Anna Harvey is one of the most authoritative voices in women's fashion; not just in the UK, but internationally. She enjoyed a distinguished career at Vogue and spent more than 30 years at Conde Nast after a start at Harper's Bazaar working alongside Anna Wintour. She was an integral part of the launch teams for Vogue in Russia, India, Portugal, Holland and Turkey and was at the forefront of introducing new talent to Vogue, encouraging connections between upcoming models, like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, with influential photographers. Anna was also an advisor to one of the most stylish women of the 20th Century: Diana, Princess of Wales. We asked her a few questions about fashion this party season and her new book 'Timeless Style'.
So tell us a bit about your background and how you got into fashion?
I wanted to get into fashion from my early teenage years. My mother loved clothes and I would spend hours in her bedroom watching her change. We lived in South Africa and Harpers Bazaar and Vogue would arrive after three months on the high seas and be greeted by great excitement by my mother and myself. I decided then and there that I wanted to work for one of the titles.
What was it like working for Vogue?
In the early years at Vogue it was very difficult. I had come from Brides magazine and had no clear idea about high fashion. The fashion room at Vogue was full of great talents including Grace Coddington and for a long time I was rather out of my depth.
What was the inspiration behind your new book 'Timeless style'?
My friends and readers alike were always asking questions about what to wear to this or that event and I thought I should share my experience with them all after I left Vogue.
In your new book 'Timeless Style' you provide a guide for women on how to dress, does this guide come from personal experience?
It very much comes from personal experience but also to watching and learning from others. I have always enjoyed watching women whether on the high street or at a celebrity-studded event. I have watched women in changing rooms struggling with what they are trying on. Their uncertainty and lack of confidence made me even more sure that a book might help them.
Do you have a favourite item of clothing that is a staple in your wardrobe?
A simple Chloe shift dress bought from the Outnet.com is something I fall back on every time I feel unsure about what to wear. It is very simple but well-cut and I feel relaxed in it.
With Christmas party season coming up what should we be looking to buy for the seasons parties?
I find velvet always looks glamorous and I have several velvet outfits, from a bottle green Zara trouser suit to a similar one in navy blue from M&S. I also have a black jersey long skirt which I wear with crepe shirt or satin blouse. Of course you can never go wrong with a LBD (little black dress).
Are there any fashion items that people should avoid?
Anything too see-through should probably be avoided unless you have the right underwear - black under black and skin-tone under white or pale colours.
Do you think that the influence of fashion and the fear of not being on trend sometimes makes us wear things that do not suit us?
It is very easy to be tempted by some of the lovely things we see on the catwalk but in the main anything with too strong a message (bulky silhouettes, cut-outs, neon colours etc should be avoided). Try and enjoy fashion without becoming a slave to it.
If you had to give one piece of advice to women about choosing the right clothes for them what would it be?
Feel comfortable in the outfit or garment. This means not buying it too small, too tight or too short.
And Finally what is next for you?
I hope to be writing a fashion column for a national newspaper which I am really looking forward too.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions it is very much appreciated!
It has been a pleasure.