This past New York Fashion Week I was backstage at Erin Fetherston when I met Cologne Schmidt. This was weeks before Stylista premiered so I had no idea when we started chatting that she was one of the contestants of the much talked about Anne Slowey reality show Stylista. She promised an interview when the show premiered and she totally delivered! Cologne is such a sweet person and anyone who has watched the show so far can tell she has great style. See what she has to say about being on the show, Elle staffers, and more!!
What attracted you to Stylista?
Being a fashion editor at a highly reputable fashion magazine has always been a dream job of mine. A fashion editor has the unique ability to combine creativity and intelligence. You have to always be ahead of trends and be able to predict where the fashion world is going next. Decisions a fashion editor makes can essentially change the way people dress, shop, and think about style. You have to have a love for fashion, innate eye for style, creative vision, and intellectual capacity. It is a fast-paced job that requires a lot of involvement and ambition. To be honest, it is exactly what I would love in a career. Also, Elle is one of the most ideal magazines for me to work at. It is fast-paced, reputable, smart, and beautifully laid-out. I admire the talented minds that generate Elle each month and I was excited to get to know more about what it was like. More after the Jump!
What’s your background in fashion?
I have interned for Riviera, a fashion magazine in Orange County, as well as Cross Marketing, a fashion PR firm in San Francisco (with high-profile clientele such as Louis Vuitton, Saks, Nordstrom, etc). I also wrote my senior thesis at UC Berkeley on how fashion reflects identity.
Mostly however, I am a huge vintage junkie and can spend days going through vintage jungles finding pieces to change and make my own. I love to collect unique articles of clothing and I love to style my friends. Living in a sorority with sixty girls undoubtedly sharpened that skill. It also led me to start my own online clothing and jewelry line ohdeCologne.com with vintage inspired dresses and usable cologne bottle necklaces.
Getting dressed for the show must have been stressful. Can you tell us about your style and some of the outfits you brought to the filming of the show?
It seriously was stressful, mostly because each day was a complete surprise–we would be getting dressed not having any idea what we were doing that day.
My style is very eclectic. I definitely love vintage fashion and have a lot of color in my wardrobe. I like pieces that are unique and fun and that I feel comfortable in. My style is always transforming and has certainly changed since we filmed that show last spring. I like to dress for how I feel at the moment, sometimes girly and colorful, sometimes dark and grungy. But my favorite pieces in my wardrobe are my vintage finds. I love taking vintage dresses and cutting them into shorter dresses or tops. I love lace. I love boots. I love vintage purses, cocktail rings, and watches. And there is no such thing as too many gold bracelets.
What did you think about Anne Slowey and the other Elle staffers?
I like Anne. She comes across as really intense and mean on the show, but she actually has a great sense of humor and I really respect her. And Joe Zee is amazing. They are both very talented at what they do and are extremely intelligent and well spoken. Oh, and Kate Lanphear is my idol. That girl is one of the most stylish and talented women in the industry. I absolutely love her work.
First impressions of the contestants?
“This is going to be interesting”. They chose a diverse crowd, obviously on purpose, and at first I didn’t know what to think of some of the contestants. But overall, I really was intrigued by each and every one of them, and was excited to get to know them all. I could tell I was going to really get along with several of them.
What have you learned from being on the show?
Besides the mechanics of reality TV, I really learned a lot from the whole process of the show. From the interviews to the challenges, I was forced to push myself no matter what the situation. I also learned a lot about putting together a lay out and realized how much thought and effort goes into a fashion magazine. It takes talent and hard work. Also, I think participating in a reality show gives you thicker skin. People can hate on me, or say that I wear too much mascara (who cares?), and I really have learned to just brush it off. It was a fun experience, I made friends, and I learned about what goes into a high-fashion magazine. And most importantly, I learned how to brush my teeth with a camera in my face!
How would you describe the dress code at Elle?
Anything that is in style at the moment, as long as you can pull it off. Literally–that is pretty much the dress code. And don’t think you can fool anyone, their job is to know the trends.
Can you give us any tidbits about what we can expect from the show in the coming weeks?
More exciting fashion-related challenges–no more breakfast making. People cracking under the stress. A lot of hard-work, and a lot of fun.
Any future projects currently in the works for you?
Yes! I started my own online clothing and jewelry company ohdeCologne.com! I put my heart and soul into it and the collection just went up for sale online. It is a small line of vintage inspired dresses that are versatile, flattering, and fun to wear. They all cinch at the waist with built in lace slips. Check them out. You will also find on ohdeCologne.com my refillable crystal ‘cologne’ bottle necklaces on long sterling silver chains that are very unique and perfect for gifts!