Katie's Grand Design; She Got Madonna to Dress in Bondage Gear, Reports Emine Saner. So, What Will London's Coolest Stylist Be Selling in Her New Boutique?

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

Katie's Grand Design; She Got Madonna to Dress in Bondage Gear, Reports Emine Saner. So, What Will London's Coolest Stylist Be Selling in Her New Boutique?


Byline: EMINE SANER

THE dilemma about going to interview Katie Grand, uberstylist and arguably the coolest girl in London, is deciding what to wear. I once read that she thought that a miniskirt and flat shoes was quite a good look so this is what I choose.

I meet Grand at the house she shares with boyfriend Steve Mackey, the bass player in Pulp, in Kentish Town. She's wearing a voluminous black dress, black tights and skyscraper silver heels. Oh, well. At least I tried.

Perhaps the latest venture from Grand will help guide us to stay ahead of the curve.

On 9 March, she launches Pop Shop, her first in-store boutique, which will be in Selfridges. It will sell pieces commissioned by Grand, mostly from her fashion friends.

Giles Deacon is doing beanbags, Luella Bartley and Azzedine Alaia are designing T-shirts, Katie Hillier is doing hair accessories, Lanvin is making a necklace, Mulberry and Fendi are doing bags and she's persuaded Prada to design some exclusive shoes.

Everything will be limited edition ("tiny quantities", says Grand), and is bound to sell out within days, if not hours.

Grand, 34, came up with the idea last November with Alannah Weston, the creative director of Selfridges and member of the the billionaire retail family who own the store.

The name comes from Pop, a magazine Grand founded six years ago and whose influence reaches far beyond its 80,000 circulation. It remains the style bible for those in the know.

She got Madonna to dress in bondage gear (her friend Stella McCartney asked the pop queen) and cajoled Elizabeth Hurley into a swimsuit weeks after giving birth. She's also persuaded Kylie, Beyonce, Drew Barrymore and Demi Moore to appear.

"It was really different to get involved with something like this," says Grand of Pop Shop.

It's this exclusivity - not the exclusivity of, say, a [pounds sterling]4,000 Hermes handbag, but the exclusivity of very cool things - that Grand understands so well.

She thinks now is an exciting time for fashion. "Everything feels younger and cooler, particularly with accessories - shiny, patent, fluoro, trashy, that kind of spirit.

"It feels very wrong to be ladylike at the moment," she adds.

"That feels like a look that belonged to the first half of the decade. I don't know how long you could rehash such a prissy look."

Is she still excited by London fashion?

"In a way, but it's a struggle," she says. "It's so difficult to get the girls [models] to come over; it's such a financial commitment. But at least London is interesting. At the New York shows, apart from Luella and Zac Posen, you never think you're going to see anything unexpected.

You do get that in London."

Grand's main job is as a stylist, doing Louis Vuitton's shows and advertising campaigns and styling magazine shoots (Prada, Luella Bartley and Calvin Klein).

With Giles Deacon she helped turn Bottega Veneta, an ailing Italian company, into one of the most fashionable labels around.

Grand, an only child, grew up in Birmingham. Her parents separated when she was young and she lived with her father, a cancer-research scientist who encouraged Grand's love of fashion. …

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