GYPSYSFIND INTERVIEW WITH GAIL ELLIOTT
On a recent trip to Bali I paid a visit to one of my favourite Island-Luxe boutiques, Little Joe Woman. I had the pleasure of interviewing the face and talent behind this brand, designer and world renowned supermodel, Gail Elliott. Gail shares snippets of her modelling career and the passion behind her luxurious label.
If you have a thing for silk, a touch of leopard and laid back luxe, you’re going to love Gail’s current collection. Grab a cuppa, push the kid’s toys aside and get lost in Gail’s world for the next ten minutes. Don’t forget to screen shot her Bali faves!
– A x
ABOVE: I’M WEARING THE HIGH TIDE LEOPARD PRINT DRESS, THE TRUE LOVE SKIRT, GIRL TALK CAMISOLE AND RHODE SANDAL.
LITTLE JOE WOMAN, AND YOU YOURSELF GAIL, HAVE SUCH AN EFFORTLESSLY RELAXED GLAM LOOK THAT SEEMS TO EPITOMISE THE BALI LIFESTYLE. THE NOTION OF MIXING SILKS AND SOFT LEATHERS WITH A TOUCH OF ROCK WHILST LIVING ISLAND LIFE IS UTTER PERFECTION TO ME. TELL ME WHAT YOUR GO-TO PIECES ARE FOR EVERY DAY AND HOW YOU LIKE TO STYLE THEM FOR YOUR NO FUSS SIGNATURE LOOK WE’VE ALL COME TO LOVE.
In Bali, you’ll always find me in one of my many favourite dresses. I love to wear a dress as it’s so easy to throw on, feel polished in and go. My customers tell me the same thing, that the design of my dresses make them look good, feel confident and that they’re ready for any situation whether it’s to the office, a Friday lunch, school drop-off, a business meeting or cocktails. It’s so easy to add a silk blazer, leather jacket, flats or heels, a great bag and shades.
I GREW UP WITH YOU AND THE OTHER SUPERMODELS OF THE 90’S GRACING THE COVERS OF EVERY MAGAZINE. I COULDN’T GET ENOUGH OF THESE GLAMAZONS IN ONE PIECE BATHERS, DARK BROWN LIPSTICK AND THICK GOLD EARRINGS. SO MUCH FROM THAT ERA IS IN VOGUE AGAIN NOW, TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE EDITORIALS THAT EVOKE THE 80’S AND 90’S.
Sometimes I see images of myself from the late 80’s and 90’s that I’d forgotten about and seeing them brings back such memories…mostly good but sometimes not so good if I was freezing in a bathing suit in New Mexico or Marrakech as the sun was rising! So much of that fashion is back in vogue and feels so modern again. I still have many beautiful pieces from back then which I can use again now – bags that are decades old but in perfect condition from Prada or Hermes, clothing from Marc Jacob’s first ever runway show, my huge vintage collection of beautiful Azzedine Alaia pieces that I keep in a twenty four hour air conditioned walk in wardrobe, Chanel suits that Karl Lagerfield gifted me from his Chanel shows, my Chrome Hearts leather jackets with solid silver hardware and many more pieces that are so relevant today.
THE WONDERFUL AND SOMETIMES OVERWHELMING ADDITION OF SOCIAL MEDIA HAS OPENED UP AN ENTIRE NEW WORLD IN FASHION, EVERYTHING IS SO MUCH MORE ACCESSABLE AND INSTANTANEOUS. TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR MODELLING DAYS AND HOW EXPOSURE AND NETWORKING WORKED IN THE 80’S AND 90’S.
When I modelled in the late 80’s and 90’s based in New York, there were probably twenty five to thirty of us who worked for fifteen years plus, pretty much every single day. Clients would get to know and book us through the magazine editorials and advertising campaigns we shot…or through word of mouth through various photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists and through our agents’ suggestions. Back then, runway shows were only for buyers, magazine editors, the fashion newspapers like WWD and big spending customers. Actresses and rock stars weren’t invited so it was strictly a work based event.
