Women Of Style: Eva Chen
While the rest of us were spending time catching up on rom-coms and podcasts this holiday season, Lucky‘s Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen was closing the magazine’s spring fashion issue featuring It girl Lupita Nyong’o on the cover, giving birth to her first baby (and fledgling It girl in her own right thanks to a growing collection of Fendi and Chanel), moving and decorating her NYC apartment and getting ready to launch the brand’s epic e-commerce platform, LuckyShops. With so much under her belt so early in 2015, we can hardly wait to see what the incredible Eva has in store for us in the months ahead. Here, our latest Woman of Style shares a bit about her mani– and puppy-filled adventures of past, present and future.
When she knew she wanted to work in fashion
Photo: Getty Images
“I never really did. I always labored under the assumption that I would be a doctor, a banker or lawyer, which are all approved careers—so to speak—from first-generation American immigrants’ point of view. My parents always just wanted the very best for me, and I always thought I wanted to be those things, but I ended up taking a different path.”
Her first fashion job
#evachenpose. Photo: @evachen212.
“My light bulb moment was when I took an internship between my junior and senior year of college at Harper’s Bazaar. I took that internship because I wanted to do something totally different, something wild and crazy that was a break from pre-med. Pre-med was so intense I wanted a fluffy kind of summer internship. When I landed at Bazaar I realized working at a magazine was absolutely not fluff, first of all. Second of all, it was everything I ever wanted.”
Early Career Lessons
Eva with TZR Woman of Style Anna Dello Russo. Photo: Getty Images
“Be willing and excited to do everything. I was 20 years old when I interned at Bazaar, and you could’ve asked me to organize paper clips by size and make sure they’re all pointing in the same direction and I would’ve been like 'Yes, right away!' That sense of looking at the world with eager, open eyes is something I try to hold onto even though I’m not 20 years old anymore. I still get excited and nerd out about weird things."
I just don’t want to be jaded. Being jaded is a common side effect of the industry we work in.
Her Role Models
“My mom. She and my dad worked so hard to provide for my brother and me. We had so many opportunities and were able to go to great schools because of how hard they worked.
I loved working with Amy Astley at Teen Vogue. I think she is an incredible editor, and she’s always been my role model. I saw what a wonderful mother she was in addition to creating this great magazine, which I still love to this day.
And I feel very fortunate to have Anna Wintour as an advisor now. I feel extreme gratitude to her for giving me this opportunity and for constantly being supportive, giving me feedback and being incredibly generous and warm-spirited towards me."
What it takes to be an Editor-in-Chief
Lucky's Jenna Gottlieb. Photo: @jennagott.
“I think the most important thing for an Editor-in-Chief is to build a team you trust and value. At Lucky we have such a strong, solid team. Our two fashion-features writers Jayna Maleri and Jenna Gottlieb are phenomenal and have a great sense of humor and understand the Lucky spirit. Our [executive digital editor] Verena von Pfetten is the coolest and is just so smart. Building a team and trusting the team is so important.”
What she looks for in an employee
A Lucky editorial meeting (guest attendee: @lassie). Photo: @evachen212.
“Lucky is the kind of place where everyone works there because they love the magazine, and they love what we’re doing. We’re Downtown girls. We’re accessible, cool and quirky, but we’re also a little bit nerdy, and we have a voice. We’re not the girls you’d be intimidated by at a party. You’d feel comfortable asking us where our shoes are from. Hiring people who fit the culture is very important—we don’t just hire based on a resume.”
“I’m very proud of the March issue with Lupita Nyong'o on the cover. She looks absolutely gorgeous. I was having my baby when we were closing the issue, and I look at it and can see how strong our team is.
The launch of our e-commerce site is something I’m very proud of as well. It’s been 150 days since we started this venture, and my buying team and I have signed more than 200 brands. We all know the fashion industry isn’t always the warmest and fuzziest of markets, but the fact that everyone’s interested and excited is really cool.
Also, about two years ago today I was living in LA. Getting a native New Yorker out to LA is not easy, but I’m kind of proud that I took that leap and went there—even if it was only for six months."
What You'll Find On LuckyShops
Eva, finalizing a LuckyShops buy whilst sharing her latest manicure color. Photo: @evachen212.
"It has to have the reaction: OMG, I need that right now. I’ve put a check mark, smiley face or heart next to every single item on the site. There are these iPhone cases that are made out of stuffed-animal material—they literally look like poodles and kittens, and they’re ridiculous. They’re from Korea, and we’re the only retailer in the US to carry them. They have that OMG-effect because everyone in the office saw them and were like, 'What day is this launching? When can I buy them?'"
