Will you take part in my life, my love
That is my dream
Life is but a dream; it’s what you make it
Always try to give; don’t ever take it…
‘Life is but a Dream’ - The Harptones, 1955
A 1950’s musical serenade and today’s vibrant fashion frontier are not as far removed from each other as it might first appear.
In speaking with the wonderful Libby Page, Fashion Market Editor for Net-A-Porter, we learnt that there is far more than just the surface black coffee and next key-trend putting wind into the wings of this highly passionate and dedicated woman.
As a wide-eyed, driven young thing from Swindon in south England, Libby has followed the sound of her own tune and wound-up amongst the sky-high, sky lines of NYC and London, where she now thrives in her full-blown life in the fashion lane. A seemingly (and very well-earned) dream come-true for the delightful, hard-working, focused and striking Ms Page.
We spoke about the romance of fashion; it’s optimism in perpetually being able to look forward, and how refreshing it is to see indications of a mass-move away from costume dressing and a re-appreciation for the slower sides of the craft.
In what can be a fast-paced and fierce industry, how beautiful it is to be reminded first-hand that following your passion and putting in hard-work pays off, because: ‘Life is but a dream; it’s whatever you make it’.
The Harptones knew it then, and evidently, Ms Libby Page knows it now.
Where are you from, and how did you come to be living life as you know it?
I am from a very small town called Swindon in the south west of England, and I think that, working in fashion and living in London, for me, just came and went hand in hand. So It’s always been my mission to move to London since I was 15 years old.
When I was 18, I took the leap and I moved up, and now I live in a flat in west London with my two best girlfriends. I’m always tempted by L.A or New York but when I return from a work trip it reminds me of how much I love this city.
I studied fashion at university just outside of London, specifically fashion promotion, which was primarily writing and styling. It’s always been the thing I’ve had the most interest in, and I’ve worked in magazines from a very young age, that’s where I started out. I did my first internship when I was 15, and then worked until I was 22, which is when I came across to Net-A-Porter, and I’ve been here for 3 great years now.
In your own words, please tell us what you do?
I am a Fashion Market Editor, so I very much work with the Net-a-Porter buyers to curate our global edit, and represent the season’s key trends. We go out to Paris, Milan, New York and London (which is always nice) on buying trips. We really try to work as a team to ensure we’re representing the most relevant product out there. Constantly thinking of what’s the next big thing and what’s on the frontier. The other side of my role is to make a really conscious effort to scout new brands. I also then work in tandem with our editorial and marketing teams to ensure we’re communicating Net-A-Porter’s point of view.
What do you love most about fashion?
I can’t remember the last time I answered this question! It’s quite nice to think about…
Honestly, I just love the way clothes can make you feel. I am currently obsessed with pant-suits, partly because it takes me two seconds to get ready in the morning, and partly because it just feels really empowering. Whilst fashion is constantly changing, I feel the direction designers are moving in now is a return to making real clothes again, for real women. We’ve had such a resurgence of tailoring and suiting, and now this idea of reality dressing, framing ourselves in long fluid shapes - it feels really easy, and really natural.
For me personally, it feels like we’ve stepped away from this idea of costume dressing and everything being maximalist. It’s now really about beautiful, every day clothes that are super refined, and that allow you to just feel really good about yourself.
"Often I find that it’s the smaller, niche brands, that are actually the ones shaping the way fashion is evolving."
Which element of your work do you thrive off the most?
I love the places that I get to explore - New York feels like it has become a second home. And discovering new brands. Finding something that people have not yet seen, or heard of always opens up a conversation. Seeing the product then launch on Net-A-Porter, feels special. Often I find that it’s the smaller, niche brands, that are actually the ones shaping the way fashion is evolving.
What does beauty look like to you?
I think beauty is laughter and happiness – because regardless of the products you’re putting on your face, you can always tell when someone is really and truly happy.
What are three things that are inspiring you right now?
The Row’s pre-fall look book for their new collection is absolutely divine! It is super chic and I am finding that really inspiring. Also, plants – because of the spring and summer being on the way, and the green-ness! I just want everything to get greener…. and I just got back from New York, where I went to the The Line store (I go there every time I’m in NYC), and it just keeps getting more and more beautiful. I wish they’d let me move in!
Who, or what are you listening to right now?
Actually, Calvin Harris’s new song. I think it’s going to be the sound of my summer! It’s getting me very excited for the change of season, and I’m off to Bali in August, so I just know when I look back on the trip, that song is going to be the soundtrack for it.
Also, my favourite podcast at the moment is The High Low with Dolly Alderton & Pandora Sykes. I listen to it every week religiously. I just love the way you feel like you’re getting your cultural fix, but it’s just really fun and accessible. They have a great point of view on everything.
Oh, and I love the podcast Table Manner’s which is hosted by Jessie Ware– it’s really great also.
Do you have a morning ritual?
I wish I was an early riser, but for ever trying it’s proving impossible… so I’m a black coffee, boiled eggs, and out the door kind of girl.
What does your ideal Sunday entail?
A lazy morning, and a work-out to clear my head. Then a classic brunch (which is so stereotypically British! – but I love a good brunch). Then, just wandering around Notting Hill and enjoying a glass of red wine in the evening.
I like to be pretty relaxed and low key, because my weeks are so busy and we’re travelling all the time for work. So weekends are for my small pleasures in London.
When do you feel most aligned with yourself?
Probably when I am at home in London, and I’ve had plenty of sleep and spent the weekend with my friends or my family. It just really helps to put everything into perspective. Being able to reflect back and think – wow, I am actually so lucky to be able to do what I do, meet the people I meet and have the people in my life that I do… that for me is when I feel perfectly aligned.
What is happiness to you?
Right now… I am incredibly happy right now.
If you could give your younger self any advice based on everything you know now, what would it be?
I think I would say, don’t panic, it’s going to be okay! My younger self was (and I still very much am) incredibly ambitious. I am always thinking about what the next thing is, and what I would do next… I’d just tell her to slow down a little.
Visit Libby @libbyjanepage
Words by Ellen Watts | @_theatelier_
Photography by Lily Hough