Christine Centenera Discusses Kanye West’s DONDA Fam, Lana Del Rey And Why She’ll Never Work With Josh Goot

After using our time at Australian Vogue Fashion’s Night Out to shop drink copious amounts of champagne and quiz Editor-in-Chief Edwina McCaan about gifts, GIFs and the internet, Pedestrian snatched five minutes with senior fashion editor and card carrying DONDA member Christine Centenera to discuss October cover star Lana Del Rey, being part of Kanye West’s DONDA family and why she’ll never work with Josh Goot (and why that’s a good thing).

Considering this is a retail focused event, what’s on your shopping hit list? Shoes are on that list whether it’s Christmas, birthdays or any other kind of day. It’s quite demented really. If I had all the money in the world I’ve see some amazing jewellery from Tiffany and Canturi that I wouldn’t mind.

What’s something that’s excited you retail-wise this year? Well it’s funny, Josh (Goot) my partner is opening a store tomorrow so in the last twelve months I’ve been traveling and he’s been traveling and I’ve taken more notice of retail spaces. And the space that’s been most interesting to me has been the Balenciaga store in Paris which opened about three months ago. It’s a converted gas station on Rue Saint-Honoré and it’s amazing. His mix of high tech details with different textures and how the clothes are lit, it’s a different way of thinking about retail concepts and spaces.

With both you and Josh involved in the fashion industry does it ever stop? Oh yeah! It stops all the time. Josh and I don’t really talk about fashion. Josh is so good at what he does and is so engrossed by it but he’s not your typical fashion person. He thinks I’m the biggest victim (laughs) and he doesn’t really buy into it so much. He loves it, he loves creating clothes but he’s not a crazy fashion person per se. It’s funny considering our professions because I think it’s rubbed off on me too. We’ve been together for five or six years now so I was like that before but I think he’s slowly changing me. I mean, we don’t work together, we keep that separate. We tried that once actually. I styled a show for him about four years ago in London and we almost broke up (laughs). We actually had to sleep in different hotels because he’s one of those people who, come midnight, really comes alive and wants to work through to all hours of the morning whereas I’m much more of a structure orientated person. So we don’t really work or collaborate together which I think is healthy and we don’t really sit there and talk about fashion. We couldn’t think of anything worse.

Tell us about the new role at Vogue. Obviously you helped launched Miss Vogue which skews to a younger more web savvy audience than your typical Vogue reader. Did you know what you wanted to do coming in and where do you see it going over the next five years? I guess I’d been at BAZAAR for ten years so I really felt like moving away from magazines, and when this whole opportunity came up it wasn’t something where I would necessarily jump ship for the same role. It is this contract you have with a brand that is creating content for print, which is still the primary thing we do, but also creating content for online. And it’s such a different world and it’s been such a challenge. The Miss Vogue demographic is mid to late 20s whereas Vogue the magazine is 30 and upwards so we have the opportunity to be a little looser with what we do which is exciting. It’s multi-tiered. I want to make beautiful images but I also want to support the Australian fashion industry. Obviously I have a vested interest, I have a boyfriend who works in Australian fashion and a lot of my good friends do too and I know how hard it is for them, so I want to help create a platform which has a sense of immediacy and which showcases how much great talent we have here. You know, the magazine is so aspirational and all those beautiful things so the main point of Miss Vogue is to be a but looser, more immediate and more attainable for what will probably be a slightly younger audience.

What’s something new that you’ve learned about digital media? I shot a story recently that had animated GIFs, so the whole layering of files, the whole process of shooting in that way as opposed to one frame when you work in print which is so much less complicated. There have been a lot of new words and terminologies that I’ve had to learn pretty quickly.

Can you tell us about styling Lana Del Rey? She was very particular which is good. She was working on this album and she was inspired by American poets so I got an email direct from her months ago when I first started working at Vogue saying I would like to be portrayed as Sylvia Plath. That was our starting point. She didn’t want it to be a full fashion shoot and like I said she was very particular. I got emails saying I want to be shot in this room with political figures hung on the wall and white curtains and the sea in the background and all these things, so she was very particular and I respect that. If I was being shot I would have a very strong direction of how I would like to be seen. She was super interesting and sweet but also direct and strong and you can see how her success stems from knowing exactly how she wants to be perceived. She’s very self-aware in that way.

And what you working on for the rest of the year? I’m going to the shows on Wednesday. I’m working with Dion Lee and then I’m going to Milan and Paris and I’m still consulting with Ksubi and with Kanye West. A whole bunch of things. But the main focus for the next couple of weeks is the shows and then I want to be in Australia for the summer and try to not leave.

In what capacity do you work with Kanye? I style his shows which is kind of off the back of consulting on his collections. So we met in Paris about 18 months ago and he was starting this line and I would fly into Paris and consult like I do with Ksubi, like I do with Dion. You work with everyone in a different way but with him I guess he likes my sensibility when it comes to fashion. So I started by consulting and by the end of both those two seasons I started styling his shows. It’s great because he’s constantly changing, he’s not someone who has a formula. Every trip would be different. I’d be in a leather factory one time, next I’d be choosing zips, next I’d be doing looks on a model it was all very different and it’s exciting to work with someone who is that passionate.

So you’re in the DONDA family? I’m totally in the DONDA family (laughs).

Photo by Caroline McCredie via Getty.