Caroline IssaFashion Director of Tank and becauselondon.com
"I wish I had the fashion bravery of someone like Anna Dello Russo."
[Ed. Note: Caroline Issa is the fashion director of Tank magazine and becauselondon.com in London. She started her career in finance and recently can be seen on a number of street style blogs or modeling for Monique Péan or J. Crew]
“I grew up in Montreal. It’s really stylish. Everybody does vintage. I used to do so much bargain hunting when I was a teenager, which doesn’t happen anymore. There was this place called ‘Village des Valeur’ where I used to find amazing things. I think Montreal taught me the value of beautiful pieces.
I would describe my taste now as pretty classic. I wear suits. The craziest I’ll get is like a bit of pattern mixing, but still with a blouse and trousers. I love mixing J-Crew with Celine. It’s a realistic way of dressing, potentially, with a little more of a fashion spirit to it. … I wish I had the fashion bravery of someone like Anna Dello Russo. I respect her for it, and I love how she dresses, but I’m from the other spectrum. … I believe in buying less, but buying better. That is the core. You can switch up shirts or shoes; just add it on. I mix and match. I have my basic bits, and then I have my fun bits that if I want to be a little bit more outrageous, I’ll do that.
Being photographed for street style or for a brand, like I did for J.Crew, you have to understand that people will see you as purely a visual plate, but you hope that people will also be interested in what you’re doing. I understand the nature of the Internet is very 2-D, but you also get to deeper layers if you choose to. If you choose to understand more about a person’s visual aesthetic, then you tend to be more engaged.
I learn so much about style from Manuela Pavesi, who was an editor of Italian Vogue. She’s Miuccia’s best friend. She’s a photographer. She’s a stylist. She’s got a fashion encyclopedia in her head. Helmut Newton was the one who told her to be a photographer. She shoots a lot with Tank, so I get to spend time with her. Manuela has taught me a little bit about trashy chic, like you can wear diamond or crystal earrings with an army green jacket or pajamas. I also get inspired by people like, Inès de la Fressange, whom I adore. She’s so French and chic. She’s wears flats like no women can, but she’s got those insane legs to do that. She just enjoys life, and eats and drinks. I think she just taught me to just enjoy things, don’t take it all too seriously.
I didn’t get into fashion in a traditional way. I got an undergraduate degree in finance and strategic management from Wharton, at UPenn in Philadelphia. I graduated, moved to San Francisco, and became a management consultant. It was so much fun, actually. My first client was Nordstrom, where I was working on the financial models for the petite and plus size strategy. Then, they moved me to Singapore for a year for a bank client where I discovered financial services was not my area of interest! Then I moved to London to work for a consumer-retail brand, and I met the founder of Tank, who was looking, very bravely, for a business partner. So, I gave up my really well paying job and became a business partner at 25. I’ve been at Tank for 10 years now, and it’s amazing. You want to be passionate about what you do every morning. I’ve been so lucky.” – Caroline Issa to Shop Ghost
Caroline Issa photographed on the High Line in New York by Stevie Dance.
Caroline’s Tips to Get Her Look
“You need a persimmon red Equipment shirt in a matte silk.”
J. Crew Trousers
“I love a pair of J-Crew matchstick trousers, corduroys, or jeans.”
Jason Wu Dress
“A Jason Wu dress is the thing to kind of feminize me up a bit.”
Jimmy Choo Booties
“I just got this amazing pair of pink Jimmy Choo booties that lace up. Essentially if I wear a white blouse and black pair of trousers, I'll wear the Jimmy Choo's, and then that's my outfit.”
“Most importantly, you’d need anything by Monique Pean.”