Jo Ellison

Jo Ellison illustration 1
Jo Ellison and Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Hyères Fashion Festival, photographed by Sandra Semburg
09/05/2019 - Tagwalk
Jo Ellison joined the Financial Times as associate editor in 2014. Her sharp eye, her impressive culture and her direct opinions on fashion and the industry are renowned by all, as well as her impeccable style.

This year, she was part of the jury of the  Hyères Fashion Festival, presided by Natacha Ramsay-Levi, the creative director of Chloé and also Jury for the Chanel Prix des Métiers d'Art.

Whilst you go through the process of selecting the designers, what are the 3 main attributes you look for?

A point of view, technical skill and taste


Do you check a designer’s social media when going through the process of selection ?

I didn’t. I thought it more fair to give them the three platforms of the festival itself - the presentation, show and the workshop - to give us a representation of their “brand” and what they are doing. Also. In the case of Hyeres, the designers are often not long out of college, and so a certain amount of anonymity makes for a more level playing field.


What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received you could give?

“Shut up and listen”. With the caveat that this is especially relevant if you’re a journalist - doing an interview. Quite a good life skill as well though.


What’s one quality you look for in young talents?

Isn’t that the same as the first question? I guess more generally, an enthusiasm and passion for their chosen field, a willingness to take on a challenge, and a receptiveness to feedback. I sometimes argue with other writers about the role of the editor - but in my experience very very few things aren’t improved by the editing process and a bit of stress testing


Describe the Festival of Hyères in 3 words:

Idiosyncratic, charming and French


Which city or place or country inspires you the most?

No one place. I like to be inspired by new and different environments.

But you know where I very rarely find inspiration? Sitting at a desk.


What do you listen to when travelling ?

Radio 4. Sorry. I’m very very old.


Your favorite movie?

The worst question!!!! Look away Woody Allen haters because Annie Hall remains an absolute favourite. Plus Hannah and her sisters, Husbands and wives, Broadway Danny Rose and Manhattan. If this has to be pc - then Rear Window, a film about a pervert peeping tom. And the Bourne trilogy. But ONLY the first three. Best.Films. Ever.


This year, Chanel has dedicated a prize for the Métiers d’Art. What aspects were required to choose the winner ?

The designer had to work with and challenge the saviour faire of whichever metier they were appointed to. Which was pretty varied - from feathers, to bag making, to embroidery to millinery etc etc. The winner, I think, had to demonstrate a couturier’s obsession with construction, while also delivering an object of desire. Quite hard when you’re trying to present the experts of all experts with the mandate to hone a new craftsmanship skill