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» » » » » » » Tavi Gevinson: The world’s most influential teenager on fashion

Front row with Anna Wintour, courted by Karl Lagerfeld, best mates with Lena Dunham, lunches with Taylor Swift. Jane Mulkerrins meets the super-connected, multi-talented fashionista turned editor and actress Tavi Gevison – and she’s only 19!

‘In a way, fashion had been this magical thing that I was obsessed with. But then I got too close to it, and that was kind of saddening,' said Tavi Gevinson

‘In a way, fashion had been this magical thing that I was obsessed with. But then I got too close to it, and that was kind of saddening,' said Tavi Gevinson

At the tender age of 11, when most preteens have yet to develop any sort of style savvy, Tavi Gevinson was already devoted to edgy high-fashion magazines including Lula, i-D and Dazed & Confused.

She set up a blog, Style Rookie, and began taking pictures of herself in the back garden of her family home in the Chicago suburbs, styled with inspiration from her fashion hero Rei Kawakubo, founder of the fashion label Comme des Garçons.

Style Rookie soon had 54,000 readers daily, including Anna Wintour, John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld, and by the age of 13, the tiny teenager with the granny-chic aesthetic (her grey hair predating the current #grannyhair vogue espoused by Cara Delevingne and Kylie Jenner by several years), oversized glasses, layers of lace and knitwear – had been firmly adopted by the fashion pack.

She was dressed by super-hip labels such as Rodarte, consulted on Comme des Garçons’ line for U.S. store Target, featured on the cover of Pop magazine, and flown to New York to sit on the front row beside Wintour herself at Fashion Week shows.

At the end of her first New York Fashion Week, Tavi sat in the airport lounge at LaGuardia and cried.
‘My beauty icons are women who have remained beautiful and true to themselves through the years. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton seem so comfortable in their own skin and have iconic presence,' said Tavi

‘My beauty icons are women who have remained beautiful and true to themselves through the years. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton seem so comfortable in their own skin and have iconic presence,' said Tavi

‘I was, like, this is it,’ she recalls. ‘I got this one cool experience and now I was back to school, where I was made fun of for what I wore.’

Of course, that was far from it. In the six years since then, Tavi (who, like Madonna, goes by a single moniker) has proven that her precociousness was no flash in the pan, as she has matured into a true multi-hyphenate phenomenon – journalist-editor-actress – packing more into her teens than even the most industrious often manage in a lifetime.

At 15, she set up Rookie, her online magazine, which, at its peak, recorded 3.5 million hits a day; the following year she gave a TEDxTeen talk on representations of women in film and TV.

At 17, while at high school, she made her film debut alongside the late James Gandolfini in Enough Said, and last year, at 18, made her Broadway debut in the Kenneth Lonergan play This Is Our Youth.
At the tender age of 11, Tavi was already devoted to edgy high-fashion magazines

At the tender age of 11, Tavi was already devoted to edgy high-fashion magazines

Tavi firmly rejects any sort of classification.

Lady Gaga may have heralded her as ‘the future of journalism’, but she claims she has ‘little desire to be a critic/reporter/journalist/commentator, so much as a travel diarist’ (the sort of confident, slightly lofty-sounding comment that has led to her polarising opinion since she first began obstructing the view of the catwalk with her huge hair bows at Fashion Week).

These days, at 19, the Style Rookie has blossomed into a blonde, green-eyed beauty, and is now part of Clinique’s #FaceForward campaign, celebrating individuality and female empowerment.

‘My beauty icons are women who have remained beautiful and true to themselves through the years,’ she says.

‘Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton seem so comfortable in their own skin and have iconic presence.’

Performing in This Is Our Youth took Tavi to New York City, where she now shares an apartment on the fashionable Lower East Side with her best friend Petra Collins, 22, a photographer and Rookie contributor.

‘When I come home, we get crafty, and watch TV and order pizza. Both ends of the scale of productivity and laziness are covered,’ says Tavi, who admits that most of her meals are ordered in.

‘I am so intense about time, and I don’t have the patience to cook – knowing that if I order dinner there will be more time to do other stuff.’

The chic boutiques and trendy bars of the Lower East Side are all a long way from Oak Park, the Chicago suburb in which Tavi grew up, the youngest of three sisters.

Her father Steve is a retired English teacher and her mother Berit, who is Norwegian, and converted to Judaism, weaves tapestries of scenes from the Torah.

‘The fashion seed was not planted by anyone in my family,’ confirms Tavi.

A friend’s elder sister had started a fashion blog herself.

‘I thought she was really cool, and she showed me the stuff she liked to read, and I wanted to be part of it.’

However, in spite of the astonishing success of her blog, and being lauded by the fashion industry’s big hitters, Tavi became a little disillusioned.


Three years ago, she hinted that the experience may have been a conversation with the editor of U.S. Vogue.

‘I sat next to Anna Wintour at a Band of Outsiders [a hip fashion label] show, and she asked me, “When do you go to school?” I just felt like saying, “When do your models go to school?”’ she said.

The exchange left the young blogger feeling deflated about the industry.

‘In a way, fashion had been this magical thing that I was obsessed with. But then I got too close to it, and that was kind of saddening.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-3147464/TAVI-GEVINSON-world-s-influential-teenager-fashion-feminism-getting-sound-advice-list-friends.html

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