2014 Adam Katz Sinding

Women of Style: Anna Dello Russo

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Vogue Japan‘s Editor-at-Large, Anna Dello Russo, might be one of fashion’s most fabulous street style stars but the Italian stylist and creative mind is far from just another of-the-moment muse. With nearly three decades of experience – including 54 runway show seasons – under her belt, Dello Russo’s knowledge of the industry is vast and her dedication ironclad. Our favorite thing about Anna, apart from her maximalist style? Her utter appreciation and respect for the designers, photographers, and models who work alongside her everyday. Get to know this incredible woman in our exclusive interview.

Q&A

Fashion In Her Childhood

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

“When I was a kid I was obsessed with clothes, images and fantasies—everything that keeps your mind busy. I think it’s because reality was tough for me. My mom would give me a pair of shoes, and I would calm down. I was also obsessed with my mother’s friends and their bags and shoes. I loved their big jewelry and their chatter.”

Daydreaming about fashion was always good therapy for me. My mantra is fashion.

Her First Job

Anna with photographer Ellen von Unwerth and stylist Giovanna Battaglia. Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

“I graduated with a degree in Art History and then studied fashion in Milan. After that I started working for Vogue Italia, which is the best school in the world. I spent 18 years with [Editor-in-Chief] Franca [Sozzani]. I remember she told me fashion can be a very tough job, and I told her I was ready and that I would start tomorrow. To work in fashion you have to be very passionate about it and have a fanatic attitude that keeps you going.”

Her Fashion Mentor

Helmut Newton for Vogue Italia, 1997. Photo: Vogue.it

“Helmut Newton. I worked a lot with him in the last 10 years of his life. Franca constantly used Helmut. He was an incredible teacher and really focused on what he wanted.”

“During shoots it would just be Helmut, his assistant and the model. There wasn’t a big team. Now there are too many people on set. You can’t even talk to the photographer. Back then it was great because you could have an intense relationship with the photographer—you could learn a lot about lighting and the camera and how to shoot things. And you didn’t have all of the post-production and retouching. You took 20 or 30 shots—no more. It was incredible. I was so lucky.”

The Best Career Advice She’s Ever Received

2014 Adam Katz Sinding

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

“You have to do your research. You have to have devotion. You also have to have a good attitude and be grateful.”

“It takes a long time to get ahead professionally. It’s a long way. Just because you have a website or are well dressed doesn’t mean you can do this job. It takes a long time to learn everything.”

When I was at Vogue Italia, I was speechless. I didn’t say anything for 15 years. After a while, I was able to express myself, but in the beginning I just listened and worked.

What It Takes To Be A Good Stylist

Kate Moss styled by Anna for Vogue Italia in 1990. Photo: @anna_dello_russo.

“You have to start at the beginning. I always do a lot of research for a shoot. I want to arrive at a shoot completely prepared. A shoot is like a baby—you have to nurture it.”

Career Highlights

Vogue Japan, November 2014. Photo: fashiongonerogue.com.

“One of the most memorable shoots was with Mario Testino for the 15th anniversary of Vogue Japan. It was a dream because I always wanted to work with him. The shoot celebrated Japanese culture. It was very emotional and also fun. Fashion is so alive in Japan right now.”

On Technology

Photo: @anna_dello_russo.

“The internet is an incredible medium. It’s a revolution in modern communication, and it’s a great way to talk about fashion. If you don’t try to speak the modern language, you’ll get old right away.”

I want to be modern. I want to be now. I don’t want to be nostalgic.

On Street Style

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

“I don’t think anybody really knows where [street style] is going, but look at how it has changed our lives in the last five years! It’s incredible. I’m not thinking about what’s coming next. I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Street style has become a massive influence for the people in the industry. I go to style.com everyday. It’s my bible. I get news from Instagram right away. It’s incredible how fast everything is—it’s very exciting.

Her Personal Style

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

“Because of my job, I look for photogenic accents. I know what looks good in a picture. That’s why I don’t usually wear black because it can look very dark. I try to dress myself like I’m in an editorial. I ask myself if it will look good in a picture and if it will be good to collect.”

Photogenic Dresses

Her Wardrobe Archive

Photo: @anna_dello_russo

“I have a separate apartment for my clothes. My archive is very well done and organized. All the long dresses are together; all the couture is together, and so on. When I’m done with a season, I put the clothes away in the other apartment. Except, my apartment is full now—I don’t know where to keep all of my stuff!”

Her Style Muse

Photo: @anna_dello_russo

“Right now I’m obsessed with Joan Smalls. It’s incredible how she can create a character to fit the clothes. I came up during the model explosion which is probably why I love them to this day.”

On Fashion Week

Anna with Coco Rocha, Rachel and Elena Perminova at the Spring 2015 Giambattista Valli Couture show. Photo: @rachelzoe.

“Every season is a celebration of creativity. People work for six months to create the best show. I respect the opportunity to sit on the bench and see something incredible. I’ve done every season for 27 years —I haven’t skipped one. Even today, when the show is starting, I’m in awe. I find it very emotional.”

Anna-Worthy Add-Ons

What She's Listening To

Photo: YouTube.com

“Music is very important to me. Music and fashion go together—most of the people who work in fashion are into music and vice versa. I love music videos because I’m very visual. I really love Beyonce’s new video, ‘7/11.’”

Her Morning Workout Routine

Photo: @anna_dello_russo

“I wake up at 5 a.m. and ride my bicycle to yoga for a 6 a.m. class and then I ride to the pool to go swimming. After that I ride home, eat breakfast, change and go to work around 10 a.m.”

Work It Out

I love yoga and meditation because it helps me clear my mind. Otherwise, my mind is like a washing machine of images. Sometimes I just need to stop thinking.

Her Nighttime Routine

Anna's puppy. Photo: @anna_dello_russo.

“I drink a lot of water. I don’t like to go out every night. I like to go home, shower and go to bed. I like to wake up early in the morning and do yoga. The best part of the day is the early morning."

Something People Don’t Know About Her

“I have no secrets. I’m an open book.”