These days it’s rare to constantly see someone in the public eye and not end up feeling like you actually know the person, but that’s exactly the case with the often seen but rarely heard Alexis Phifer. Clutch caught up with the fashionista in her bustling Los Angeles design studio, sporting a casual glam look complete with flawless skin, a grey hoody accessorized with a smart lurex scarf and colored denim tucked into chic suede boots. We kept it strictly business with one of our favorite up-and-coming tastemakers to discuss her passion for fashion and her clothing line Ghita.
Q: So Alexis, you did your first ever runway show, the debut of the Ghita line, last September. What was that experience like?
It was my first fashion show, but I wasn’t nervous. I felt like I put forth a really good effort for what I had to work with. I just rolled with it and it was really fun and exciting working with Mark Seliger. I thought that was a huge honor for the first time around, so I’m just looking forward to having more shows and getting better and better.
Q: You seem to have a very strong design point of view. Would you say that Ghita is a reflection of your personal style or who do you imagine wearing your clothing?
Well, for right now most of my influences are my friends. Most of my friends are either stylists or designers who are involved with fashion in some way. A lot of pieces in my collection are made with a specific person in mind, but we all have individual styles so I just try to make clothing that will compliment everyone’s figure and try to get a different point of view other than just what I like—even though I ultimately end up liking everything that I make.
Q: What are you currently inspired by?
I just finished Fall ’08 so now I’m working on having another fashion show in September for spring; the way fashion is right now there are so many different things going on. There’s a rock influence, there’s a religious influence, there’s a hippie influence. So that’s what I’m going to incorporate for spring next season, these mini collections that pick up on all of the different trends.
Q: You attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A. and now you’ve started your own line. We always see photos of you at all the major fashion the shows. Is it safe to say that fashion has always been something that you’ve loved?
Yes, I’ve always loved it and it’s been the only thing that I’ve ever wanted to do. I was lucky enough to make it happen.
Q: Since you are known for being so stylish, do you feel any additional pressure in your role as a designer? Do you feel like people expect more from you and do you welcome that challenge?Yeah, I welcome the challenge, but I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I continue to wear what I like, wear what’s flattering and have fun while doing it. If I put too much pressure on myself then it becomes not fun anymore. I just like to have fun with it and be experimental and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Q: We of course love your personal style and you always seem to be so effortlessly put together. One of our readers described your style as “immaculate”. Can you share a bit about your favorite designers and shopping destinations?
Awwww. Oh yeah! Well, my favorite designer is Ricardo Tisci, he’s a designer for Givenchy. I love Nicolas Ghesquiere, he’s a designer for Balenciaga and I love Alber Elbaz, he’s a designer for Lanvin. Those are my favorite designers right now. I’m just so impressed with how focused their designs are and how much effort goes into it. As far as shopping, I’ll usually hit up stores like H&M and Zara. I think it’s really important to have nice shoes, so I like to splurge on shoes and handbags. Neiman Marcus in one of my favorite stores. I love Balmaine and Colette in Paris.
Q: What are a few of your fashion and beauty must haves? What are things that you don’t like to leave the house without?
A great fitting pair of jeans. I’m aways cold, so I like to keep a scarf with me which is cool because scarves are in right now. Lipgloss and water are also good things to have on hand.
Q: It seems like you have a lot going on in your office today. So what is a typical day like for you? Or is there any such thing as a typical day?
It’s always different, but my day generally involves coming in checking on our accounts to make sure that our shipments are out, make sure that we’re getting paid, working on sourcing new fabrics daily while running back and forth to the grader and patternmaker. Those things generally remain the same everyday.
Q: What is your ultimate goal for the line? Do you plan on expanding into other product categories? What can we expect from Ghita for upcoming seasons?
Well, starting with spring ‘09 I’m expanding to jumpsuits, shorts and pants for more of a full line as opposed to a dress line. I think the dress line was a good way to start and get recognition because a lot of people don’t just have a dress line. Also, being an influential designer is a major goal.
Q: So when you’re not busy designing what are some of the things you like to do?
I love the Food Network. I’m always watching the Food Network, but that’s a whole separate thing! I think that could be my next career, to be a Chef. I like to spend time with my son and the people I love. I like to go to the movies, go the beach, ride bikes . . . that kind of stuff.
Q: You seem to have a really good balance within all of the different aspects of your life. How have you managed to achieve that?
You know, you just have to take it one day and situation at a time. You have to devote as much time to something when you’re in that moment and don’t worry about the rest. Try not to get tired and discouraged and maintain a positive attitude. That’s really important.
Q: Ok. One last question, so you’re headed out for a night on the town with the girls or whomever, what’s in your fabulous Clutch? Hmm. Great lipgloss and my I.D.
For more information on Alexis and Ghita please visit www. ghitafashion.com