Lily-Maude Russo, Shopping Editor for Grazia talks to us about the industry, gives us inside knowledge on how to make it and what she has planned for Christmas.
How did you begin your career in fashion journalism? I always loved dressing up as a child, playing around with clothes, makeup and hair styles, and my mum was a very fashionable lady, so from a young age I appreciated brands such as Gucci, Missoni and Prada. Working in fashion was always my dream job however I was aware that it was a very competitive industry to get in to, so I did have back up plans. When I graduated from university I did a 4 week internship at Grazia and basically never left. They kept me on for a 6 month internship and then I was given my first job as Fashion Assistant when we launched graziadaily.co.uk. I then moved back over to the magazine as fashion assistant and after 3 years was promoted to Shopping Editor.
What's your typical day like? My day normally begins with press appointments or breakfasts meetings with brands to view their current/future collections and then I dash back to the office as working for a weekly magazine means I do spend most of my time at my desk meeting very tight deadlines. It's such a varied job as I edit still life product on the Fashion Charts and other shopping pages, style celebrities for interview pieces and also contribute to graziadaily.co.uk. The fast pace of Grazia means I have become an expert at multi-tasking.
What's your favourite place to visit in the UK and why? I am such a sun worshipper that whenever I have some time booked off work I try to always go abroad, but last year I went to St Ives in Cornwall and now I'm hooked. It is just so beautiful and the beaches have white sand like the Caribbean. The local fish and produce is delicious too - I can't recommend it enough.
Where is your perfect weekend retreat? My family moved to Kent a few years ago, and I love heading home to switch off and go for yummy country pub lunches. There is one pub called the Pepper Box Inn in a small village called Harrietsham which does the best Sunday roast. Babbington House in Somerset is also a wonderful place to go with the family. It's such a treat with a spa, outdoor swimming pool and cosy bedrooms. You are surrounded by countryside which is so nice to explore on long walks.
What is your favourite Aspinal piece? The Trunk Clutch is one of my favourite handbags right now. Its the perfect size to carry around all your essentials and I love the structured shape as it works both day or night. I often have to attend evening events without having time to go home and change so I need accessories that are multifunctional.
Where are you planning to spend the holidays? I will be heading home to my parents for Christmas. I cannot wait to eat drink and be merry for a whole week.
Have there been any pinch me moments throughout your career? My job has a lot of pinch me moments. The fashion industry is hectic industry to work in, but we do have a lot of fun and we get access to people and places that most would dream of meeting and doing.
How do you define style? I'm quite schizophrenic with my style. I get bored quite quickly so my outfits vary quite a bit from day to day. I'm not a fan of black and have quite a large section of pink and leopard print in my wardrobe. Basically if its pink and sparkly, I'm sold. On a casual day I just wear a pair of jeans and my leopard print Christian Louboutin boots with a jumper. I love dressing up so am a sucker for a great party dress and amazing heels too.
What advice would you give any aspiring editors out there? If you are passionate, have integrity and are hard working you will succeed. The fashion industry is much harder work than it appears. When I was an intern/assistant I spent most my days in a fashion cupboard with no windows packing up returns - but I loved it. I got to touch the most sought after designer collections before they were in the shops and it was the most fun I ever had. I would spend my days carrying around heavy bags, boxes and suitcases but I savoured every moment. I see so many interns who expect to be contributing to the magazine or website in their first week which always leaves me flabbergasted. Then you have the occasional one who is so grateful for the opportunity and who works so hard every day. They are always the ones who we hire or who go on to have a great job at another magazine.
Are you looking forward to seeing the new Aspinal store launching in St Pancras International this December? Yes I'm sure it is going to be amazing. It's such a great location and is the perfect addition to the current shops.
What Aspinal of London gift would you most like to find under your tree this Christmas? If it isn't the Trunk Clutch I would love the Owl Pom Pom key ring. It's a fluffy ball of fun and it's so big I will never lose my keys again!
Describe your perfect Christmas. The perfect Christmas is spent at home with my whole family, eat beef wellington (never turkey) lots of canapés and lots of champagne. I love buying presents for my family, and love seeing their faces when they open their presents. In the early evening we all have a go on the karaoke machine and then sit down to watch the Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey Christmas Specials. Oh, and I always wear a red dress that is layers and layers of netting. I basically look like a Christmas bauble but it's become a tradition now and wear it every year.
Which Aspinal of London bag would be your perfect party bag and why? The Star Clutch in Black or Silver Glitter is all you could want from a party bag. I have a bit of a thing for novelty bags at the moment and its one that you will use for years to come.
What Aspinal gift would you want to give to a loved one and why? My boyfriend is always complaining he never has a bag to use for work so he would love the W Messenger bag. It's so simple and elegant, which is actually something quite hard to find for men.
Twitter - @LilyRussoGrazia
Instagram - @Lilbitrusso
Twitter & Instagram - @grazia_live