Top 5 with Jeanne Beker
For over two decades, Jeanne Beker has brought us front-row access to the lofty air-kiss world of fashion fantasy. The Canadian face of fashion, a canny comparison to Anna Wintour with bold bangs minus stern stare, Beker began her career as an entertainment journalist for The New Music prior to holding helm as sole style host for Fashion Television which the syndicated show celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. Also under the Beker belt is editor-in-chief of luxe mags FQ and Sir, co-executive TV producer of Cover Stories, judge on Canada’s Next Top Model, active philanthropist and mother of two.
Trailblazing from fashion capital to another, the legendary reporter knows a thing or two about the power of style. Wanting to collaborate with bestie Brooke Doyles, The Bay’s President and CEO, she created Edit by Jeanne Beker a smartwear line of great basics for the modern woman’s wardrobe. Inspired by her own jet-set life, her line comprises of a 25-piece capsule available exclusively at The Bay’s contemporary White Space in 65 locations nationwide. Chic as it is affordable, the collection of stylish staples such as boyfriend blazers, pencil skirts and Jeannie Jeans- a portion of the denim sales are donated to non-profit organization Dress for Success- the collection retails from $79.99 to $195 and is offered in size 2 to 16.
With a new svelte shape dressed in her version of the LBD, I turned the tables and asked her about her take on fashion’s future, celebrities as designers and of course her beloved line.
Edit offers key essentials for a modern woman’s wardrobe. How did the idea come about to create this line?
It really came about because I wanted to work with Bonnie Brooks, she’s one of my best friends and she was moving back from Hong Kong being away for eleven years. We thought about what we could do together. She mentioned it would be great if I was associated with a clothing line. Serendipitously at the same time I became aware of the Corwick group a manufacturer from Montreal. I thought if I could go into their showroom and pick and choose the pieces that I would want to pack in my suitcase and I would want to hang in my closet, work with their stylist and their designers, because I’m definitely not a designer, maybe we could come up with a cohesive collection that could really serve the average working women well.
You created a limited edition line for Eaton’s and an active collection for Sears which where both short-lived. What key business principles did you learn from those previous lines that you’ve applied to create Edit?
More than anything I’ve learned that you really got to be consistent and you’ve got to have a point of view. You’ve got to have a dialogue with customers. Not that I didn’t think I had that with the other two but I think they weren’t given a chance. Having a weight like The Bay behind something in this country is really incredible.
[Midst in interview, a passing fan praises Beker for her work and apologizes for not looking her best! Reality at its best!]
That more than anything is so important for me to be able to reach out to women and say this is how I do it, these are the pieces that I feel that I can’t live without, the pieces that I’m wearing this season. All the items are comfortable, affordable, and easy to mix-and-match and clothes that will be in yourKloset for seasons and hopefully years to come. That’s a real feel good thing and a way to feel closer to these women that grew up watching me on the show.
I love Sarah Jessica Parker and the fact that she’s the Creative Director of Halston Heritage. I haven’t seen enough of what she’s doing but I have such confidence in her because she really does know her fashion and she has a great point of view and great aesthetics. I think Gwen Stephanie has done a great job with L.A.M.B. and she’s pretty serious. Also the Olsen sisters really know what they are doing with both Elizabeth and James and The Row. They are really smart young women which I’ve known from since they were young girls so it’s a pleasure to see them blossom in that way.
To some editors dismay, bloggers are becoming prominent in the fashion media. With your longevity in fashion reporting, what’s your take on this new breed of fashion journalist?
It’s funny that you say that because I remember when Tavi came on the scene (referring to 14 year old blogger from StyleRookie) everyone thought that I would hate her. I don’t know why because she’s adorable and also because I’m all about the democratization of fashion. I’m all against the elitism and the snobbism. Now, there are some editors that obviously spent years learning about fashion and they have such a wide frame of reference and are true experts. Alot of bloggers might not be experts with a capital “E” but it doesn’t matter because fashion is a very subjective thing. You either like it or you don’t. I don’t buy into this business of good fashion versus bad fashion. How snobby! I think the more the merrier. It creates a lively dialogue between people and that’s ultimately what fashion should be about.
What’s your take on the future of fashion?
If only we had a crystal ball! I’ve been asking that very same question to designers myself. You know there is allot of noise out there, allot of stuff, maybe too much stuff. But on the other hand, there is allot of individuality allot of people looking for their own thing. I would like to see more experimentation with fabrication and the whole technology with fashion, the way we wear our clothes and how we wear our clothes. Clothes that could catapult us into the future a little because we still see allot of looking back.Hussein Chalayan has done some amazing things. He’s brilliant. The stuff he does with technology that transforms garments before your eyes is incredible. It would be great to see more of that. Is it practical is it wearable, no but if more people were working on the marriage of technology and fashion I think we could get some pretty interesting results.
Looking for some fashion inspiration?
Here are Jeanne Beker’s Top 5 Must-Haves that should be in yourKloset!