Vanessa Bruno is a French original who's known for Parisian "smart girl" well made "street clothes." In other words, she mades cool clothes with a fashion edge, that can be worn from one season to the next. Think of her as an Isabel Marant type designer for women who have jobs -- and can't wear shorts and boots all the time. In town to celebrate the one year anniversary of her Melrose Avenue store (just east of La Cienega) and host a dinner on Nov. 9, THR sat down the French designer to find out what makes her tick these days.
We didn't really know what Bruno looks like, as she keeps a fairly low profile (though her clothes are in 300 stores across the world, and she has 35 freestanding stores). Now we know -- she's a thin woman with short platinum hair, who wears virtually no makeup (so French), and when we sat down with her in her store on Oct. 8, she had on shorts, a clean white top, a soft grey suede short jacket, and a pair of her amazing boots: caramel colored, they have a leather foot portion, then a very stretchy leg that goes way high above the knee. And she showed us how they can be worn with dresses, over leggings, long skirts, short skirts. Tres chic!
The Hollywood Reporter: I see you've got a lot of Hollywood stylists coming in here, and you are dressing them for your dinner!
Vanessa Bruno: Yes, it's always a pleasure to dress people. You learn a lot about them very quickly. I love to study how women handle their own proportions -- because in the end, this is what fashion is all about. Know your own body and dress for it. If clothes don't flatter your body, they don't work. This is why I keep my cuts the same for shirts and jackets. It's about ease -- that's a Parisian thing.
THR: Do you get to L.A. a lot?
VB: Unfortunately not, I wish I could. I'm about to open a new store in London; we just opened in Madrid. It's difficult for me to be here for long. Though the sun may not come out in Europe for a full three months!! This is very pleasant. But the Melrose store is like a European store to me. The managers know my brand inside and out. We communicate all the time. They receive the same shipments of clothes when the European stores do.
THR: The woman who buys your clothes -- who is she?
VB: She's confident of her style. A clever girl, who is not trendy and trying to compete with her clothes. She's a woman who has a balance between getting something new to wear, and wearing what she has. Who buys a new wardrobe every season? This is not realistic. At the end of the day, you want to look in your closet and really love the pieces you've bought.
THR: How old is your customer?
VB: Our brand is multi-generational. Teenagers in school with buy the tote bag with the sequins, our iconic tote. But it also comes in leather and suede, which an adult woman buys.
THR: You don't do much red carpet clothing.
VB: No. My evening clothes are flirty and sensuous, but they still have that boyish French edge. So many Hollywood actresses let their stylists talk them into things that -- well, sometimes I see it and say, "How did that happen?"
THR: You just made a fashion film starring Kate Bosworth.
VB: Yes, My mother is Scandinavian, and Kate has that look. In our short film, she's poetic and alive, and she shows the spirit of the brand. The film will be on our website. It's a bit of an homage to Ingmar Bergman.