Vogue Editor Talks Fashion

As a market editor for Vogue, Cynthia Smith will go through hundreds of printed dresses to find the perfect flirty frock for the magazine’s “Steal of the Month” page or “Index” section. She also keeps tabs on the contemporary market and emerging collections. Her eye for fashion is a driving force for Vogue and an inspiration for women. She’s developed a following for her fresh and inventive personal style. Whether she’s in a blazer and tie — à la Annie Hall — or a polka dot dress with zigzag Prada heels, Smith is constantly mixing up her wardrobe to perfect her ensembles. We caught up with her when she was in town for the Nordstrom Designer Preview show in Seattle, which Vogue partnered. Here’s what she had to say about the area’s growing fashion reputation, her favorite fall trends and the best shoes for combating the inevitable autumn rain.

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Photo by Vivian Hsu

What’s your style motto?My advice would be to take risks but always have a go-to look in your back pocket! However, at the beginning of a new season the “I have to have it” moment dominates.

The turtleneck: Love to hate it, or love to love it? Neutral. But it can look modern, I’ll give it that. It depends on how it’s styled. With a slim skirt and a great boot, it can look modern and sophisticated for fall.

What fall 2014 line are you most impressed by? I loved Dries Van Noten. The bold Op Art prints adorning sweaters and skirts are both eye-catching and modern. I have to have one!

Latte, drip or tea? Café au lait.

Do you like to clean out your closet or hold on to everything? Spring, summer, fall and winter cleaning — helps me stay current and remix my wardrobe with existing pieces.

What’s the last fashion purchase you splurged on? Shearling jacket with cobalt blue pockets by Altuzarra.

Favorite Vogue editor? That could get me in trouble! Working with Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Phyllis Posnick and Camilla Nickerson is a dream come true — they each bring magic and mischief into the office every day.

What staple piece do you wear the most? A navy Saint Laurent Sac De Jour leather tote and a gold slim bangle I’ve worn since I was 8!

Tell us honestly, is the Seattle/Bellevue area on the map for fashion? It is! It’s on the rise — people are talking about it more and more.

Any shoe recommendations for rainy days? Rag & Bone rain boots are a must. Also, Hunter is showing a heeled rain boot for fall.

What fashion piece should every woman invest in for fall 2014? I’d say a statement shearling coat or a dress with an art nouveau graphic print — have fun with it!

Socks with heels: a fad or forever? Perhaps with a tall boot peeking out over the knee for a sophisticated, yet sexy look.

What five things do you always have in your purse? Two iPhones, Tata Harper hydrating floral essence spray, Balenciaga Rosabotanica rollerball perfume and a Metro card.

What celebrity or public figure do you think has great style? From the fashion world, Phoebe Philo. From Hollywood, Lupita Nyong’o and Keira Knightley.

Roughly, what percent of your closet is vintage? 15 percent.

What’s your guilty pleasure? I can’t believe I’m saying this… though they’ve become more fashionable of late — Birkenstocks.

What are your responsibilities at Vogue? As a market editor, I scope out up-and-coming collections as well as the contemporary market. My job is to seek out new designers and bring their talent to the racks at Vogue. I also oversee the contemporary market in order to give the reader modern, accessible and easy-to-wear options.

is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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