fashion industry recognizes her as the 'fashion
icon', with her daring, exquisite, and bold
sense of style.
This fashion icon has always been a
fashion sensation, wearing the latest
collections right off the fashion runway.
She is the epitome of fashion.
Anna just doesn't wear fashion, she
fashion. She has previously been described as
the ‘fashion maniac’ by the late brilliant
legendary Helmut Newton. Having a delightful
conversation with Anna Dello Russo, I was quite
surprised with her humbleness and poise.
FASHION EDITOR, EDITOR IN CHIEF, TO FREELANCER
“My career in fashion started a long time ago,”
she laughs. “I graduated from University and
then I came to Milan.”
Anna studied and obtained a Fashion
Master at the Domus Academy. “Which at the time
was a very prestigious school, my teacher was
at the time, and he was the
‘master of fashion and designer’
[In 1984 Gianfranco Ferrè was named the Designer
of the year]. After my Masters I had an
interview with Franca Sozzani [who took over
Italian Vogue in 1988] she was looking for a new
fashion staff for Italian Vogue, this was 21
years ago. I became a fashion editor for
Italian Vogue, of course with Franca, she made
me what I am today and she gave me an incredible
opportunity to really learn everything about
images, fashion, and quality. I Worked next to
her for 12 years. During that time, I began to really build my
career as a fashion editor. You have to learn
everything; photography, styling, models,
everything.” Anna describes her experience at
Italian Vogue as being a place of really learning
everything about fashion.
“Best school”, says Anna.
“After 12 years at Italian Vogue as a
Fashion Editor, Franca proposed me to do L'Uomo
Vogue as the Editor-in-Chief. That was another
experience because you have to direct a
magazine, and it was really different from what I
use to do. It was another challenge and I made
it.” After being the Editor-in-Chief of L’Uomo
for 6 years, Anna decided to change her life and
become a freelancer. “I preferred to do that
because it made my life easier, also my personal
I became the creative consultant and
fashion director at large for Japan Vogue.
That's almost my career so far,” she says.
BEST ADVICE GIVEN BY FRANCA SOZZANI
“She gave me really a lot of advice; she always
kept me thinking;
it’s not just about test,
fashion is not just about blue coat, clothes or
outfit; but fashion is more deep, you should
always study photography and understand the
language of photography to really understand how
deep is fashion, because it’s a
communication of a message, it’s
just not about clothes. At the beginning I was
so passionate about fashion; I love clothes,
because I was collecting clothes. I was mostly
into the clothes, like the brand and the designer,
but I didn't understand in the beginning the
process. To get beyond the clothes to understand
the processing, the clothes became a sign
meaning something else, like a message of
costume, culture, education, and attitude which is fantastic; its all about
the woman kind of life style. When it started it was completely into
the 80’s now it's more of superstar
than super designer; everything was super,” she
“Fashion changes so much. If I was in just a
fashion meeting I would be confused.
Because of Franca, I learned so much on how to make a magazine, to describe the
revolution, costume, the society, the attitude,
culture. Then I really proceeded to be part of
this revolution, in the 80’s to the
90’s and then the New Century. You
should really be connected to art, to the music,
movies all these things really relate to fashion.”
THE LIFE AS NIPPON VOGUE'S FASHION DIRECTOR
“I used to travel a lot. When I started working
in fashion, my life was in the plane. I
always traveled so much.
When I used to be at Italian Vogue as the
Fashion Editor, I traveled every month. I was
never at home, I was traveling around the world; now to me to travel to Japan or New York is not
a problem because I think that fashion makes the
world really small, it makes everything a
connection, it’s a deep language.
I really don't need to be in Japan to be
in New York, just a little bit tiring because
it’s more of a 12 hour flight.
With the internet you can be connecting
with people every day.
I see often my team at the Fashion Shows,
which is really often.
Summer, Winter, or Haute Couture, we meet
around the world.
We talk twice during the season, and then
we connect by the internet every day.
But, also my team is not actually just in
Japan, but my production is in New York, my
fashion editor is in New York too, my team is
here in Milan, we are really like the world most
global team, no two people are in the same city,
we are around the world.”
Anna, manages her time very strategically
following up daily each morning with conference
calls to Japan Vogue around five o'clock in the
morning, following up with her New York team,
her day ends around nine o'clock at night.
“It’s really a world-wide
job,” says Anna.
DESIGNER CLOTHES IS THE HIGHLIGHT
“The shopping for sure,” we laugh.
