Gail Elliot hails from Balham, a little known and not particularly glamorous stretch of south London. At first I thought I’d read it wrong. Surely they meant Clapham? To be fair though, I haven’t visited Balham since the mid 90’s when I had a crush on Incognito’s saxophonist and managed to get an invitation to his barbeque. It ended in tears over a disappointing jalfrezi on Balham High Road with a sympathetic rastafarian called Slow Eddy. I wonder if Balham has blossomed since the rampant house price hikes and gentrification of some of London’s struggling suburbs in recent times. Like my London home town of Acton, Balham’s richness stemmed predominately from it’s cultural diversity and not from it’s architecture or historical tales per se.
Surprising in some ways then that such a glamourous icon of fashion had been begun her journey there. Elliot’s heritage is where it all starts to make sense. Her family’s origins are a heady mix of portuguese, english, anglo indian, scottish and irish. A gene pool to die for and a face fit for a Duran Duran video clip it would seem and this set her journey on the glittery path to model stardom. At 17 she moved to Tokyo for the first 2 years of her career where she learnt quickly keep her wits about her and she blossomed in her new found independence. This was followed by the big move to New York which resulted in 24 exciting years working with catwalk world dominators Marc Jacobs, Versace, Donna Karen, Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Prada, Dior, Calvin Klein and Gucci to name but a few.
Elliot has posed with effortless ease for many leading fashion photographers including Patrick Demarchlier, Arthur Elgort, Craig Mcdean, Peter Lindberg and Mario Testino. Her close and life long friendships with fellow top models Yasmin Le Bon and Cindy Crawford are well documented and both have loyally supported and endorsed her fashion label Little Joe Woman. Elliot met her husband, australian Jo Coffey whilst partying in Sydney with Helena Christensen and Michael Hutchence in the mid 90’s.
They later married in The Hamptons, New York in 1997 and then launched their elegant fashion label Little Joe in 2002. This devoted and powerful business duo reside in glorious Bondi with their beloved little dogs Biggie and Fletcher. The collections for Little Joe Woman are Spring Summer-Autumn Winter & Resort.
Elliot loves to work with contrasting materials and textures in her creations. Silk, cashmere, lace and fine cottons resulting in relaxed and versatile sophistication. Sexy, understated finery and romantic silhouettes with a hint of rock chic dominate her designs. Her current collection consists of soft, delicate hues, bold navy stripes and silky, muted camouflage prints.
Gail Elliot First crush? Tom Coleman. I was 12.
First kiss? Walking home from school.
First music you bought? David Bowie.
First disco outfit you wore? My younger sister’s satin jacket and pant suit!
Favourite teen magazine or book? Jinty Magazine (UK)
Who did you look up to as a teen? Blendina, my best friend’s older sister.
Describe your teen bedroom. I shared a room with my little sister. It was all blue with blue floral duvets.
Which era was the most stylish in terms of fashion? I love the way that I can dress today. Stylish, cool, the mix of leather, lace, cashmere and silk is very ‘rock chic’ and it makes me feel polished and with an elegant edge.
What is your inspiration for Little Joe designs? I take inspiration from my life, from everything around me. Travelling, people watching, movies, books all play a part.
Location Little Joe Woman, Paddington in Sydney. Many thanks to Gail, Joe, Tahlia, all the staff and photographer Simon Bernhardt. http://www.simonbernhardt.com/ Little Joe online http://littlejoeny.com/
Blast from the Past! Gail Elliot in the Duran Duran video clip View to a Kill.