Frisky Q&A: Whitney Port Talks East Coast Vs. West Coast Style
Whitney Port is the only celebrity designer we can think of at the moment who seriously paid her dues in the fashion business. Over the years she has interned at W and the fashion trade paper Women’s Wear Daily, worked as a contributor at Teen Vogue, and as anyone who’s switched from “The Hills” to “The City” knows, beat the pavement for Diane von Furstenberg and for Kelly Cutrone’s now famous PR firm, People’s Revolution, which let’s face it, is no cakewalk. Now that she’s wrapped the Whitney Eve Spring 2010 collection and “The City” season finale (watch the entire season at MTV.com if you missed it), she took five to sit down and talk some fash smack with us. The Frisky: How would you define your personal style?
Whitney Port: It’s eclectic! I think what I wear each day really depends on my mood. A lot of the time I can dress down and be in jeans like a true L.A. girl, but I also like to get dressed up and play the sophisticated card. I especially like to incorporate lots of vintage and try not to wear what everyone else is wearing — just fun and funky.
The Frisky: Who do you consider style icons (past and present)?
WP: You know, the first person that comes to mind is Gwyneth Paltrow. I think over the years she has always managed to look classic and tailored. Princess Diana always radiated effortless elegance.
The Frisky: How would you describe East Coast vs. West Coast style?
WP: Girls on the East Coast are way more put-together! They’re more fashion-forward and you see women taking more chances. People aren’t as timid. Whereas on the West Coast, it’s more about the boobies, hips and legs. In New York it’s more like you’re wearing the piece of art rather than your body being the art.
The Frisky: Did you dress yourself for “The City” or was there a wardrobe department?
WP: Nope. The hair and makeup and our own clothes was all do-it-yourself.
The Frisky: So what tricks do you have for looking good on camera?
WP: You definitely learn that certain shapes just don’t translate. You want to stay away from horizontal stripes because they just aren’t that flattering. And when it’s your top and up being shown, you want to keep that in mind and accessorize accordingly.
The Frisky: What are the best heels/boots for running around a city in?
WP: Actually, I’ve yet to find a pair of heels I can wear all day and still love my feet. I keep flats that fold up in my bag and slip them on and off.
The Frisky: You’ve been on the editorial and public relations sides of fashion. What’s it like to have the perspective of a designer?
WP: It’s very difficult because you’re the creator of this art and you have to open yourself up to opinions. You’re very vulnerable and a lot of people have something to say and most people won’t like it. It’s truly emotionally draining to be that vulnerable, but it’s also rewarding because the results of all your hard work are material, so you can really enjoy that aspect of it.
The Frisky: What makes a good designer and who are some of your favorites?
WP: What makes a great designer is having the ability to keep a woman’s body in mind and appealing to every woman. I look at all these couture designers and they make amazing creations but they’re not always wearable. You’re really talented if you can match that fashion-forward mentality with wearability. I think Diane von Furstenberg has done that; Alexander Wang has hit the nail on the head with his t-shirt line and the cocktail line; Moschino Cheap & Chic is always fun and flirty and wearable and makes a girl feel good.
The Frisky: What was the inspiration behind your spring 2010 line?
WP: I wanted to allow girls to get a piece of what we wear on the show—little dresses, sophisticated cocktail outfits, really empowered and fashion-forward metallic and sequins that make you happy and cheery. I also wanted to appeal to different body types. I started out designing for one specific type and that wasn’t very fair of me, was it? And right now especially, it needed to be affordable.
The Frisky: What advice would you have for other ladies who want to come to the city to work in fashion?
WP: Well, it’s daunting. It’s a really competitive place filled with so many who want to make it and most people won’t. I would say you should definitely come here with a set goal and be OK with starting at the bottom: interning at a PR firm or magazine or even a showroom. You just need to get your foot in the door and be willing to work your way up.