Louise Roe of Vogue, Elle and MTV fame visits Austin, talks fashion
Louise Roe was first introduced to America as the charming Brit prettily poised to take over Olivia Palermo's impending reign at Elle magazine on the bitch-soaked, brain-candy television show, The City. With an enviable blend of class and wit red-blooded Americans can only dream of, Roe quickly sashayed her way in and out of the MTV reality television--staying just long enough to leave a striking impression, but just brief enough as not to be tainted by the show's catty storyline.
Whether due to the brilliancy of her management team or her own personal convictions, Roe emerged from The City and Elle.com with a stronger personal brand and sudden presence in the American high-fashion landscape. Well played, Roe, well played.
However, before MTV and Elle.com, Roe had established herself as a legitimate fashion journalist (and model, but of course) in Britain, working as an editor and presenter for Vogue.com, which eventually led her to cover major red carpet events like the Oscars and to sit front row, interviewing designers like Badgley Mischka, at Fashion Weeks across the globe. She still writes a regular column for MSN News called Front Roe and fits in one-off contributions to Vogue.com, In Style, Glamour and Cosmopolitan.
Come to find out, Roe left The City to move to Los Angeles to debut a show on the CW network called Plain Jane that is slated to go on to air in 66 different countries. On this show, she helps wall-flowers "come into their own" from a fashion and love perspective, inevitably leading to an emotional journey of self-appreciation.
But most impressively? She's nice. Not in a I'm-on-camera kind of way, but in a real, relatable you-wouldn't-know-she's-an-international-fashion-icon-aside-from-her-striking-looks kind of way. This week, we found out she's vacationing in Austin and lobbed a Tweet asking for an interview… and we got it. Within minutes, she made time for us from our internet solicitation, which speaks to how well she knows the new digital media landscape and where her fans are lurking.
Together we entertained a quick-fire round of info-sharing (she was on vacation, after all), from thoughts on Austin to misperceptions of the fashion industry. Here are our favorite answers.
We'd love to know what brought you to Austin, and the top places you visited in our fair city?
My boyfriend is from here and it was my first visit! We went out to the country and then hung out on 6th Street, visited the Capital, and of course I had to get a t-shirt with Texas Longhorns on it.
You've experienced record-breaking, consecutive 105-degree temperatures during your visit, what did you pack to keep fashionable and fresh in an environment like this?
It was boiling! I wore a panama hat and Ray Bans every day, long loose maxi dresses and lots of white, to reflect the heat.
As we know from your appearances on television, you are from England but have lived on both the east and west coasts of the U.S. So, what has your impression been of the south and Austin?
I absolutely love this city. Such an incredible vibe, friendly people and delicious food. One of the coolest places I've been to in the whole world, actually.
Austin doesn't exactly have a spot on the international stage for fashion, but the music scene is enormous and is where trend-setters can be spotted. Did you get to see any shows/street style?
The style seems pretty laid back here, and the ladies like to do their own thing--just like London, it's very eclectic. Never seen more tattoos and tattoo parlors in my life.
[Roe also caught a show at Blind Pig.]
What's one current fashion trend you are eager to see fall to the wayside?
Another that is your favorite for fall?
Orange accessories and cloche hats.
You serve as a positive role-model for girls on your new show Plain Jane; is that a role you often played for your friends and family earlier in life, or even more recently in life?
I try to be a good friend, daughter, sister. I absolutely make mistakes and sometimes have a bad day, but on the whole if you have a good, loving family and foundation in your life then it gets easier to feel confident and positive.
Your show also seems to show that an interest in fashion doesn't have to signal a lack of intelligence or overt-vanity; is that a mantra you intended to demonstrate by signing onto this show? Is that an obstacle you've had to face in your career?
That's a great way of putting it--and spot on! I'm very, very aware of keeping the makeover styles to each girl's tastes and sensibilities. The last thing I want to do is go tight and short and suggest that slutty dressing is the way forward. No way. It's fun for them to try new shapes and trends, sometimes seeing their bodies in different clothes in the mirror literally reduces them to happy tears.
Any other projects we should look out for?
I'm launching a fall clothing line in September, based on body shapes. Check it out on HSN.
And lastly, we can't help but ask, were the scenarios as presented on The City really that malicious?
Luckily every time I filmed the scenes were fun and good-spirited. I'm still in touch with Joe, Erin and Whitney and email the peeps at Elle too. They were really supportive when Plain Jane first aired and wrote a story online about the show.