Hometown Hero Hangout: Kim France
There are people in New York that one quietly admires from afar. You know about their professional life, you think highly of their career choices, aspire to resemble them somehow in trajectory and success — they’re your hometown heroes. Jen and I have this special crush on Kim France. While Jen has known Kim for a few years as a long time Bird customer, this was my first time meeting the cultishly-famous writer and editor.
We took Kim to one of our neighborhood favorites, Frankie’s, and it only took a quick moment for Jen and Kim to get knee deep. They started with some tip-toeing around creativity in fashion (always there!), whether or not deep pockets help launch careers (umm, le duh), and the CFDA’s incubator program (yay!). While some parts of the conversation veered to off the record (what good conversations don’t?), where Jen and Kim really got going was talking about trends, personal style, shopping and the magazine industry.
On personal style:
JM: . . . people just don’t stop and think sometimes, is this me, is this my style?
KF: It’s about getting comfortable with your sense of style. Realizing there is a certain kind of look that you will never be able to pull off but you can admire on other people. It’s not my body, acknowledging that that is not who I am and I believe this comes from maturity.
JM: it’s being comfortable and getting an awareness of your style. It’s not dictated by body type or age – you have to know what works for you and stay true to that and not be so invested in I shouldn’t be wearing that because I’m 36 and it’s too trendy or whatever . . .
Kim’s comment just about sums up my relationship to lean, clean and architectural clothes. I am a broad with curves and look ridiculous in an Oxford shoe and trouser. Not for me, ever, no matter how chic it looks on someone else. Rightly said. So what else could I glean from the fabulous Ms. France, aside from my own personal do’s and don’ts?
Kim has built her career working for some of the best magazines of the day. She cut her teeth at Sassy in the 90′s (more on that later), moved onto New York Magazine before launching Lucky, so Kim knows a thing or two about the biz. We were very curious to hear her take on the current state of affairs.
KF: The magazine world is changing so drastically, and it’s a business but the people that run magazines are acting more like people that are running cereal companies or anything else. They’re demanding that magazine editors come up with different revenue models . . . and magazine editors are magazine editors and should be allowed to be magazine editors.
JM: . . .I mean money is what makes the world go around!
KF: Whatever is going to allow magazines to still exist I think is a good thing. I don’t think they’re going away but they’re never coming back.
Obviously Kim cares very much about the state of the industry, and as an insider that has made ground breaking changes herself, it was incredibly interesting to hear her speak so candidly. Kim is actively engaging in new media herself with her blog Girls of a Certain Age.
KF: When I started the blog I thought there would be a lot of women in their 40′s, and then I thought there would be a lot of former Sassy people. No matter what I accomplish for the rest of my life, the fact that I was at Sassy will always be the biggest thing I ever did.
It’s a half truth. Kim has garnered a cult following built upon the beloved Sassy and Lucky Magazines – a rare feat to work for not one but two of the most adored titles of the past decades.
So enough of these hard hitting questions – let’s go shopping! After our delicious, carb-laden luncheon, we were off to Bird on Smith Street. I must admit that I enjoyed watching Kim, Lucky Magazine-Founding-Editor-Kim, in action. She’s a woman that really knows her way around store – inspecting cuts and fabrics, expressing delight in bright jewelry and scarves . . . she even put together an assortment for us, à la the editrice that she is at heart.
Lucky us! (wink).
by Starrett Ringbom