I first met Jennifer Laine over coffee earlier this year, and as soon as she walked in I thought, « ummmm helllloooo style. » She just oozes it. But in a way where you feel like you know her before you even talk to her. She also happens to be co-founder of Cloud Productions. And lucky for all of, she does do some consulting in the fashion media space. We could all take a note or two from Jennifer…
How would you describe your style in four words?
Masculine, Mischievous, Polished, & Pointed.
How has your style evolved over your life? (Were you more feminine turned tomboy? Or have you always know exactly what works for you?)
My style has evolved, surely, but has always remained consistent. I used to get really bothered when someone would see a piece and say, ‘That’s so you’. It’s taken me a while to realize, it’s actually a compliment… having a sense of style with a direct point of view, that people automatically recognize.
I grew up on a dairy farm in California and have been a tomboy from the start. I used to hate when my mum would put me and my sisters in matching pink-flowered dresses for church on Easter Sunday. My worst nightmare. To this day I shudder at the thought of florals for spring. Additionally, that annual tortured tradition instilled a deep need to express myself in a way that was unique to me. In retrospect, to my parents dismay, it’s likely the sole reason I’m so passionate about using fashion as a visual articulation for who I am.
That said, not everything is unique and I have stayed true to a few widely adopted rules that have served me well:
1. Mixing prints is never a bad idea
2. Never wear a single designer head to toe – even if you’re mixing seasons
3. Be brave, but never let your outfit wear you
Most treasured piece in your closet?
I’m not incredibly sentimental about clothing, to me a piece is something to be admired, but never taken too seriously. When I first started my career, trading soybeans at the Chicago Board of Trade, I used my bonus to buy a Birkin. Today, it makes me laugh so hard because I can’t think of anything that represents me less than that bag. To defend myself a bit, this was also back in the early 2000’s, before Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashians carried them around like most people do a cell phone.
Upon arrival, my thought was… what is the most responsible bag to purchase? Something mature, timeless, discreet and can be used both at work and socially. Though now laughable, my answer at the time was a Birkin. Fast forward 15-years, it means something else culturally, I never carry it anymore and it currently looks like it got in a street fight and lost. It’s so beaten up and broken that it’s virtually unrecognizable. To me, this is how treasured pieces should be – lived in, with scars and memories, stains and scratches. Never too precious to be used or leant out to a friend who will show it a good time.
Each of my most treasured pieces are rooted in significant memories… a pair of platform flats I bought when we launched our company, wore to all those first meetings, and then accidentally left on a train to Paris. A perfectly tailored mens tuxedo shirt I wore to give a speech at a good friends wedding, then on a second date with the love of my life. The ski jacket I was wearing when I got taken out in an avalanche in St. Moritz, that will be a good luck charm for the rest of me life. None of these pieces are particularly notable, many are ruined or lost, but each (plus others) hold a treasured place in my heart because of how I felt whilst wearing them.
Who do you admire for their style?
I admire individuals who have a strong sense of who they are, not letting trends dictate their choices one way or another, rather, using them to reinforce their sense of style. Individuals who don’t pay much attention to whether a pieces is womens or menswear, instead simply whether or not they like it. Last, they’re not afraid to be strong with their choices, but never let the clothes they’re wearing speak more loudly than their words.
The top pf that list would be Miuccia Prada, Katherine Hepburn, Kate Blanchett Quin Lewis, Jeremy O. Harris, Haider Ackerman, and others. Unfortunately, this list is shorter than one would hope.
Favorite brands, places to shop?
I think this is such a tricky question… Today, with so much moving around from house to house, codes being less relevant than they were historically, and this era of a designers own aesthetic being of equal importance as a brands heritage, I feel like it’s hard to say what my favorite brands are. Rather, it’s who were my favorites, when.
The work Nicolas Ghesquiere did whilst at Balenciaga goes down as the best of all time. Hands down. Somehow, he even made me want a pastel heart dress is 2009. If given the choice, I would shop this archive for the rest of my life and be happy as a clam. All of his pieces are still as relevant today as they were then and would be the favorites in my closet.
Next would be the work Raf did during his time at Dior. They’re so different than those Nicolas designed and far more feminine than I am generally drawn to, but many pieces are still on my mood boards. The balance of soft and strong is some form of magical potion that even Snape couldn’t possibly know the recipe too. For special occasions like getting married or meeting the queen, I can’t think of anything else I would rather wear. (To be clear, there is no outstanding invitation from the queen in my inbox.)
Finishing off this list, I would be remiss not to mention Chitose Sacai. At one point I’m pretty sure half of my closet was taken up by her mixed media masterpieces. Her shop in Tokyo is one of my favorite shopping destinations globally.
Finish this sentence, « Bury me in…. »
I tuxedo.. I’m pretty sure God’s dress code for Heaven is black tie.