How the Coolest Girl in New York Does Fashion Week
It involves 3+ coffees and making set lists for the after parties. In collaboration with Gucci.
There are a few things we know to be true of fashion week (by this point, we’ve been through our fair share of seasons): the first is that the fashion is inevitably going to be on point (both outside the tents and on the runway); that green juices and stashed snacks are our only means of survival; and that getting eight hours of sleep is as illusive as not having a small breakdown after a month’s worth of shows. But by day four of the inaugural week (that’s NYFW, guys), it all just kind of becomes one big blur...until it's all over. At least for us, anyways.
But then we met Brianna Lance—designer, creative director, DJ and musician—who does away with all the conventional day-to-day of fashion week for her own thing and somehow just keeps it all together (all the while enjoying every moment of it—super refreshing, no?). Which, as we learned upon tailgating her during NYFW, happens to involve a closet full of Gucci (with a few personally selected vintage pieces peppered in, like, a particularly amazing faux fur), a few moments of meditation, copious cups of coffee, and calmly composing her set list for an after party later that night. Let’s just say, we now officially want to do every season according to Lance.
On her morning routine during fashion week:
“I wake up normally at 6:30 or 7 every day. Then I meditate for 20 minutes. I make coffee. If I’m DJ-ing somewhere, I have to make a playlist in the morning—with more coffee. Just in the morning, I have about two or three cups. All this is done while I’m still in my robe. When I have to go out, I finally get dressed, but I try to stay in my robe as long as possible.”
On what she’s doing during NYFW:
“I’m DJ-ing a magazine party and then making music for a presentation.”
On her signature makeup look:
“I wear the same makeup every day. I just wear a black cat-eye, a little pink cheek and then a lip stain. It’s the same every day—I never change it. They stopped making the lip stain I love. It was a weird drugstore one—it was literally a marker you can put on your face, so you would get the perfect line. It was amazing!”
On doing some sartorial pre-planning:
“I normally choose my outfit the night before, so I lay out all my clothes—I am a big fan of that. I just have to do it because I don’t think straight in the morning, I think better at night.”
On choosing clothing with intention:
"I can't really wear disposable clothes - everything has to feel special and like there is a story behind it. Whether it's jeans with paint stains or the most beautiful dress, like all of those Gucci dresses, it has to feel special and like there is some soul to it."
On her personal style:
"I feel like I just dress like myself. I like a lot of glamour mixed with a lot of simple. A lot of times I dress like a little boy wearing his mom's coat, or someone who fell into a dress up box."
On the collection she currently loves:
“I think Gucci’s collections are such hits right now because they sort of have the most beautiful vintage treasure-box feel to them. Everything is so special and every piece seems so beautiful, and at the same time there are also really good silhouettes in there for people to wear. It’s very feminine and still cool. It mixed in so well with what I own because most of it is vintage. I already own and wear vintage Gucci men’s loafers more than any other kind of shoe.”
On what’s always in her purse:
“Wallet, probably a lip stain, Rosebud lip salve, cellphone, ear buds, and then normally an iPad and a little notepad. Sometimes, I bring a change of shoes. A lot of the times it’s based on weather.”
On where she finds her inspiration:
"Really any and everywhere. If you remain present and keep your eyes open, you can have this gigantic bank of inspiration. And then, when you have to sit and focus, you pull from your bank."
On her creative process:
"I think creative people are creative people, and ultimately you make things for the same reason: to show people your dream. That said, designing is more fun and sort of based on the emotion of beauty. What is the most beautiful version of something? Joy is always involved. Music for me is based on giving your emotions over to the universe and sort of healing. The only similarity between the two is I spend a lot of time just doing input, whether it is looking at clothes, looking at art, listening to music, watching films or traveling. I spend anywhere from a week to a month exclusively on input (research) for each project, after that you can just sit and have a faucet run with the way your brain personally has twisted its input.
[The process] is different every time. I will have the song demoed before—I demo everything in my bedroom. So we’ll have it all prerecorded and we’ll go in with the track and take out whatever we want to take out and put it back in. So we sit and listen to it a few times in that little sound booth room. Then we go out and start recording, whether it’s the keyboard or drum sounds or guitar, vocals and all that sort of stuff.”
On how her creative process has evolved:
"I think the longer I do what I do, the more confident I am in my view point. I don't second guess myself the way that I used to because I realize more why I do it. If you do something for love then you can let your ego go."
On her first fashion memory:
"I think for most people it's their mom. My mother saved a lot of beautiful things she used to wear in the '70s: silver bangles, leopard sarong, rust colored silk dresses, a brown rabbit fur coat—it was like seeing a unicorn."
On her best vintage find:
"I have so many good vintage finds. I can't choose just one, but I'll give you the best story. I bought this amazing bright red fox coat with red and white stripes in LA on the way to Mexico with a couple of girl friends. So, before going home to live with me, the coat had a little adventure. We took photos with it riding horses in bikinis on the beach. We would all put it on at night and wander around with it and a bathing suit, or nothing, so essentially it always reminds me of that trip."
On her favorite era:
"Now. There's a lot of romance in the past because you can erase the bad sides and look back with rose colored glasses, but my favorite thing in the world is that if you have a question about anything is that you can instantly research it right then and there. We are empowered by knowledge and to me that's a huge gift."
On what she does before DJ’ing a party:
“This isn’t going to sound great but I take naps [laughs]. I burn Palo Santo and then take a nap. Then I have a cup of coffee, or I take a bath or something if I have to go out. I like to try to relax before I go out, so it’s not just a full on day-day-day-day. It feels like you’re restarting."
On how she dresses for an event:
“I like colour a lot. I try to wear a lot of colour and big, crazy coats and stuff like that. This collection is perfect.”
On coming up with the perfect DJ playlist:
“Normally when you have to make a playlist for a show, someone sends you all of their looks and their mood board. For example, right now I’m doing one that is clearly Western inspired, so now I have to go and research. My starting point was Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazel and then I break it down from there. I find obscure versions of it or find songs that sit with it well. It takes hours and hours. DJ-ing is the same. You sort of have to see what environment you’re going into.”
On keeping good company during a set:
“You always want someone up there because it gets really boring. There’s always three minutes of space that you’re consistently trying to fill. Ideally there’s someone up there with you to keep you company.”
On how she gets around:
On her ultimate vice:
“I love caffeine. Coffee just punctuates every part of my day. So, I have places all over town. There is Grumpy’s is in Chelsea, Blue Bird at 1st and 1st—and that’s really good. Honestly, Wafles & Dinges has really good coffee and it’s the closest one to me. And there’s Ninth Street Espresso by the park. Oh, and Dudley’s—they have flat whites there.”
On recording her album at Electric Lady Studio:
"One of my dear friends, Lee Foster, is an owner and general manager there and he has created a place that feels like home, but way better. It has a huge and amazing music history and so many incredible people have made music there, but ultimately I like it there because it feels like being with family and being home. I definitely find magic there."
On what she’s listening to right now:
“My favorite thing to listen to is Miriam Makeba. She is a South African singer. She made a record with Harry Belafonte. It’s incredible! That’s what I keep listening to over and over again.”