The style setter brings her brand of eclectic chic to the West Village.
By Derek Blasberg
Vanessa Traina is firmly entrenched in the fashion industry. This season, Louis Vuitton is featuring her as a model in the campaign for its new Monogram Empreinte leather line. Chanel appointed her one of its ambassadors, a gig that has her promoting the iconic French label's fashion and beauty products to style seekers everywhere. She's fashion darling Joseph Altuzarra's muse and has been working as a freelance stylist since she moved to New York two years ago. And as one of the girls street-style photographers clamor to snap pictures of as she enters fashion shows and parties, she has personal style that more than a few have cited as an inspiration.
Life in fashion's fast lane isn't exactly new turf, however, for Traina, 25. She was exposed to power players early in life. Growing up as one of prolific novelist Danielle Steel's five daughters included regular trips to Paris for couture shows and the likes of family friend Hubert de Givenchy stopping by the house for supper. "It was only when I was a bit older that it clicked and I said to myself, Oh, that dinner party was for Gianfranco Ferré or Fred Leighton," says Traina, who moved to her own West Village apartment in early 2008. "It was really an honor to be able to meet such inspirational people when I was so young." (Not that it was all Mom. Traina laughs when recalling childhood shopping trips with her father, vintner John Traina, who went through a hardcore Versace phase in the 1980s.)
With Steel as her mother, Traina has fashion in her genes. Not only does Mom keep an apartment in Paris, she's still an haute couture front-row regular and avid client. "My mother taught me so much about fashion," she says. "It was always a passion of hers, so she really appreciates everything about it, which is important." With her sisters Victoria, who also lives in New York and works with friends Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough at Proenza Schouler, and Samantha, a fashion editor based in Los Angeles, the Traina girls' entrance at a fashion event is a family parade of style.
After she graduated from high school in San Francisco (Alexander Wang was a classmate), Traina moved to Los Angeles to study at Pepperdine University, from which she graduated at the end of 2007. She moved to New York soon after and immersed herself in the fashion industry. She modeled occasionally and spent five months interning at French Vogue before she began working full time for influential stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé. "I love this industry because it's so creative, and it never gets stagnant," she says. "You are always working on multiple projects with so many talented people, which means you're constantly challenged and inspired. It's really invigorating."
Traina's Manhattan apartment reads like her closet. There are clean, minimal lines, spare bones, and shiny surfaces throughout, and the furnishings are chic and modern but juxtaposed with eclectic pieces and deco accents. Tabletops are littered with Hermès ashtrays and personal Polaroids from nights out with her friends. A slave to her art, Traina also has stacks of fashion and art books in every room and a grouping of family snapshots, not to mention a tiger rug in her bedroom, an extravagantly luxe bedspread, and taxidermy objects including a giant zebra her father sent when she moved in.
Her dressing philosophy is simple. She makes sure she's wearing the clothes (and not the other way around), she shies away from anything too girly, and she is confident that black can be a very versatile color. She starts to name a few of her favorite designers—Altuzarra, Wang, Helmut Lang, Nicolas Ghesquière—but trails off when she realizes that she's making a pretty long list. One of her biggest tips from her mother?
"Appreciate clothes and especially invest in pieces you really love. You don't just wear a dress once and that's the end of it." (This rule has come in handy for Traina and her sisters, who sometimes raid Steel's wardrobe. "Her closets are really amazing," says Traina.)
Ambassador, model, muse, and stylist: She's a busy lady. But she couldn't see herself working in any other industry. "I honestly don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't in fashion. For me, it was do or die." She smiles. "I never contemplated any other career."
I'm in love with this girl for real.
Thanks for the article . Its an interesting read and she looks fabulous on the pics.
She's definitly not just a plain socialite , can't believe she works for Marie-Amelie Sauvé, such a lucky girl.
Originally Posted by kimair
it's interesting that she went to pepperdine if she envisioned herself working in fashion her whole life...
i would think she would have gone to parsons, fit, etc.
If I remember correctly, she said in an interview that she graduated in Art History and then went to fashion, for her it was a natural following because of the amazing creativity in fashion.
"Quality will be remembered long after price has been forgotten".Aldo Gucci.
the only thing that disappointed me was her dog, hahah. come on vanessa! a tiny puppy, really?
(no offence if someone has a little dog here, i just expected her to have a big dog. i have to say that i love big ones.)
otherwise, fabulous house.
Thank you for posting kimair I really enjoyed reading through it. I didn't know Vanessa was working with Marie-Amélie Sauvé, she is incredibly lucky! (Perhaps that's probably the reason why the both were seated next to each other front row at Narciso Rodriguez) . I like her apartment too, and I find her dog quite cute.
Such a beautiful home. It's nice to see a celebrity whose living quarter actually seems to be true to their own style. So many times when I view a celebrity home in a magazine it is obvious to me that an interior designer has pieced together the entire place with little input from the owner, but with Vanessa's place I don't get that vibe at all, it all seems very "her".