BY EMMA PALING
(Previously published in Summer 2014 edition of Ottawa Magazine)
What do you think about when you get dressed in the morning?
I like to dress up for work, but I’m not in a traditional legal role anymore, so I’m not putting on suits all the time. I like to look good, but I like to be comfortable.
How do you stay creative working in an office environment?
I’ve always kind of marched to the beat of my own drum when I get dressed, so I’ve never felt constrained by a dress code. I like to be dressy, so for me, it’s just about exploring different ways to incorporate a professional look while still having fun with it. You can be feminine or masculine, and women have so many options compared with men.
What influences your style?
It’s not just individuals — and for sure there are individuals — but I do read a lot about fashion. So I do look at fashion shows and what’s happening in the fashion world. One of my biggest influences at the moment is the Man Repeller. She’s probably my favourite fashion interpreter of the moment just because she uses humour, brings intelligence and feminism into fashion, and doesn’t take herself very seriously. She’s not afraid to try things, and to me, that’s really an inspiration. She incorporates everything, and that’s kind of my approach — that fashion isn’t just about clothes per se, it’s how you’re expressing yourself. Music, literature, movies, art — to me, that’s what it’s about. So whatever your creative interests are, fashion is just one aspect. My influences are everything, including travel. I find it very intellectually stimulating to follow fashion these days.
How has travelling influenced your style?
It’s kind of the whole lifestyle. So in Brazil, for example, people’s lives gravitate around the beach and being near the ocean. But people don’t take towels to the beach — they take sarongs. You can whip the sarong around your body and then use it as a towel. To me, that’s just genius: incorporate what works practically in your life and bring it into your style. Your fashion should fit into your life. It shouldn’t be separate.
What particular artists influence you?
I am still a big Courtney Love fan. I think she’s a great example of someone who is irreverent and feminist in her fashion. She wasn’t looking for cues or approval from other people, and now, all of a sudden, she’s in the front row at shows and designers are referencing her.
You’ve mentioned a few times how feminism plays into fashion. Is that important to you?
Very important. There will be arguments that feminism and fashion are polar opposites, but I really feel strongly that the opposite is true — fashion is just another area where women really do things for themselves and express themselves in different ways. If you’re dressing for the male gaze constantly, then that obviously is not really a feminist take on fashion. But if you go in the opposite direction and really do things for yourself, it can be a very empowering thing.