The menswear buyer for Matches tells Graeme Moran how a man should dress and gives her style predictions for 2012.
Did you always want to work in fashion?
Although I was always passionate about the world of fashion, I went straight from school to college to train as a dancer. I then worked in several retail jobs and was approached to manage the menswear department of Matches’ Notting Hill store – how could I refuse? After starting as store manager, the menswear buyer began to include me in appointments with our big brands such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada. When he moved to womenswear, my managing director Tom Chapman surprised me by offering an amazing new menswear buyer role. I’ve been here nine years, one month and 17 days.
What’s it like being a woman but buying for men?
It’s far easier because my total focus is on dressing the opposite sex, rather than the distraction of wanting everything for myself. Coming from the shop floor, I feel I have a solid understanding of what the Matches man wants and needs. What spring 12 menswear trends are you most looking forward to? Colour and lots of it – from ice cream shades to bold brights. On the commercial side, the easy Riviera dressing continues, but with a more sartorial edge. This is a strong season for menswear, from the raffia textures at Burberry to the mosaic prints and soft tones at Hardy Amies.
What have been your key spring 12 buys?
Colour and texture are key with some great pieces from the new brands at Matches for spring 12 such as Valentino, Piombo, Rake Lounge, Carven, AMI and Michael Bastian.
What are your trend predictions for autumn 12?
A strong emphasis on smart separates. In a time of financial uncertainty we all need to look sharp and invest in clothing that is made to last. What menswear trend do you wish would disappear? Bootcut jeans. Actually, were they ever a trend?
Who is your menswear style icon?
I look to many stylish men for inspiration, from GQ Style’s [fashion director] Luke Day, who has the best shirts, to stylist Tom Stubbs and his sartorial sophistication. Otherwise, [actor] James Dean for his relaxed, cool style which is still used as a design reference today.
If you could put together your dream menswear outfit, what would it be?
The art of smart is coming back and I champion it: an Alexander McQueen chocolate suede tasselled loafer, a navy Rake Lounge double-breasted blazer with smoked mother of pearl buttons, a white Balenciaga tubular collar cotton shirt, APC solid navy denims, a brown Loewe embossed commuting bag and a Jane Carr silk printed pochette.
What are your favourite cities to shop?
Paris, because I love the vintage markets that I can trawl for hours. New York for discovering new and quirky pieces and Berlin for the general vibe. There is a different energy and mindset to retail in each country, but the UK has the best independent stores.
- Stacey Smith is menswear buyer at designer mini-chain Matches
Who is your personal style icon?
Lauren Hutton, circa American Gigolo. Effortless, chic, with a strong masculine edge.
If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Céline, Céline, Céline please!
What has been your biggest fashion splurge?
My sexy Alexander McQueen tux trousers with vintage sheer-lace side panels. I can’t reveal how much I spent!
Which city do you think is the coolest in the world?
London. We have amazing culture right here on our doorstep.