Tod's Touch Meets Caroline Issa
Caroline Issa: Fashion culture
according to the fashion director of Tank and blog author of becauselondon.com: in other words, the most photographed woman in the world …
Born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Iranian father, she possesses a multicultural beauty and mindset. She left management consultancy to handle styling for Tank Magazine and is author of the sophisticated blog becauselondon.com, this being the city she calls home and also where we met in her apartment, a former workshop of old airplane engines.
Today’s topic is contemporary excellence, whatever form it takes. Tank Magazine is a London-based quarterly magazine covering art, music, architecture and design and edited by Masoud Golsorkhi. A collectors’ item, it combines culture and fashion, the latter as Issa interprets it. It is up to her to define styles and trends, and not only on the pages of Tank. Inexorably poised between chanciness and couture, enlivened by colours she alone can bring off, each one of her looks is a collectible, like every number of Tank. This parade of art, photography, graphic design and interviews is then put together in the Tank Book. Best of Tank Magazine 1998-2000, a cult item that also incorporates the Issa philosophy. “Fashion and art are closely related and architecture also exerts a great influence. In each case, it is necessary to provide a perspective, and references of course, even just a few design indications, or the entire project may actually stem from a sculpture exhibition… everything inspires my photo shoots”.
What has inspired you in life? “My Chinese half, the summers spent in Singapore with my grandmother”.
Blazers and suits with a mannish cut, silk and chiffon dresses worn with high heels, falsely contrasting accessories, red lipstick always a protagonist. Her style meanders across daytime and evening, from sartorial to ultra-feminine, she dares to be eccentric without making recourse to artifice. Naturally different from everyone else, at times even from herself. The variable element is Caroline’s signature motif.
Osé? “I coordinate fabrics and prints in a way no one else dares to. I undermine the severity of a man’s suit with street style or flimsy bows, I can’t resist adding colour”. Never: “I never wear anything that is uncomfortable. Even the most marvellous garment”. Always: “I always invest a lot in perfume”.
Colours: “I use them, I am daring with them, I feel them on my skin. I do not like the total black look. I wore it a lot in the past and now I find it boring. Now I like to challenge colour combinations with a touch that is slightly wrong, maybe in a more acidic shade”.
Tod’s summer: “An interplay of pinks and burgundies. And ballerinas in every possible shade of those two colours”.
Proportions: “I always have a preference for a particular, almost retro length, which means dresses and skirts just below the knee. I find long skirts very ladylike and equally sexy: the flared skirts by Tod’s for instance…”.
In the closet: “Mannish suits, very feminine dresses, ladylike blouses to alternate with avant-garde T-shirts, then jumpers, but always in small sizes”.
5 musts: “My white shirt and the one in blue and gold, an ostentatiously vintage cocktail dress, a well-cut trench and a pair of high-heeled shoes”.
Here the decision could be an arduous one since Caroline’s shoes are everywhere: in the closet, in the bedroom, in the bathroom and even on the bookcase…
In random order, she dashes down the streets of fashion wearing:
- Ethnic printed blouse, but coordinated with a paisley clutch bag.
- black trousers and a white T-shirt, with plenty of volume in her wavy hair and the added impact of maxi glasses.
- Her trousers flaunt a multicolour print, so her blazer is blue, beneath which we get a glimpse of a T-shirt with the words “street-twist”.
- a couture parka jacket with leggings and heels, in earthy colours.
- the yellow shade of her dress with black leafy motif is coordinated with the sage green of a large bag
- blue-green tartan trousers with a black lacy blouse.
- lemon yellow for her trousers, electric blue for the collar that peeks out from the little yellow/white smocked vintage jumper.
- a pastel pink shirt and a pastel green pleated skirt, worn with black heels.
- the long embroidered dress is worn during the day
- leopard print skirt + mint green shirt; a leopard print coat worn over the shoulders with jeans and a print blouse underneath.
- what gives a special touch to this print dress are the milk white court shoes she wears it with: an unusual and daring combination.