MARIE CLAIRE UK
BEAUTY & STYLE DIRECTOR
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
tells us in-depth about her career and her once in a
lifetime opportunity to work at Marie Claire UK. She
shares what her life is like, what her favorite
designers and products are, and if having a degree gives
you the upper hand in the fashion industry. Lisa
is well-rounded and has built a solid foundation. I
definitely would consider her a master of her trade.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
Can you tell me a little about your background?
I grew up in a tiny town in Gloucestershire and
decided to do my A levels (Fashion Textiles, History of
Arts and, bizarrely, Maths) in the bigger city of
Cheltenham. I went on to study History of Art for my
degree in Manchester, which is an amazing club and music
scene. I worked in a gay and lesbian club called
Paradise Factory and for clubbing fashion brand Haley
Cato, all of which had a big influence on me and how my
EFM: When did you decide that you
wanted to work in the fashion
I did fashion A level which
included pattern cutting. This is when I started
making my own clothes and outfits for friends to
wear going out. I had creative energy at this age
and also sold a lot of paintings. I also worked for
a small but influential fashion brand at university
- Haley Cato - modeling their clothes and working at
trade events. This is where I was exposed to
the workings of the magazine world, attending
lectures by inspirational editors. I decided then
that I wanted to become a fashion and beauty
journalist and stylist.
are Marie Claire's UK beauty and style director; can you
tell me how the opportunity came about?
I've been a journalist for 10
years and worked my way up through different titles. I
started at More magazine and the last title I worked on
was InStyle. When the job at Marie Claire came up I
jumped at the chance as it's where I've always aspired
to be. We have the largest beauty section in the UK
press, which means we can shoot a lot of stories.
Shooting is a large part of my job and we are fortunate
enough to have the space to showcase the gorgeous
photographs that we put a lot of energy into creating.
EFM: What are your daily tasks as
the beauty and style director?
As well as overseeing the section,
commissioning stories, managing a team of four and
working with my editor and the art department to produce
stand out features, I also interview celebrities, attend
product launches, interview hair stylists and make-up
artists backstage at all the shows in Milan, Paris, New
York, and London. I also shoot glossy stories all over
the world-recent trips being to Bora Bora, on Safari in
South Africa and Thailand-with the best teams in the
business. I always try to spot and nurture new talent
whether they're writers, photographers, hairstylists or
EFM: In Marie
Claire December 2010 issue, you styled Gossip Girl
actress Leighton Meester (loved the shoot); what is she
Leighton was a gorgeous
girl - very pretty and petit. She was tired as she had
just flown in from the states and my shoot was the start
of a hectic schedule while she was in the UK.
EFM: What is it about your job
that you love the most?
I love the creative part - the
shoots-whether that's with an A-list celebrity or an up
and coming model or even a still life shoot with
lipsticks and mascaras - love creating inspiring
pictures. I also love interviewing designers and other
creative people that inspire me. There's nothing like
being at a catwalk show loving the music, the designs,
the fabric, the hair and make-up and walking out of
there with a firm idea of what angle my stories are
going to go in for the season ahead. I also think the
music industry is very connected to my world and love
being inspired by rock and dance music artist or clubs.
The energy inspires me to keep on top of the hottest
EFM: Do you think that having a
degree in fashion will get you further in the industry?
I definitely think it's
useful but by no means essential-as long as you can
demonstrate passion and a firm understanding of fashion
and beauty. Also some can argue that having a different
type of a degree gives you a different perspective on
things. My History of Art degree and seeing artists
compositions has definitely helped me when art directing
a shoot and the writing and investigating into artists
lives, etc. have helped me become a through journalist.
Also, sometimes it's best to get stuck in there and not
bother with a degree. Often experience is the most
How important do you think it is to be an assistant?
I got lucky and
jumped the assistant part of my job-I was a beauty PR
for 2 years and then became a beauty writer. But I would
say it's incredibly important to find a mentor and
someone that inspires you-or you could end up going down
the wrong path.
What is a style director?
I do a lot of shoots in the
magazine and all of them have a strong fashion element.
Beauty and fashion are so intimately linked at the
magazine that I need to go to all of the show to stay on
top of the latest trends in hair, make-up and clothes.
EFM: What are your favorite beauty
As part of my job I have to try
out a lot of beauty products. The products I can't live
without are Carita Lagoon Cream, Cream De La Mer
Radiance Serum, La Prarie Eye Cream, Aromatherapy
Associates Bath and Body Oils help me to chill out. I
have to use
Crème De La Mer to protect my skin when I jog outside
and I use Dermalogica Multi-Vitamin Mask when I get
back. It's so nourishing. Terry Lip Balm is amazing
nourishing and leaves a lovely pale sheen on my lips - I
can't go anywhere without it. For my blonde hair the
Kerastase Bain De Force treatments is my saviour. I also
drink liters of green tea and swear by taking 4 fish
oils a day!
EFM: Who are your favorite
Garani Strok, Alexander Wang.
EFM: Where do you like to shop in
I live on the Golborne Road W10 so
I'm a regular at vintage shops Retro, Relik, and
EFM: How would you describe your
LO: My job
demands that I dress a bit smarter than I would normally
during the day, usually in quite a minimal style-black
skinny jeans from Sass and Bide with a Balenciaga black
top and a Vivienne Westwood jacket. I've recently
started wearing more silver and gem rings and silver
necklaces and bracelets for a 70s spin. I also wear
basics from Cos and American Apparel and love Helmut
Lang. Alexander Wang and Jil Sander for basics, too. My
recent Elizabeth and James wedge boots are my winter
staple - I wear then with everything, from maxi skirts
to jeans and t-shirts. One the weekends and nights out
my look is more 70s hippy chick or 90s grunge. I like to
feel dressed and relaxed with holes in my jeans and
EFM: What advice can you give to
aspiring who would like to work in the fashion industry?
LO: Try to get as
much experience as possible and live and breathe
fashion. Make sure you can demonstrate that you have
passion and intricate knowledge of how the fashion
industry works. Try to get references and inspiration
from everything around you - films, magazines, the web,
music, art or dance.
Interview by Rochell “E” James