“I grew up in Munich, spent a few years living in the states, and then went to a boarding school in England called Bedales. It was quite idyllic and small, we didn’t wear uniforms, and we called out teachers by their first names. I remember my friends and I wanted extra English lessons, so we asked two of our favorite teachers to give us a class in their homes. There was something incredibly innocent about that time. I also became obsessed, as is your birthright as a teenage girl, with fashion. I mean, we were all obsessed—all of our rooms were papered with tears from The Face, Dazed and Confused, and i-D. Those magazines really changed the landscape and changed my mind about what fashion could be.
I went to Stanford and studied Comparative Literature. After I graduated, George Plimpton hired me for The Paris Review and then promptly died. The offices were in the basement of George and Sarah Plimpton’s house on 72nd Street—we worked happily for like $3, and took turns bringing in Pop-Tarts. I think New York is ultimately a very welcoming place, but you have to figure out all the loopholes. Especially when it’s also filled with the sons and daughters of people who have been very successful for generations—everyone gets mixed into the pot together, and you have to figure out how you’re going to make it work. When I decided I wanted to work at The New York Observer, I went over and dropped off a hand-written note with all these pieces I had written. Somehow that got my foot in the door. I think to be a great editor you have to be ego-less, have really good taste, and hold yourself to a higher standard. Editors make you better, and Peter Kaplan, the editor-in-chief at the time, was an extraordinary editor. I was modeling on the side, too, because I found that you couldn’t really make a living as a writer. Or rather, you could make a much better living as a model than as a writer, and still write on the side.
I went freelance for a while, ended up as an editor of The Violet Files at the earliest incarnation of Violet Grey, and then worked at Diane Von Furstenberg. If you’re a young person nowadays, you’re almost expected to have lots of different interests—I think a well-rounded person is very interesting, but you can easily become a dilettante. The best case scenario is that you do lots of things and then figure out a way of marrying those things together, which is how I ended up with . Unless it was Celine or The Row, no one was getting shirts right—we just wanted to get it right. When you’re starting a business, you have to ask questions and make mistakes, and the mistakes are always the best, most important lessons.
Ultimately, a lot of our model is based on applying things from the beauty world to fashion. The beauty industry understood inclusivity long before anyone else did. Using social media to break down the barriers between brands and consumers comes from beauty—that was brilliant. If the fashion industry had its way, those things would still be roped off, and you’d like things because you were told to like them. I think the consumer is very smart, and she or he or they don’t want to be pandered to. I can’t stand when brands condescend to you in their messaging or product—like, fuck off, we know better. That’s how we’d like to run our business, being honest and ‘fessing up when we’ve fucked up, and we have so far.
Ultimately, a lot of our model is based on applying things from the beauty world to fashion. The beauty industry understood inclusivity long before anyone else did.
My fridge has become ludicrous now. OK—I had always put my medicine in the fridge, because it makes sense that keeping it in the fridge would keep it fresh. I also had all these products that could go bad, so it was logical to keep them in there, too. A lot of the products in there are from a facialist in LA, . First of all, she’s the nicest woman you’ll ever meet—you’ll want her to be your mommy immediately. But she also gives the best facials, and has a beautiful line of products. Right now I’m wearing her mixed with a bit of water.
I also keep all this stuff from my favorite brand, , in there because you can’t get it in America. I don’t understand why you can’t get it here—every single thing they do is so fucking good. sent me a box of the stuff, so I’m trying to stretch it. I love the and the . I also stock up on this body product when I go to Germany—but I go all the time, so sometimes I end up with lots of bottles. It’s made with urea, and it’s great for when you have little chicken skin bumps. I also have a that I take back by the boat-load when I go to St. Barths. It’s so thick, and it doesn’t come off your body, and it really works. I don’t know if this works, but I love it in the fridge. I’m fucking telling you! You know what else is really good to keep in the fridge? Sheet masks, because then they’re cold. from Clé de Peau are really nice.
It’s important to have a proper dermatologist, especially if you’re a redhead. We have such sensitive skin that there’s always something to see a doctor about. I’ve always seen this very conservative German dermatologist, and she says not to wash your face with anything but water. I think the is quite fab because it’s mild—and that is not a hashtag-ad. I have the too, but it’s too drying. I already have dry skin—in the winter my skin is so dry, I could literally put my face into a bowl of oil and it would still be dry. I’m also a big proponent of toner. I’ve used so many fancy ones, but this is amazing, and I can get it at Whole Foods. I love Kate Somerville, too—it’s so overlooked. I have a , a , and I like to mix and match them with the . is really fucking epic, but it’s too much for this weather, especially when I wear sunscreen. In the day, I just use this that has SPF. But if I’m going out to the beach and I need it, I’ll use .
is amazing. It’s untenably expensive, but it’s so good. I also love masks because they’re easy, but do you know what the best mask is? . It doesn’t go bad because it’s a powder, and you just mix it with water when you want to use it. It makes everything filthy—you have to throw away your apartment after you do it—but it’s worth it. I also love the other May Lindstrom mask, the . On planes, nothing is better.
I like to have so much product that every one of my 25 handbags has at least three lipsticks in it, and a lip balm, and a concealer, and an eyeshadow. To me, is the best foundation. It’s not very thick, but it still has enough coverage. Or I use the in SX02. This is so grotesque, but I’ve probably had it for three years because it’s so thick, and you only need a tiny bit.
If I’m going out at night, and I have to look nice and presentable, I will wear the . It’s scented, and a little bit silly, and not on-brand for me at all, but I am fucking obsessed with it. It’s the best ever. The eyeshadows are so pigmented, and there are such good colors. I wear White Peach, Luscious, Nectar, Bless Your Heart, and sometimes Bellini—I sort of mix them up. I’m going to be so upset when they stop making it. I learned how to use it on YouTube, obviously. Too Faced also makes a really great mascara, . I don’t tweeze my brows—I just brush them up with . I was using Clear for a while, but I switched to Blond and I think it’s quite nice.
I like to have so much product that every one of my 25 handbags has at least three lipsticks in it, and a lip balm, and a concealer, and an eyeshadow.
Do I have a favorite lipstick color? Absolutely not. I like any lipstick color on God’s green earth. I like this, by Kevyn Aucoin, and I like that it turns into a stain. This of a color changing lipstick is so chic. I love these —I have all of them, and every color in this . I have a lot of the , which are great because you can trace the right shape. I’m obsessed with . It’s like a grab bag—I just stick my hand, open a lipstick, and see if I feel like wearing it. It’s hard for me to throw them away!
I use sulfate-free shampoo, but I’m not loyal to any one in particular—this one is . Then, I mix a bunch of things—I haven’t found one product that does it all. I use a tiny drop of with , which is epically good. If you mix those two with this , it’s perfect. is the best in the summer, when your hair is frizzy by definition. I use those things when my hair is wet, and then a teeny tiny bit of for the front. The is really good, too. I get my hair cut at my secret place in the East Village. They give a fabulous one—I’ve never gotten a fancy cut that I love.
BODY + FRAGRANCE
Serge Lutens is my favorite perfume maker of all time. is all woody, and it’s such a fucking amazing smell. I love from Megababe because it smells quite masculine, actually. I’d follow its founder, , to the end of the world. And in the shower, I have all of the . Jo Malone is like grown-up Body Shop, right? I don’t stick to one scent—whatever I pick up that day is what I like.”
—as told to ITG
Jessica Joffe photographed by Tom Newton on June 12, 2019 in New York.