Negotiating fashion week? To help you sort your Haider from your Helmut, we caught up with front-row regular and style editor Geoff Cooper, founder of fashion agency and online magazine, Sagaboi, which explores men’s fashion and lifestyle through a diverse lens.
How did you leap from bucolic Caribbean childhood to fashion-week mainstay?
I grew up in a Caribbean village in the south of Trinidad to a multi-ethnic family: a mishmash of African, Indian and Latino heritage. From a young age, I was exposed to a range of cultural festivals, Easter, Eid, Diwali, Orisha – I had to do it all. And then, as a kid, a trip to New York City ignited my fashion gene. You’d find me dressing up in both parent’s clothes, and also styling my mum. Veering into fashion was really natural – as was getting a job at the United Nations. Later, while working for Goldman Sachs, I began attending fashion shows and writing about them for magazines – with a lot of photographers snapping me outside shows – and it just took off from there. After a stint as editor-in-chief at GCaribbean, I decided to go global with my own outlet, Sagaboi.
Fashion Week is typically spread across a city. How do you choose where to stay?
The rule of thumb is a place that’s in the centre of it all and walking distance to most shows. In the age of social media, it’s imperative to find accommodation that’s well lit and has surroundings fit for selfies and outfit-of-the-day shots. A perfect example is my recent stay at Hotel National des Arts & Métiers: a sublime boutique hotel, really near the shows, with some of the best food in Paris. It has the chicest, art-infused interiors – perfect for any content creator trying to capture visually arresting photos.
What are your tips for successful outfit changes in the city?
Plan every look well in advance. People sometimes assume we style editors only opine – in truth, I’m more like a fashion stylist. When planning a shoot, we call in all the clothes early and meticulously arrange every outfit according to the story, location, scene and weather. For fashion week, you are sometimes changing more than three times a day, which calls for pre-planning.
Show invites are getting stranger and stranger. What’s the weirdest you’ve had?
You get the craziest invitations in womenswear, but I once got an apron from Yohji Yamamoto with all the show details printed on it. I was tempted to wear it to the show…
You so should have. What about street-style photographers? What tips do you have for being stopped by them?
Be effortlessly and undeniably stylish. Style is something everyone has. Irrespective of your choice, street style photographers see style from far away and if you dress in a manner that transmits confidence, you will be stopped – even if you’re not dressed in designer clothing. However, street style is a business, with photos sold to the media and magazines featuring on-trend fashion – so it helps if you are wearing something on trend, designer or not. And if it’s a hype piece from a hype brand, even better.
So, who throws the wildest fashion week parties?
Hands down Milan. For this past season, Dsquared2 took the crown. In London, no men’s party has topped the Moët fashion-week party from a few years back. For women’s, the title has to go to British Vogue. At Sagaboi, we threw our wildest party last summer with Ciroc at MNKY HSE.
And finally, with all that partying, what’s the best fashion-week hangover cure?
I tend to drink a tonne of water while drinking alcohol and then I drink even more at the end of the night, so I can honestly say I don’t get a hangover. If you are going to play hard after working hard, do it smartly. Fashion week is fun but it’s hard work, too, and you have to be sensible. Get in, get out and get up the next day without a hitch – that’s the goal.
For more fashion-week style tips, cast a look at the world’s best-dressed hotels.