
Essentially I’m out and about and part of my job is to write the shopping trips I take around the world. So, I’m in the office but I’m also out and about constantly looking for new stores.
How did you get your job?
Luck and hard work. I started at the magazine right out of college and I learned a lot. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of shopping. And, I made myself indispensable at the magazine.
Tell us about the Lands’ End Canvas event this Saturday.
We partnered with Lands’ End Canvas. If people aren’t familiar it’s this new collection that Lands’ End launched that’s a little more citified, younger and edgier. It’s well-cut basics, trendier pieces and classics. We’re big fans of it at Lucky. It has great prices, which we’re also big fans of. We’re going to four cities around the country: Madison, Portland, Seattle and Boston.
It’s a styling event. People might ask me how to shop for jeans, how to tie a scarf or what to wear to work. And I’m going to teach them little styling tricks.
Another really cool part is that we’re traveling with designer Lily Raskind, of this label called Sunshine and Shadow. It’s a small, cool, independent clothing line. She’s known for her patterns and prints. So she’s with us, and she’s created all of these stencils and will hand-paint monograms, or you could have a scarf painted by Lily.
We also created a series of styling videos around Lands’ End pieces. So how-to videos will be looping in the store during the event.
So how much traveling do you do?
It depends. Sometimes I’m gone constantly between L.A. or Paris, sometimes I’m home. I do travel a lot, and I’m always looking around the country to see what’s going on.
How do you keep track of what’s going on around the country, and of course, worldwide?
We have a handful of writers that are scattered across the country. I have friends that are bloggers that are constantly updating me on things. I look at where our favorite lines are sold. The Internet has made my job much more possible! I read local magazines—we get pretty much everything. I also use Facebook and talk to friends that are traveling. People really love to talk about shopping and where they love to shop. So I have a fountain of information that comes across my transom constantly. When you discover something you always want to share it!
Name your two or three favorite cities to shop.
I think L.A. has surpassed New York in shopping, which is odd to say. London has great shopping. And, I have to say, my mom is from Des Moines, Iowa, and the antique malls of the Midwest are amazing. That’s what I want to do this afternoon when I’m done! I’m originally from Missoula, Montana, and I also love the pawnshops there. There’s great shopping in everyone’s backyard. Even driving around in Madison, there are so many garage sale signs up.
What’s the best part about your job?
The travel. I also like seeing stores. And I love making styling videos for luckymag.com. I feel like they’re useful and digestible, and you can watch and think, “I have five new outfit ideas.”
What are your wardrobe essentials as a fashion editor?
A striped shirt. It’s so versatile, you can dress it up, wear it with a sequined miniskirt, or you can wear it with jeans. That’s a huge trend and one I love.
I love a great shirtdress, belted. It’s casual and really easy. And I’m obsessed with long cardigans to wear over the shirtdress. In the fall you can add tights.
I love ballet flats because I walk a ton. I feel put together [when I wear them] and they’re not super precious. I like any basic, colorful flat.
I love big patterned scarves. Or solid scarves. It’s a nice update to the big statement necklace, which has been really big for a few seasons. Scarves are great for transitional weather. And when you work somewhere that’s air conditioned, you always need so many extra layers.
A chambray shirt. It’s a great alternative to a cardigan—you can wear it over a T-shirt, or under a cardigan, and you can wear it in the spring or fall.
What about your essential pieces for this fall?
Slouchy khakis. I’ll wear those now and in the fall.
Straight leg jeans, not too skinny, in a black, darker wash.
A blazer or a jacket. Nothing makes you look more polished and put together. I’m all about comfort.
Since you travel so much, what are your travel essentials?
A pre-packed toiletry bag—I have one set that I always leave in my bag. I’m very careful about shoes, as they take up the most space. So I’ll wear a low hi-top. I usually bring two pairs of black jeans or pants, multiple T-shirts that I can layer, a blazer and cardigans. That way you can wear the same pants day in and day out in different combinations. And I bring jewelry or a scarf—those are great ways to completely change an outfit or dress it up and down.
How do you narrow down the many stores that you could feature every month in the Shopping Report (a monthly feature in the magazine that highlights a different shopping city)?
It always has to be a range. I like to cover big stores that are everywhere. It’s fun to read about stores that you might never go to, but you want to be able to go to some of them, too. I like a store that has an editorial approach, whether that means they only feature designers from London, for example. Or I look at boutiques that fit a trend, like stores that only carry things that are black. It’s interesting because there are real retail trends. And obviously, the Web makes things so much more democratic. I write a column about shopping online and whatever catches my interest. I feature whatever’s new, fresh, and interesting.
Speaking of trends, what’s a trend you’d never wear?
I tend to try everything. I mean, there are things that don’t work for my body that are really cute. A lot of girls look great in skinny jeans, but I just skip them. I’m curvy, and I have to keep that in mind. It’s never so much about what’s trendy, but what works for you.
How has Lucky dealt with shopping during a recession, two seemingly opposite concepts?
We’ve always done a mix, so we were pretty well positioned for this. We always care about things that are affordable. If something’s $400, you’ll also find something [in our pages] that’s $40, or even $4. And prices are coming down, too. Vendors are being really conscious about that. It’s important to invest in things that you can wear multiple ways, for many seasons.
You talked about your favorite cities to shop in, but do you have any favorite stores?
I have so many favorite stores; that’s an impossible question! There’s a store in New York called Albertine where I buy lots of things. If I need something really special for a party, I’ll go there. And I buy a lot of vintage things when I can find them.
What are wardrobe essentials every woman should have?
Every woman needs a great blazer; a bunch of really comfortable T-shirts that are slouchy, not clingy; a great pair of jeans; a great-fitting dress; belts and some long cardigans.
Lands’ End Canvas and Lucky Magazine’s Summer Style Event: Saturday, May 15. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Lands’ End Canvas, 411 State St. 257-4900.