It was Gianni Versace who changed all this. He paid us an enourmous amount at the time to use us exclusively in his show, the first time a designer ever decided to do this. Gianni and Donatella would always throw spectacular after-parties and were always friendly with actors and rock stars and models had started dating them so it seemed natural for their boyfriends to attend the shows. Helena was dating Michael Hutchence, Carla was dating Mick Jagger, Cindy was dating Richard Gere, Yasmin was dating Simon Le Bon, Naomi was dating Mike Tyson etc. Bono and the U2 boys were around, as was Elton John…and the term ‘Supermodel’ was born. We would fly around the world to their concerts and they came to our shows, it felt quite natural – they wanted to be around us as much as we wanted to be around them. I don’t know how we flew around the world and got to various locations let alone on-time as there were no computers or barely any cell phones. Our agents would send the hotel we were staying at a ‘fax’ with instructions for our next booking – the flight details, times and next hotel destination. Somehow it all worked and I never missed a flight…or hardly! Now everything is so different and we’re used to the fast paced life we’re leading. We’d go to after-parties, CFDA Awards, Film Festivals and they would be private events – there was no Instagram or Insta Stories like nowadays. We have such short attention spans now, we flick through numerous images on Instagram and want more. There are millions of models in the business now and not many are known and except for a few, most work for six months or a year and disappear. With Instagram it’s all about bloggers and influencers…everyone’s a model these days! Not so long ago I remember people would be shy to have their photo taken, now in every restaurant or street, whatever age…someone is shooting an Insta opportunity!
YOU ARE ALL ABOUT THE PERFECT SILK SLIP. HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SILK WEAVE TO WORK WITH, AND WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS CHOOSING COLOUR PALETTES AND YOUR PRINTS FOR THE SEASON?
I was extremely fortunate to enjoy a long and successful career as a fashion model for twenty four years and had begun to feel the need to express my learnings and fashion thoughts and feelings creatively. Having worked as a fashion model with so many talented designers I grew to appreciate quality, luxury and how beautiful clothing makes a woman feel. My first designs were very simple slip dresses and camisoles, pieces I needed for myself and couldn’t find in stores at the time. I started with six silk slip dresses and six silk camisoles in six colours. These have been a staple in every collection because they are feminine, flattering, cool and can be worn with many other pieces of clothing and always look current and stylish. A slip dress never dates, can be worn alone, with a denim or leather jacket, with heels, flats, under a coat – for day or evening. I love to create these pieces in a flat solid silk, sometimes a shiny silk sateen and in prints. A silk camisole can be worn with leather pants or jeans or skirts. Both can be worn out, to lounge in at home or sleep in. They are the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe and I have them in many colours. In the current collection I’ve created silk camisoles with matching Chantilly lace trimmed panties – they’re gorgeous…
BALI LIFE LOOKS AMAZING ON YOU, HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED ON THE ISLAND? CAN YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR BEST EATERIES AND SECRET COFFEE SPOTS WITH US?
I was born and raised in London U.K and lived in New York for twenty four years, then moved to Sydney for eleven years where my husband is from. Four years ago we moved to beautiful Bali and I can’t believe the life we’ve created – I pinch myself almost every day at the fact we live and do business on a tropical island! I meet people who tell me they walk around Bali racking their brains trying to think of what they could do to be able to live and work here – we’re very grateful to be living this life. There are so many amazing restaurants and beach clubs here and these are some of my favourites:
Fish Bone Local in Canggu
Sardine in Seminyak
Mamasan in Seminyak
Savage Kitchen in Brawa – for breakfast
Beach Garden in Canggu
Omnia Beach Club in Uluwatu
Sunday’s Beach Club in Uluwatu
LITTLE JOE WOMAN IS AVAILABLE ON YOUR WEBSITE – DO YOU SELL ELSEWHERE?
We have our own boutique in Bali and our online boutique but we also wholesale to select resort boutiques around the world. We’re currently supplying some beautiful stores in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico – The Maldives, St Barts in the Caribbean, Bali, Ubud, New Zealand, Perth, Whitsundays in Australia as well as others…and I’m working on expanding our wholesale business.
HAVING YOUR OWN BUSINESS IS AMAZING AND INSPIRING BUT CAN ALSO BE EXHAUSTING AND OVERWHELMING. WHAT’S YOUR ALL TIME FAVOURITE THING TO KEEP YOU BALANCED AND TAKE TIME OUT?
It’s true, I LOVE what I do and owning a business and getting to work in fashion and designing clothing that makes women feel beautiful and confident about themselves but sometimes it can be very exhausting when I have so much to do and wish there were eight days in a week! My favourite thing and what keeps me grounded is family time – being with my husband and our three dogs, whether it’s walks on the beach, swimming in the pool or lying around on couches reading, talking or watching our favourite TV shows and movies. Every evening after work I come home, pour a glass of wine and cook for all of them – this is my favourite time of the day. Plus I LOVE my weekends to run errands and simply chill out. Although I live in Bali which to most people is a place to take a vacation, I work extremely hard, which I love and having the opportunity to live and work here is a dream come true.
Gail Elliott – Co Founder & Creative Director – Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott