The Fashion Show: T Lo Interviews Haven
Hey Haven, It was so nice to meet you at the finale taping. You looked amazing, your hair looked so different. We almost didn’t recognize you from afar.
It was so nice to meet you, both of you. Well, thank you, I used less hair spray this time [laughs].
We always say that the designers look so much better when we meet them in person without all the stress and running around during the shoot.
I know, I told my mom, “My God, I look so old on TV. She was just, “You’re scowling all the time!” My mom said that I constantly made this face “What do we have to do that for?” the entire time.
Do you guys have enough time to get dressed, shower and all that or is it always crazy in the morning?
I always make time for that, probably too much time, but I always made sure that I got up and had enough time to get ready. We were up and at the studio by 6 o’clock most mornings, I think. So, if I wanted to do anything, I was up by 4.
Where did you study fashion, Haven?
I studied at FIDM, I’m in Los Angeles, at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise.
Have you always loved fashion?
Yes, I’ve always been interested in fashion. Since I was a little girl, it’s been my number one thing I’ve been interested in, what I’m going to wear. Probably when I was 22, 23, I thought that I wanted to be a hippie, it was a small moment in time; it was mainly because I was interested in this guy, but I started making clothes, like these hippie clothes. When I would go on those, you know how they have, like all those music tours, like Phish or what not, I would sell some of the clothing and I didn’t realize how good the sundresses actually were, and one day I just started re-engineering clothing. I would go to stores and reconstruct the clothing and it became an obsession. I loved it so much and said to myself “OK, I need to get myself into school because this is what I love doing.”
You also worked as a stylist for the Chelsea Lately Show.
Yes, I worked for them as a stylist and I still do some freelance styling and that’s something I absolutely love. I’ve always wanted to be a stylist. I just love dressing people up…dolls, people, myself, and that’s what I probably love most. I would even say, and I hate to say this, but I kind of like it more than designing. I think I’m better at it too.
Which one do you think it’s more difficult, styling or designing?
I would say designing is more difficult, but styling takes a completely different person too. I don’t think all designers are that great at putting together an outfit. I know plenty of designers who are brilliant at designing but they can’t put together an outfit necessarily. I think I’m really good at it. I wouldn’t say that I’m the greatest designer, I know that. I know I wasn’t the greatest designer on the show. I love styling and I have a ton of fun, it’s like me being a little girl playing dress-up. You also have to know what works for a certain body type. What works for Kelly Rowland, it’s not going to work for Nicole Richie.
In the last episode there was a lot of talk about knowing fashion history. How important do you think it is for the designers to know fashion history?
You know, I actually didn’t know that Pucci was “Prince of Prints” and I feel really bad about that. I think it’s so important we know about the history, that’s where you get your influences from. That’s one of the biggest problems that I had with the way that I went out. I understood that was my time to go. Yves Saint Laurent is the most influential designer in my career; I absolutely love his work. I’ve been inspired by him for so long. It’s pretty obvious by the way that I dress, so I hated that I wasn’t able to give a good example of his work; that really hurt my heart. It is really important that you know who came before you.
What do you think exactly went wrong with your design? It was refreshing to watch you admit that you weren’t happy with the end result as opposed to making excuses about what you did.
You know what I think? I think maybe the stress was getting to me. I think I was also intimidated by the people that I was left in the competition with. Everyone is so great at construction; I think I was still intimidated by that. On top of that, I was very excited to have YSL, but when we go to the fabric room we only have 30 minutes to consider what fabric we are going to use, the color…and I picked the wrong color, I really did, and when I put them together I was really uninspired. As I was walking out of the fabric room, after they had already cut my fabric, I saw this black and green and white and I was saying to myself “Why didn’t I get these colors?” and it just got lost somewhere. I just lost the inspiration, in my head it was one thing and in the execution it wasn’t translated. I wanted to do this look that was very reminiscent of what he did in the 80s with the shoulder pads, which is something I love, and it just didn’t work out for me. I think it would’ve made a difference if I had done black instead of the brown.
We were reading Reco’s blog and in it he says that you whispered in his ear “You better win. Don’t trust anyone because this is a competition.” We didn’t get to see that on the show.
You know what? Someone else told me that and that’s absolutely untrue. I don’t usually talk badly about anybody, and when I do, they know it, that’s just the way that I am. If I have something to say you’re going to hear it from my mouth. I absolutely never said that to him. We were talking up there and he was discussing the way he felt about a few people and I said to him that it was competition and in a situation like that you’re not going to get the real person’s personality.
I was trying to explain to him that the people sitting down there were very good, especially the other three people that were my close friends and that he didn’t like at the time, Johnny, Anna, and Daniella. I know for a fact that those three people are amazing good people. I think maybe he misunderstood what I was saying. No, I actually feel that I left the competition with some of the greatest friends I’ll have in my life. I evolved from that competition and I never said that…don’t trust anyone? I don’t even believe in that. No, I have no problem saying that I absolutely never said that.
It sounds like he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
Yeah, I do think so. It really hurts my feelings because Reco and I are originally from the same hometown. I’m from Chattanooga, Tennessee, so when I found out that he was from that hometown there was an instant camaraderie there.
Reco is hilarious. It hurts me when I found out by watching the show how much he was talking about people, it really hurt me, because I wanted so much to have a good relationship with him. It’s so much fun being around him because he’s so funny and I do still care about Reco and I love him. I think he wanted to win this competition so badly that maybe he got things confused, maybe he thought that the people were out to get him. I’m not really sure, maybe this was his one only chance to get out there. Yeah, I think he rubbed some people the wrong way and that’s a shame. Outside of this show, I know we’ll be friends, but it did hurt my feelings some of the things he said not only about me but about anybody.
After that embarrassing malfunction on the runway during the finale taping*, we turned to one of the designers and said that we felt badly for Reco, and this designer – we’re not going to say who – said “Well, what goes around comes around.”
Well, you learn a lesson and this is the way that I feel. I feel that being on the show, I won. Things happen because they’re supposed to and you’re supposed to learn from it whatever you do. I was supposed to leave when I did. For Reco, maybe that was a situation that will teach him to be humble or to not assume that people are out there to get him. He’s going to learn from this. I do believe that what goes around comes around whether it’s good or bad. It forces you to look at the way you’ve been acting.
It seems that you got along really well with Anna and Daniella.
Oh, my God, yes, yes. I love those girls, they’re great. I got along with them very well. I was so inspired by them. I was so happy with their collections and they’re so totally different. I love those girls so much and anyone who thinks that Daniella is a bitch got it wrong. She’s such a kind girl. I think maybe her tone comes across the wrong way. She’s so talented. And Anna is the shit. She’s one of the funniest girls I’ve ever met. She has some of the funniest one-liners, you don’t see that on the show. And I love Johnny too.
You mentioned that you think that Anna is going to win. We really liked her collection. It looked very well made, wearable and salable.
I think it’s going to come down to Anna and Daniella. I just don’t know. It comes down to who people like, what people are wearing right now, I would love to have every piece in both collections, no doubt about it. Also, this is a show, so it comes down to who people enjoy watching. Daniella is this crazy creative unique being. She really has her own thing going and she’s very young, she could do a lot of things with the prize money. Anna’s been working for so long, she’s done every angle of the job. I’ll be happy if either one of them wins.
Now, back to you, what is it about the ’80s that fascinates you so much?
Maybe it’s because I had a really beautiful mother, she was one of these amazing women; her hair, the way she dressed, you know when you’re little – at least for me – my parents were my heroes. I think there was a lot of influence just watching them get ready and how stylish they were.
Also, I’m obsessed with Dynasty, I love Krystle Jennings, played by Linda Evans. I love glamour. It’s a different part of the ’80s, I love. A lot of people are into the punk, but I’m into the glamorous ’80s. I love Flashdance, which is not so much glamour and shoulder pads. Michael Jackson, who unfortunately recently died, the shorter pants, the gloves, the jackets. It’s a little costume-y and it allows people to do their own thing, to be a little rebellious. Blondie, I love Debbie Harry, the Talking Heads, you know what? Everything. I just love the ’80s. My favorite movie: The Legend of Billie Jean…Pat Benatar…I could go on for hours.
It was a great time for power dressing, especially for women, with the shoulder pads and attitude.
Totally, and that’s the reason why I love YSL so much. He totally got that. It allows women to be sexy, but also having so much strength; to show your individuality.
Is it where your inspiration mostly comes from, the ’80s?
I would say always. You know how there’s always an era that’s a little more your style. I think you can always pull off the ’80s. A part of it, I think, it’s always in style.
We know you sell your designs in several stores in the U.S. and you also have a new line called Lalu coming out. Tell us a little about that.
We have a line, it’s called EliaH Joel, but now we’re changing the name to just Haven and Joel, because there’s only two of us now. I don’t really see me going straight to the pages of Vogue or anything like that. I enjoy making dresses that girls can wear on dates or to the club; really cute, flattering dresses that you can accessorize with.
That’s what I enjoy doing, that’s what Haven and Joel do. And I’ll always be styling, I enjoy it too much to stop, it’s just too much fun for me. Lalu is a little bug, this little character and the clothes are based around this character of the book, her name is Lalu, and that’s going to be little girls’ clothing, six to nine years old. I have a very child-like imagination, and you know, they always say do what you love, and I love it, it’s one of those thing that comes to me.
What else is next for Haven?
Who really knows? I just hope to be successful at what I love, that’s basically what I hope to be. I think I found what I want to do and I just want to go with that. I know it’s sound a little cliché, but my number one goal it’s just to have a good time. I’m a big believer in sharing good, positive energy, and love.
We have to say, Haven, you’re so much more interesting than the person we saw on the show and we’re so glad we got to meet you and spend some time chatting with you.
Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. It was so nice to meet you guys too.