Brit Fay? No Brooklyn Fay…


The first of the Sart’s London photos have started to emerge and this girl seems to be making waves on the commentary front (though it does comprise of the usual toshy ‘Oh, she’s nothing special…’, ‘I just don’t get it…’ malarky that really ticks me off about the Sartorialist…).

However, as later commentors and now today’s Guardian G2 Close-Up (do you look forward to The Close-Up as much as I do…?) have revealed, Fay Leshner is actually not a Londoner but a New Yorker studying fashion in London.  Ah well.  I have no beef with that.  If the Sart wasn’t inspired by my fellow Londoners, that isn’t a big deal…

I do find accompanying questionnaires very insightful though and though I am a pic-y person, a bit of juicy text also goes a long way which is why I tend to blather on a fair bit here.  For a start, reading her Q&A would probably stop a few people on The Sart nit-picking the way they do… 

What are you wearing today?

A dress that I made myself and a jacket by Karl Lagerfeld. Also a Vivienne Westwood pin and a vintage Christian Dior pin that I took from my mother. I have a tendency to adopt things of hers, then if I wear them long enough she thinks they are mine anyway. My shoes are Charles Nolan – I bought them in New York, where I live – and my socks were a value pack from a kids’ store. I made this shirt into a tuxedo shirt from a regular shirt – now it has tails. I have a lot of high-waisted pants and I hate stuffing shirts in, and I like having tails out, so it’s completely functional.

Your bowtie isn’t so functional though.

It’s fashionably functional. It was my father’s – he is 68 and used to go to a lot of black-tie events but he obviously didn’t know how to tie them because this is a clip on.

Describe your style.

I dress based on mood. I’ll have an image in my head. Today I wanted to look like a 20s portrait – like a doll.

What about your colourful bag?

This is the only one I brought over from New York because I had to conserve space. It’s my happy 60s bag by Lulu Guinness – it goes with everything. The umbrella is from a drugstore, or pharmacy as you would say.

Do you spend a lot of time and energy shopping?

Yes, it’s a disease. Right now I’m trying to spend more time playing with my own things – redesigning them. When I shop I’ll be looking for something specific to complete a look that I have in my head, so I hate it when stores are pushy because I’m already in the zone.

Is this an everyday look for you?

Yes, but it changes a lot. Every time my hair gets long enough for me to change it, it gets cut. I’ve had every colour and every cut but right now, since I’m modelling, I have to keep it consistent.

Is there anyone whose dress sense you admire?

Not really. I think Audrey Hepburn is completely glamorous, but now you can’t have any American style icons because they’re all styled by someone else, so I’d be paying homage to the wrong person.

Do you apply those huge false eyelashes every day?

No, it’s just for this look. I’m scared of applying them every day because there was a time when I did but the adhesive stuck so well that it pulled out a few of my own eyelashes. That visual freaked me out, so I had to take a break for a few weeks. But I’m back on the wagon now.

Does this outfit give out any clues about your personality?

I think it does. It’s a hybrid that shows the different levels of my personality. It’s a little girl’s dress but in adult proportions, with a man’s tailoring aspect to it, and then with showgirl eyelashes.

What’s the most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought?

An Issey Miyake dress that was $1,600 (¬£810). The truth behind the dress – as degrading as it may be – is that I had lunch with my friend and we had a bottle of wine between us. Never go shopping drunk. It’s a fantastic piece, though, and I think of it as an art piece – there were only four dresses made like it. But I never told my mom what I’d really spent on it. I lied and said that I found it for, like, $400. I’ve worn it a lot of different ways and quite a few times, but I feel like some places don’t deserve to see that piece. You have to be really worthy for me to bring out my Issey Miyake dress.

She sounds to me like a gal with an eclectic style with a penchant for the past.  Nothing wrong with that… she’s also reminded me never to go shopping drunk…

37 Replies to “Brit Fay? No Brooklyn Fay…”

  1. Was really looking forward to some London pics on the Sartorialist (I love London fashion, but maybe that’s because I’m a londoner!)…I find a lot of his New York stuff a bit boring…dissapointed with his first pic of a guy in double breasted suit, hope he goes looking in the right places!

