Host of Fashion Television, Creative Director for EDIT, writer, actor and mother Jeanne Beker is a force to be reckoned with. With a serious eye for style and an honest, down-to-earth attitude, Madame Beker is a fashion icon that has garnered admirers from around the globe.
Christie and I had the pleasure of meeting with Jeanne at The Room’s Platinum Suite in The Bay Downtown Vancouver as she launched her Fall/Winter 2011 Collection for EDIT. Luckily, she is as charming, engaging and fabulous as she is on the small screen. Later on in an intimate interview, she speaks candidly about her experiences, career advice, her clothing line and everything in between.
Christie Lohr: Did you always want to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
Jeanne Beker: Not at all. I was a performer, an actress and artist. Fashion was something that I found myself in. I was much more interested in entertainment programming, which was the success of Fashion Television because we approached it that way.
CL: If you weren’t in fashion, what else would you be doing?
JB: I would probably be writing. It’s that world that I love much more than fashion. Fashion itself is great but the work that I do goes beyond; it’s the arena that I find myself in. I love writing, performing and communicating with people.
CL: What is the best piece of advice that you have received in your career?
JB: Not to take myself too seriously.
CL: What motivated you to start EDIT?
JB: I worked with Bonnie Brooks for many years in her role as Editor at Flare and she became a very close personal friend. And when we knew that she was going back to run things at The Bay, we knew we wanted to work together. I suggested that I might want to do a clothing line. There is just so much confusion out there for women and so many different options. A lot of women have a certain point of view and live busy, hectic lives. I have to be very versatile in the way I dress. I need clothes that travel well and that take me from morning to night. So I thought it would be great to do a very concise selection of my best picks of each season and put it together in a clothing line. We called the collection EDIT. Bonnie did the initial pitch and it resonated with the entire Bay team. That’s how it all started.
CL: Style Nine to Five is all about fashion careers. What items from your latest collection would you recommend to wear for an interview or workplace?
JB: The tie-waist jacket with the big stitched collar – it’s a really great look. The cigarette pant or pencil skirt with the boiled wool jacket with buttons. The scalloped edged jacket in sand…. I mix and match pieces. The little black dress is classic with a little jacket or cardigan sweater. (See photos below).
CL: Are there any standout moments in your life where you felt like you’ve made it?
JB: Everyday when I get up and I get to do what I do. Whether I am at couture shows or meeting the world’s greatest designers, it’s always something that I am conscious of. I never take it for granted.
CL: What is next for Jeanne Beker?
JB: I am sure that there will be more opportunities, more travelling, speaking engagements and TV production. I hope to have a website coming out next year. At this point, there is so much that I am involved in now that I just want to keep up with everything that I have orchestrated for myself.
CL: Do you have any words of wisdom for people aspiring to work in fashion?
JB: My motto in life is “Don’t be afraid and never give up.” Just be fearless and tenacious and go for it! Especially in fashion – it’s probably the toughest industry there is. Obviously, you’ve got to have a passion for it; you’ve got to want it more than anything. You will succeed if you hang in there.
Think outside the box. Be malleable – don’t get married to one particular goal. If one thing doesn’t work out, there are many other things you can explore. If you want to be a designer and it doesn’t work out, maybe you’ll make it as a stylist or an editor or journalist. There are many wonderful things that you can do in the world of fashion. Absolutely be open-minded. When you love what you do, it never feels like work, I think that’s the key.
By: Valerie Tiu, Blog Editor, Vancouver
You should follow me on Twitter @valerietiu.
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