When people refer to you as “one of the original supermodels,” it’s safe to say you’ve got fashion in your bones. Gail Elliott, co-founder and creative director of Little Joe Woman, made her break as a top model in the ’80s working with other likeminded talents such as Cindy Crawford, Mario Testino, Stevel Meisel, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana (to name a few). Her background in front of the lens and on the runways truly allows her vision to come to life as she approaches her work with a renowned understanding on the importance of movement and elegance in clothing.
In 2002, with husband Joe Coffey, the Little Joe Woman brand we know and love today was born. The duo spent many years running their business out of Sydney, but has recently taken their headquarters to Bali, a.k.a. paradise. This is seemingly an idea fit, combining the beautiful landscape of Indonesia alongside the brand’s style of slighty boho / slightly rock glam / wearable, statement chic.
We sat down with the fashion icon to talk drive, culture and beauty.
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WHEN DID YOU CREATE LITTLE JOE WOMAN AND WHAT WAS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE CONCEPT? ALSO, WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I was extremely fortunate to enjoy a long successful career as a fashion model based in New York for twenty four years in the late ’80s and ’90s and had begun to feel a need to express my learnings, and my fashion thoughts and feelings, creatively. Having worked with so many fashion designers as a model, I became to appreciate quality, luxury and how beautiful clothing makes a woman feel. My first designs were very simple slip dresses and camisoles, pieces that I needed for myself, and couldn’t find in stores at the time, that worked with my hectic travel schedule. They were easy to pack, made me feel good and felt great to wear. I started with six silk slips and six silk camisoles in six colours. We’re just finishing production of Resort 2015, have finished design, sampling and selling of Fall/Winter 2016 and are now working on Spring/Summer 2016.
WHO IS THE LITTLE JOE WOMAN WEARER?
For me the Little Joe Woman appreciates luxury, she’s chic, she’s subtly sexy, is a busy person, enjoys travel and loves life…just like me! I feel so honoured when I see people on the street and celebrities wearing our brand or even carrying one of our shopping bags — I don’t think I’ll ever get over that thrill. Everyone has a choice of what they wear, so when I see someone in something that I’ve designed, it’s very exciting. I have a lot of friends and celebrities who wear our brand, a few are Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Yasmin Le Bon, Elle Macpherson, Eva Hertigova, Cheyenne Tozzi and Miranda Kerr.
YOU’RE KNOWN FOR BEING A STYLE ICON! WHAT IS A FASHION TREND YOU’RE CURRENTLY INTO?
I’m not a trend driven person, but I am always obsessed with leopard print, fringing, leather and lace. I like chic and cool — monochrome is always classic and I also have a penchant for gypsy, bohemian styles.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, YOU OPENED A BOUTIQUE IN BALI. CONGRATULATIONS! TELL US ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS TO VISIT WHEN TRAVELLING TO THE FAMOUS DESTINATION!
Joe Coffey (who is my husband and business partner) and I moved our operations to Bali just over a year ago, and eight months ago we opened our first Little Joe Woman boutique in Asia on Petitenget, Seminyak in Bali. So, we’re spending as much time as possible here and travelling to Sydney as business and pleasure requires. Our boutique carries our “Endless Summer” collection of all my favourite Resort pieces as well as our new accessories line of hand bags, beach bags, beach towels, sandals, wide-brimmed straw panama hats, swimwear and jewellery — which are perfect for every vacation. We also carry our current “Collection” pieces that are in our Australian stores and online.
I find Bali alluring because, for me, it’s rugged and luxurious at the same time and every trip is special. I love it for the people, the kindness, the culture, the smells, the sense of community, the climate, the food, the warm air, the beautiful scenery of the rice paddy fields and the freedom that permeates the air here. The restaurant, hotel and beach club scene is amazing, there are so many world class places to eat and chill at with Sardine, Petitenget, La Louchiola, Barbacoa, Metis, Ku De Ta and Potatohead being some of our favourites. I also love the style of interiors in Bali with modern dark wood, their use of stone, concrete, metal, marble, woven materials and bamboo. My favourite interior designer is Christian Liaigre, and so much of what I see at various restaurants and hotels in Bali, reminds me of his stunning work. In particular I love the interiors of the Alila Hotel, Nihiwatu Resort and Suaga Resort.
YOU’VE MENTIONED TAKING HUGE INSPIRATION FROM TRAVELLING. DO YOU HAVE ANY GLOBETROTTING BEAUTY TIPS TO SHARE FOR THOSE TAKING SOME DESTINATION ADVENTURES THIS UPCOMING SUMMER?
In Bali I don’t use much moisturizer because the climate is so warm. It’s too hot to use body moisturizer, but I like to exfoliate. On my face I use mainly serums, which I find lighter and limit moisturizer to before bed only. I tone with either YSL or Jurlique Rose toner morning and night and don’t use tap water on my face. I’ve been using Aspect products for a few years, which I love, as this brand actually works and not just smells good or pampers my skin. I like Ultraceuticals sunscreen for my body. For hair colour and treatments I go to the Rob Peetoom Salon, which is a beautifully designed Balinese / modern building with high ceilings, dark wood, white walls and tropical plants and water features, which also overlooks a massive rice paddy in Seminyak. For facials I love Cocoon Medical Spa, which is a very cleverly designed glass building with individual “cocoon” shaped smaller glass pods which serve as treatment rooms that are private and relaxing — and, the aesthetician’s are extremely well trained and knowledgeable.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY HOME/HOUSE OUT OF A FILM, WHAT HOUSE WOULD IT BE?
I would have Robert Downey Junior’s home in Iron Man because it’s so damn cool and I could pretend I was Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Pepperpot!!
WHAT’S YOUR LIFE MOTTO? “Never Give Up…”
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