Spotlight On: Polly Allen Mellen

 

POLLY MELLEN

In her ongoing Fashion Icons series at New York’s 92Y, Fern Mallis interviewed the icon to end all icons: Polly Allen Mellen.

While most folks outside of the fashion world might not have heard of her, Polly Mellen is a legend in the industry. The stylist responsible for some of fashion’s most indelible 20th-century images – Twiggy’s flower-power Vogue covers, Nastassja Kinski and the snake, Lisa Taylor in The Story of Ohhh…., Deborah Turbeville’s bathhouse shots – Polly started her career as a salesgirl and display designer at Lord & Taylor before going on to work as a sittings editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Allure.

She retired in 2001, after winning the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, to spend time with her beloved family, but is enjoying a mini comeback thanks to her inclusion in the new book, In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, and her appearance in the accompanying HBO documentary of the same name, in which she stars alongside Vogue fashion editors Babs Simpson, Tonne Goodman, and Grace Coddington.

On Wednesday night, the 88-year-old spitfire (who still skis, swims, hikes, gardens, and does Pilates every day) took to the stage in her trademark silver bob, black turtleneck, and sparkly Vera Wang trousers to talk about her days at Miss Porter’s School alongside classmates Gloria Vanderbilt and Jacqueline Bouvier, her reputation as a demanding boss (both Vera Wang and Joe Zee got their starts as Polly’s assistant), and her storied 60-year career working with Diana Vreeland and such legendary photographers as Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Arthur Elgort, and Bruce Weber. Here are the highlights.
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December 28, 2012

Five-Minute Pow-Wow: Sarah Schussheim Talks Little Black Dresses

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ELLE ASSISTANT EDITOR ON THE CLASSIC MUST-HAVE

ELLE: The Little Black Dress Boutique

ELLE’S Sarah Schussheim considers the little black dress the most important go-to piece in a woman’s wardrobe. With holiday party season inching dangerously closer, we’re thrilled to get her insider advice on the style staple she calls “sexy, empowering, and terrifically versatile all at the same time.”

Rue La La: Do you have a signature style you always find yourself gravitating towards?
Sarah: My go-to silhouettes are a black longsleeve wrap dress and a structured shift dress.

Rue La La: How do you judge if a dress is a score?
Sarah: A good rule of thumb is versatility - the perfect LBD can transition from casual to elegant and back again with a few little tweaks.
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November 18, 2010

ELLE Editor’s Selections: My Fashion Forecast

BY KATE DAVIDSON HUDSON, EXECUTIVE ACCESSORIES EDITOR AT ELLE

ELLE Editor's Selections

Summer Uniform
Summer requires an easy, go-to uniform. If I had to choose my top five must-haves of the season, I’d want a cross-body, pared-down messenger bag, a menswear belt, a pair of aviator sunglasses, an oversized gold watch, and a pair of utility booties. I’m thinking “utility” in terms of color this season, too - clothes and accessories in tones like beige, camel, army green, and grey look simple and effortless. Surf-inspired wear also feels fresh and fun for the summer months. Embrace tie-dyes or watercolor printed sandals - infusing color into your look feels right if it has more of sun-washed, surf aesthetic.
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July 5, 2010