  2. i don’t think half a bottle of wine would have much effect on me, though i did once buy a hideous turqouise animal print dress at about 10am, still full of booze from the night before. wore it once. never again.
    anyway, i love her look. especially the socks.

  3. What an elegant lady. Just the right mix of whimsical and decided [I hate ‘throw-it-all-on-at -once’ fashion almost as much as I hate uninspired style]

  4. Well i do not like her look, but she’s a breath of fresh air in Sart’s blog.
    I get the feeling that he does not understand London, I have to say London it’s not really easy to capture, but Pictures in Saville Row, WTF, how clich√© and touristy is that?

  5. Ohhhhhhh it’s fay!! I used to go to school with her until she started to model and we all miss her so much. She walked the junior fashion show this year and last year and basically the designers who walk for her are super lucky. one time she wore the tights that had a screen print of a zipper and it totally reminded me of you susie! xxx

  6. I like her look, and I get that The Sartorialist’s commentspace is a democracy, but the ten bizillion snarking commentators (not that ALL of them snark, a lot are pretty nice about it) are part of the reason I never comment on that site any more- looking at those comments ruins the fun of the site just a little for me.
    Back to Fay, I love her ‘doll with androgynous twist’ look. She clearly knows what makes her happy when she’s wearing things…

  7. She’s so right about not being able to admire American movie stars because they are styled by someone else…it certainly leads to confusion on whether you like a person’s style or not.
    I really like her look and I’m glad to know her dress is self-made, because its my favorite part of the entire look and maybe when I finally get around to sewing I will use it as inspiration.

  8. i went shopping drunk last Xmas – my friends are always telling me to post the story but i just feel so silly and guilty about it. Never drink and purchase. xf

  9. Hahaha, the first Vivienne Westwood piece I ever bought, I bought in London, after a couple glasses of wine. It’s true about shopping drunk. .. you end up with wonderful things that you would never buy any other time because of the price tag.

  10. I too am often puzzled by the “nothing special” comments left on Sart. I do appreciate everyone having and sharing an opinion, but the “special” category seems to me to be so subjective as to not be worth discussing. Take issue with a cut, or colour, or combination, sure. But simply say something isn’t special?
    Also, we live in a time where to see someone doing something simply, but doing it well, may be enough for that day. And Sart shows this brilliantly.

  11. I love her androgynous, quirky look. I like the mix of the black and white with the colourful bag…I’ve never shopped drunk and after reading this, I will steer clear of any alcholic beverage before shopping!

  12. I do agree with Fay that it is hard to reference an American celeb as a style icon as most of them are tooo made-up.
    Where is the real in them anyways?

  13. great interview. shopping drunk does usually end up badly, but shopping drunk and ending up with Miyake? not so bad.

  14. I agree with d, I feel a bit frustrated not seeing the pic on the Guardian website. But thanks for showing us the itv!


  16. thats funny….I actually always read what they have to say before I scrutinize what their wearing. I feel more connected that way, if I read why they whore what, or where it’s from it gives more of an sense of personality instead of just glancing at it and thinking “well…not my taste” and moving on.

  17. Loved this picture when I saw it. so chic and stylish and put together! Love your blog check out mine if you get a chance 🙂

  18. when i first saw her picture, i thought: “whoa, she looks exactly like fay.” then i scrolled down and got excitied that it really was fay! she used to go to parsons, and i remember always admiring her quirky-cute outfits whenever i see her in the hallways

  19. Thanks for the interview – I haven’t read it at the Satoralist. It’s so interesting, to hear the reasons for “why wearing this or this single piece of clothing”.

  20. I don’t have a scanner unfortunately to scan the G2 centrefold…it is annoying that you can’t see the pic online on the Guardian site but the image the Sart took is pretty much the same as the one in G2…just with a better background.
    Wow…small world, so many ppl know this girl!

  21. Yeah, but the sartorialist (who was voted ass kisser of the year) didn’t publish the comments of the people who didn’t like this outfit. I know: I sent two.

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