“Shopping to me I love [she
describes herself as being a fountain of
I love fashion. I am the fountain,” says
Anna, “I can catch the right clothes the first
moment when it goes out, because I’m
always next to the best places, like in Milan, I
go to the Italian brand; Paris, I go the Parisian
brand; New York ,I go to American brand. It’s
like a priority to shop. I can have the first
options, always.” Anna gives an example:
a little joke, we connect with all the news, all
the little things that happen in fashion, it's
like you are in the middle of the square, put in
the middle of the clue, where everything
happens. I was thinking in my Italian
expression ‘like to be in the square, because
everything is in the square, if you like to meet
the people to be social, meet boyfriend, you
should go in the square’; where all the people
meet each other. Like being in fashion, you’re in the
right time at the right moment and you know the
real time. I came from South Italy, and if I
was there I would take the magazine to the news.
I would have to wait a month to know what
happens, because the magazine goes out monthly.
With the internet, I can catch the right news,
the right clothes, the right moment, because in South Italy you're a bit far away.”
KNOWN AS THE INTERNET ICON
“I love the internet because you can talk to
everybody; your mom, to your grandmother, to
you, to your sister, it's incredible how it
opens the mind, being connected to people, who before, you could never touch.
This is what I
love about the web because it gives you the
opportunity to talk to everybody and to amuse
Anna says that before it was like a
little clan, no one knew anyone.
“We didn't have many contacts with
We used to be really into our world. But now the
internet made it more of a democratic approach,
which I love because everybody can give an
opinion, and it's bringing another point of
view. We can relate to the world more than what
we used to.”
Anna describes ‘fashion’ as a muse,
something that cannot be put in a cage.
She also states that the internet
revolutionized the fashion world and turned it
“That's why now, I love to talk to the
people,” she says; “I wish to have time to talk
to people outside our little world, it makes me
think different things,” [creativity].
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT DELLO RUSSO
Anna laughs; “I mean, well lots of stuff,” she
giggles; “luckily I know what you see in
fashion. What people don't
know about me? One thing is everyone asks
me, ‘what are you wearing’. I
go to yoga every morning I wear my fleece,
Abercrombie, which some were a little
disappointed”, saying to Anna while she goes to
yoga, ‘oh I cannot see you like that’, Anna says
to me, “you know they come with a comment, that
I find really funny, no one wants to see me not
wearing designer clothes, ‘not dressed up’. Everybody expects me to always dress up in
fashion. I have a part of a normal life, I mean
if I go to yoga, I don't go with my high heels
and my Dolce & Gabbana clothes. There is
a part of me that is really simple, where I love
to be like bare; wearing fleece from Abercrombie
and go to yoga with no fashion
world around me. There is a part of me
that is really simple, not structured, really
spontaneous. But people don't like it. ‘Do you
know what I'm saying?’ Anna says to me.
They say to me ‘oh my God, you should be
different’, ‘oh Ma Mia’, she says. If I go
out from my house, I always think if I meet
people, I should be in the same ‘look’, you
know, because people don’t like me like that. I
also like to be out of the fashion ‘sometimes,’”
she laughs. ‘I think everyone needs a
break,’ I said to Anna with a laugh. Anna
replies; “‘yea I know, I need a little bit of
strange how people can comment on your life of
what they want you to wear.” Anna just
says to them ‘as you wish’, we laughed.
“I'm like, take what you want from me.”
COMMUNICATING IS IMPORTANT
“I speak Italian, French and English,
but I’m really not very well in language, just
Italian; I always say that I'm dyslexic since I
was a kid. Some part of me I don't care because
I'm Italian, we have this certain approach about
language, you jump into it, and you don't care
if you’re not really correct. I
desperately need to make a conversation with
people.” Anna learned how to speak English
through working in the industry.
“Language has really changed over time. It's
different to study language and speak it. You
must always learn the new expression, but
sometimes I don't really care if I don't get the
correct expression, people understand me and
MORE THAN ONE APARTMENT FOR MY COUTURE PIECES
“I don't wear the same outfit twice.
If I have a party in my country I can wear
twice because nobody knows.” Anna enjoys
surprising people. She says, if people
recognize the look she will not wear it. “It's difficult twice, once is
of course, I have my obsession ‘closet’. I like
wardrobe since I was young when I moved to my
country, Milan. My Mother said, ‘oh finally we
have a space in the house’, because I would
store every piece of my clothing in every place
of the house. I always collected them, my Mother
and Father says, ‘we need another house for
Anna because she collects everything.’ My father opens his
closet, he says; ‘you always store stuff, this is difficult for me storing
and collecting.’” Anna says that when she
moved to Milano she had an apartment for herself
and an apartment for her clothes. “Now I
can be organized, everything is completely
categorized, very strategically organized and
luckily I have two apartments. But, now
this apartment is already full,” we laughed.
Anna says. “‘I don't know what I'm going to do.’
I used to say in the other interviews; ‘my
boyfriend doesn’t live with me because he
doesn’t have space for clothes. I don't
know now what has happened. Girlfriend’s
apartment is full, boyfriend does not live with
me; I need a third one, I don't know,
whatever,’” Anna laughs.