Elena Fernandes



WHETHER it’s been striking a pose as an international model, working in Bollywood, or setting the red carpet on fire, Elena Fernandes is closely connected to fashion.

That super style has spilled over into her personal life and fashion choices that are inspiring a fast-growing list of admirers around the world.

Eastern Eye caught up with the jet-setting British beauty on a rare day off to raid her wardrobe, talk about her life in fashion and get some top tips…

My earliest memory of dressing up… isn’t so much a recollection, but a photo I’ve seen so many times of my brother and I dressed up as sailors (by my mum). Black skirt and a navy-style top with an afro. When I was eight, I remember being a nurse for Halloween. I wanted to be Batman, but my mum chose the nurse outfit.

Childhood memories connected to fashion… are very few! I was never a girlie girl, I think that’s because I have four brothers. So I always rocked the tomboy look, but I made it chic. Definitely rocking heroine chick from a young age!

An early memory of a favourite outfit is… connected to me going through a whole grunge gothic phase as I loved Avril Lavigne and had long black hair. But I like to think of it as a heroine chic look.

My first major photo modelling assignment was…with Vogue India. My agency called me in and I thought OMG I’ve done something wrong. I was so nervous and they were like ‘surprise!’ I was in shock and then we all screamed. I didn’t believe it was real even when I was on set. It sunk in only when the editorial came out four months later, as Vogue always shoot several months in advance. Even though I’ve shot for Vogue several times since, they and every other assignment I do, including films, always feels surreal.

My first catwalk show… was Lakme Fashion Week in India. It was a great opportunity because you get the chance to walk for so many talented designers. This is where relationships were formed, which led to campaigns and on-going shows. Walking Lakme was very nerve-wracking as it’s such a key event with the who’s who of fashion and Bollywood in attendance.

My most memorable catwalk show… has to be New York Fashion Week as I walked it among supermodels such as Lindsey Wixson, who I’ve always admired. I remember feeling I didn’t belong, because these girls next to me were ‘supers’. They were on the covers of French Vogue, but were by far the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Could definitely tick it off my bucket list.

My favourite red carpet look… has to be when I attended the prestigious Fashion Awards in London in association with River Island. It was the first time I officially walked the red carpet in London and was alongside the industry greats. When Pat McGrath comments on your look, I think that definitely made this red carpet look a favourite and most memorable.

A memorable fashion-related assignment… had to be my first editorial for Vogue India. I mean, Vogue is Vogue. It’s every model’s dream.

A memorable time dressing up in a designer outfit… was when I wore the collection from Zuhair Murad in Madrid. It was the couture collection and each piece was just beyond beautiful. It was literally what dreams are made of. Princess vibes for sure!

The outfits that dominate my wardrobe… are all generally very simple. Skinny jeans and T-shirts or shirts! I like keeping my look casual yet chic. Very French I would say. Previously a lot of black would dominate my wardrobe. I guess it was my go-to comfort colour, as like most women we like black as it makes us appear thinner. Recently though I’ve been embracing and rocking more colour.

My favourite fashion accessory… has to be a statement bag. The bag I use constantly is my Bvlgari. It was a birthday gift and by far my most regularly-used bag. It works for both day and night.

When it comes to the kind of clothes I most like wearing… I like keeping it simple. So definitely jeans with a shirt or shorts and a t-shirt! I like mixing it up with trainers or a heeled boot look and a classic coat. I keep accessories to a minimum with studs and a statement bag.

The designer outfits I love wearing… are by Indian designers such as Amit Aggarwal, Manish Malhotra and Rahul Mishra. But then I love mixing it up with Balmain or Chanel, and then with a sprinkling of Zara. Everything that I wear is generally mix and match depending on my mood and what I feel comfortable in.

The designer I would love to work with… is Daniel Lee. The collections he’s produced for Bottega Venetta are just beyond beautiful.

I feel that stylists… bring together fashion in ways that you may not have thought of. As it is their job to know what’s trending, what’s current, but also in their reach to new designers they have the ability to present options that you were not aware of. It’s, for this reason, I like working with stylists, but it’s still important to stress your likes and dislikes to them.

Always remember that… style is a reflection of you. Don’t use it to imitate someone else. It’s personal and should reflect your likes and comfort. Also, don’t allow sizes to affect your style. A silly measurement should not have the power to change your mood. Wear what feels right. There’s no such thing as being overdressed. Do you always.

Fashion to me is… a reflection of who you are and it should be personal. Don’t follow trends, channel whatever you want to channel.