Interview With Elise Smith- Stylist Of Highcross’ Art Of Style

The week, the Art Of Style arrived at Highcross. An event full of fabulous fashion and beautiful beauty, all available from various stores within the shopping centre. Among sculptures and static displays full of gorgeous pieces, there are live fashion presentations featuring models wearing the key trends.
I spoke to head stylist Elise Smith, all about the event, and found out what makes her tick!
In a few words, can you introduce yourself and your background?
My background is in professional dancing. I’ve danced since the age of three, and when I left school at 16, I moved to London to study dance professional. From here I started crossing over into fashion. Due to my background in dancing, it was a natural step for me to work with those that wanted fashion shows with a difference; with more entertainment and a bit more theatre. I started choreographing fashion shows and working behind the scenes merchandising the clothes and dressing the models. I love dressing the models, doing the choreography, and putting together the music, it’s so much fun.
I put together quite a few shows now, and work on a lot of charity events. A while back I worked with a local charity called Genesis that works with people with breast cancer. The patient themselves were my models, and it was so lovely to style them, particularly those that had lost a bit of their confidence. I do love to style non-models, there’s something so rewarding giving everyday people a nice boost. I also often work with stores like M&S, go into the store, grab outfits, put them on a rail and give 20 minute presentations.
In your own words, can you introduce the Art Of Style event.

The Art Of Style is a showcase for SS18 trends. We have;

Playful Pastels
Mad About Plaid
Floral Fantasy
Dark Denim
There will be live presentations with models wearing the pieces and me talking the audience through them, as well as sculptures and a wall full of fashion and outfit ideas that the stylists put together. I talk through the trends, talk through why I’ve put it on a certain model, whether it be because of their age or their body type. I talk about how you can dress the outfits up and down as well as where you can wear the items. On the beauty side of things, we’re concentrating on key colours for lips, as well as trends for groomed brows and eyeshadow colours.
Which is your favourite trend showcasing at the event, and why?
My favourite is the floral fantasy trend. Especially for men. Florals add a nice splash of colour to your outfit. Some florals are more subtle than others- so you can channel the trend however you want. Little accents or head to toe. You could just add a floral bag, scarf, or trainer. There are lots of floral trainers and even floral Doc Martens. The floral trend is hard to ignore it as it’s everywhere, and my advice to those who aren’t sure would be. ‘Be brave and bold’.
For those looking for a little bit of wardrobe inspiration for the Summer what would you advise be their staple pieces to pick up from Highcross?
Loads of jumpsuits and playsuits. They’re easy- no need to decide on what bottoms and what tops anymore. It’s just a really easy all in one outfit that you put straight on and they’re so versatile. I have a denim one from Miss Selfirdge that is great for holidays. You just add a jacket and a flat pump or wedge and you’re ready to go. The good thing is, jumpsuits are perfect for all ages and body types.
I’d recommend Phase 8 for slightly mature ladies, they have some great pieces. For a more flattering shape over bigger boobs, choose a playsuit with a cross over at the bust. You can pull them in at the waist, add accessories and away you go. There’s an ideal jumpsuit out there for everyone, you just need to find the right one for your shape and size.
Describe your own every day look?
I’m a bit of a chameleon. I dress with my mood. I find a look that I love and I recreate it to suit me. Both my mood and my body (I’m a size 16). I also have to find a way that I can channel the trend but it be flattering and comfortable on me as well. I’m quite truthful too with my age nowadays.
Often I’ll love trends for the models I style, but feel it may be a little too young for me, and that’s ok. I can just do my own thing. I do try to experiment a lot. I’m also scarf mad. Bonkers about scarves! You can pick up on key trends with a scarf. I’m on the hunt for a kimono at the moment- I want a long kimono as a statement piece.
Describe your perfect evening look?
I prefer to dress down. I’m terrible me, I tend to go more dress down than dress up. Again though I do go a lot for comfort. A statement earring or accessory pieces are my go to’s on nights out. I do like quirky pieces- like Vivienne Westwood clothing and accessories. My perfect night out look would be a pair of funky contemporary harems, a tee shirt, leather jacket and statement jewellery pieces.
Who or what are some of your favourite designers, and high street brands?
I like Biba, Preen and Nine by Savannah Miller. I’m also partial to Zara and I love the designer collaborations at H&M. I also tend to pick up a lot from local boutiques.
Do you have a beauty routine you religiously stick to?
 Yes! Up until a few years ago, I used to use Liz Earle all the time. Then my friend got me onto a brand called Tropic, and I’m in love. They are natural with no paragons and the smells are divine. For me, I like things as natural as possible (and no, I’m not a rep for the brand haha)
Who or what are your favourite premium and high street beauty and cosmetic brands?

I love Bare Minerals Makeup and I must admit I do like Barry M. I love his nail varnishes, they’re such pretty colours. His eyeshadow palettes are really beautiful and pigmented to. I find them just as good as the Urban Decay Naked palettes. I do dip around but my staple is Bare Minerals.


If you could style anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
Adele. I don’t think she ever looks bad as such, I just I think that sometimes she dresses older than she is. She has a great figure and I’d love to show that off a bit more. I also think she’d be a right laugh and I’d like to spend the day with her. Holly Willoughby would be a good one too, as I find her look so hit and miss, and it gets quite samey. Plus Dawn French. I think since her weight loss she’s kept to her comfort zone and I’d like to help bring her out of that. I’m really into styling plus size women- I think it’s so relevant at the moment and there’s so much choice now than there was before. I do plus size modelling myself and know from experience that often shopping can be a frustrating experience for plus size AND non-plus size women. I’d like to change that

Do not miss the Art Of Style event at Highcross this weekend. With live fashion presentations every hour, mini beauty consultations as well as fizz courtesy of Funk & Bubbles, it’s going to be an event you don’t want to miss out on. AND if you download Highcross app ‘PLUS’ you can get some great discounts on the brands included in the shows, and enter a fantastic competition to win £500 worth of Urban Decay makeup.


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