Buy From LuckyShops
It’s been so fun doing all this—finding the cool stuff out there. It’s what I imagine every girl’s dream to be. Growing up you’re like, It’d be so fun to open up my own boutique one day and only carry my favorite brands, and now I get to do that.
How LuckyShops is different
"Our site doesn’t really look like an e-commerce site. When people go on the site they’re probably expecting to be smacked in the face with lots of products. But when you go on the Lucky site, it still looks like a content-driven site, which is the magazine's heritage and our brand DNA. You can get lost in the amazing content, but you might end up on a page with a really cool pair of slip-on sneakers. What we’re offering is very different from what’s already out there."
I love talking to readers and answering their questions. I get asked every single day what I recommend for this and that. I’ve been recommending the same Eyeko mascara for the last six years. People ask where to get it and then I have to Google it, and sometimes it's sold out. Now, I have a site where I can send people.
Style & Beauty
Her fashion mood right now
"I think everyone right now is dressed for the '70s. I actually have photos of my mom in the '70s, and she looked so chic. She’s wearing a belted trench coat and flares and a big floppy hat, and I’m like, Yes, this is what I need to look like! I just don’t know if I can pull it off right now. I’m in the weird phase when none of my old clothes fit me and none of my pregnancy clothes fit me."
Her style muses of the moment
Haim at The Grammys. Photo: Getty Images.
"This is such a cliché thing but, like, Kate Moss. She always looks amazing. And I love actress Lea Seydoux. I also think the girls from Haim are great. I loved what they wore to the Grammys—very modern and cool. Olivia Palermo always looks amazing, and Suki Waterhouse looks really cool. I like her off-duty style."
Fashion week to-dos
Marc Jacobs, Spring 2015. Photo: Style.com.
"I love Public School. They’re real people—they’re cool. I follow them on Instagram. And I always love the Opening Ceremony and Proenza Schouler shows; I end up buying a lot of the clothes. But Marc Jacobs is my absolute favorite—he is the king of New York fashion. Everything he creates has a sense of humor; there’s always a twist to it. It’s never one-dimensionally beautiful or one-dimensionally cool. I'm also a sucker for The Row’s accessories—they’re so quietly luxurious. And I always enjoy the Tibi show. It's very wearable clothing, and [Tibi designer] Amy Smilovic is so cool. She’s one of the more under-appreciated designers."
How becoming a mom has changed her style
"My beauty routine used to be seven steps a night and now it’s, like, four. I think I’ll start adding products back into it slowly, but right now it’s all about speed and efficiency, like using cleansing wipes instead of foaming cleansers. Clothing-wise, it’s too cold to take the baby out so it hasn’t really impacted my trips walking around. I see pictures of women wearing heels with a baby and a carrier—that terrifies me; I don’t think I can do that. It helps that it’s winter so it’s all about combat boots and flats anyway because I am a very clumsy person. I don’t want to take a major spill, Jennifer Lawrence-style. That’s something I would do. It’s about dressing for versatility and ease, but luckily that seems to be on track right now."
Her diaper-bag hack
"I haven’t really been using traditional bags as diaper bags. I have a backpack from The Row and a backpack from Chanel. I have these pouches from Rebecca Minkoff. I have a diaper pouch—let’s put it that way—which I put in my regular bag. I have six backpacks. I have a big tote bag and a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. I’m trying to not carry something that screams Diaper Bag."
Style lessons she'll pass on to her daughter
Photo: Vanessa Jackman
"Don’t over-pluck your eyebrows. Also that feeling comfortable in your own skin is the most important thing. It takes a journey to get to that point, but everyone gets there eventually. My job is to help her feel comfortable in her own skin as much as possible. Also, growing up in New York City, I want her to appreciate diversity and the nuances of living in a city, where everyone around you looks different. I think that’s the most beautiful thing."
What she's watching and reading right now
Eva with her daughter, Ren, and some Honest Company diapers. Photo: @evachen212.
"I’ve started watching Better Call Saul, which is the follow up to Breaking Bad, hoping that will be as good as Breaking Bad. And Game of Thrones comes back in two months. I have to make sure my child is asleep when that comes on. Also lots and lots of baby stuff—I’m constantly on baby watch these days, trying to figure out what’s normal and what I need to get and whatnot. I’m always on the site Cricket’s Circle, which my friend Rachel started. I’m also always on Amazon Prime and Amazon Baby."
How she unwinds after a long day
"I just moved and am basically living out of a suitcase so unwinding is hanging up clothes and unpacking boxes right now. I think it’ll be a while before I fully settle into this apartment. There’s a lot of time spent on Pinterest looking for new couches and new side tables."