She's a designer muse and audience favourite. Donna Walker-Mitchell meets the "American dream girl" taking over Hollywood.
Blake Lively saunters into Milk Studios in New York City’s Meatpacking District, dressed top to toe in black. A Tory Burch cardigan, leggings and over-the-knee Chanel boots complete a look that screams refined, refreshed and well-rested. But maybe that isn’t the case.
“I’m anything but!” she laughs. “I’ve been up since 5am and I probably won’t stop working until 10pm. But I’m used to going at this pace. I actually enjoy it.” Indeed, it’s the city that surrounds us – where the blonde 23-year-old California native has lived and filmed Gossip Girl
for the past four years – that provides far more stimulation than a double shot of espresso.
“Living in New York City helps me a lot,” she smiles. “If I lived in a place which was more quiet and calm it would be a challenge to work as much as I do, but the city is always alive. It’s constantly breathing and pushing you through, so it makes it easier to be awake.” She continues at a rapid pace, as if emboldened by simply talking about it. “You feed off the energy of the city, the people, the lights and sounds.”
Prior to Gossip Girl
, Lively kicked off what would ultimately become a healthy film career. Her starring role in the big-screen adaptation of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
paved the way for future success as Gossip Girl
’s poor little rich girl Serena van der Woodsen, a part that catapulted her career into the stratosphere in 2007 and showcased her uncanny ability to look great in anything, at any time.
Fortunately for Lively, she loves clothes as much, if not more, than her always superbly dressed character in the show. And thanks to her model looks and height, she quickly became a fashion darling. She’s now a red-carpet staple, a favourite of style followers, and most notably, has been placed on the cover of US Vogue
three times by editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Lively admits she sometimes has to pinch herself when she stops to think about all the designers she gets to meet or the quality of the clothes she wears both on- and off-screen. She says that Chanel, Isabel Marant and Carven are among her favourite labels; indeed, she was chosen by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld to be the face of the company’s handbags – specifically, its coveted Mademoiselle satchel from the 2011 Cruise collection. As he told WWD earlier this year, Blake is the “American dream girl”.
All these accolades, and yet Lively says she still can’t quite believe her good fortune. “I love fashion and I appreciate design so much and have done so since I was a child,” she explains. “My mum and sisters were models. They always loved clothes and any sort of design. Fashion is something I’ve always admired – so being exposed to it and sitting in Paris next to Karl Lagerfeld and looking at the couture pieces, seeing the sketches and hearing how they are designed, it’s like...” She exhales a deep, happy sigh. But call her a modern fashion icon and she shakes her head. “That stuff makes me feel so shy,” she says. “If people like what I wear, that’s the cherry on top of everything else.” This is an edited feature. For the full interview, pick up the July issue of madison on subscribe online at Magshop.
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