Andrea Linett has done a lot of awesome things.
After advancing from receptionist to an editor at Sassy (where she essentially discovered Chloe Sevigny), co-founding Lucky Magazine and becoming eBay Fashion’s first ever creative director, Linett is now the VP global creative director of Michael Kors. And an author.
Her latest awesome thing is a lovely new book, I Want to Be Her (buy it here) . It features clever, warm descriptions of all the people she’s “wanted to be” alongside illustrations by her best friend Anne Johnston Albert. Subjects range from her mom to aforementioned it girl Chloe Sevigny. The book is based on the blog she started of the same name, which was based on the back page feature she created while at Lucky. Though it turns out she had the idea for this book before all that.
We chatted with Linnet about her new book, who she “wants to be” and the children’s book she’s got in the works.
Fashionista: How did I Want to Be Her come about?
Andrea Linett: I came up with the idea for the book before I came up for the idea for the website a long time ago; I just never had time because I was so busy, but it’s just something that’s always popped into my head or my friends’ heads. It’s something that we’ve always said: “I wanna be her,” or, “she’s pretty,” or, “I love her outfit,” and there’s so many “I wanna be hers” in my history that I thought it would be fun to just remember and give a shout out to, so I just started collecting them. I came up with more than 50 but the book would have just gone on forever so I apologize to anyone who wasn’t in it.
How did it end up becoming a book, specifically?
When I left Lucky I knew there were a lot of fans of the back page, which was supposed to be me every month drawn by my best friend. When I left, that left with me and I just thought, “Oh that’ll be a cute blog” and then we got the book deal.
Why illustrations over photos?
Well, I can’t show you a photo of my first babysitter. A lot of them are from my memory and I just think the drawings are so whimsical and happy. It’s such a positive book. I’m touting how great they are, so I want to remember them as how they live in my memory. Maybe in real life, they wouldn’t have looked as good.
Does everyone in the book know they’re in the book?
No they don’t. Right now, Janis Savitt knows–I sent it to her and she’s flattered. Chloe Sevigny knows she’s in it. Some of my friends know they’re in it; some people might see it and be like, “she’s talking about me,” but there are no last names in it so it’s kind of open to interpretation. I think if you’re in it, you know who you are.
How do you take inspiration from other people’s style while staying true to yourself?
When I was younger, I would probably try to copy someone exactly, but you have to know what works for you. So if you see someone wearing something in a way you’d never noticed before, like I just saw someone in a denim jacket and she’d cut the sleeves midway and I thought, “I could do that,” ’cause I’m kind of like a t-shirt/jeans kind of girl. If you’re somebody who wears pencil skirts and heels, that’s even cuter because it’s going to make your pencil skirt and heels look kind of edgy. You just take little bits.
Did you learn anything profound about your own style or personal style in general?
When I look at everybody, I realize they all kind of had something in common, which is nobody’s really uptight and put together too perfectly, which I realize is something I’ve always been drawn to, sort of untucked glamour. They all have something odd going on–even the one girl, Laura, who was like perfect and had a Rolex–she still had like wild, crazy hair.
What’s your next book going to be?
I do have ideas in my head.
Can you tell us what they are?
I can’t, but I do have a children’s book that I’m working on.
Fine Andrea, just keep us guess. And while we wait, check out some of the lovely illustrations from I Want To Be Her.