My Life In Fashion: Kim Hersov
My Life In Fashion: Kim Hersov

My Life In Fashion: Kim Hersov

Whether it’s from her time working at American Vogue and NET-A-PORTER or consulting at Louis Vuitton or starting her own brand, it’s safe to say Kim Hersov is a well-respected name in the fashion business. While her illustrious career spans more than 20 years, it’s her eclectic approach to style and magpie-like eye for vintage that have also earnt her a loyal following on Instagram. Here, she talks us through her life in fashion.
By Elaine Lloyd Jones

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My earliest fashion memory is my grandmother giving me a pair of culottes, a peasant top and a pair of clogs. At the time, I thought it was amazing. She also gave me one of her old Saint Laurent dresses when I was in college – it was strapless, black and with a slash of fuchsia in it. I think I shortened it. It was simple but glamorous, and so different to what all the other kids were wearing – I loved it. Looking back, I think it was my grandmother who encouraged my love of fashion.

I’d describe my personal style as eclectic. Quite bohemian, but in a luxury way. When I first started out in this business, I was very into the 1960s and wore lots of those rigid silhouettes. Thankfully it didn’t last long, and I soon moved on to a softer aesthetic. Now I love the late 1960s, 1970s, and some of the style from the 1930s, too. As you grow up, I feel like you take little elements from lots of different people – I’ve certainly never been one to channel a single person or decade.

My career started a bit by accident. Originally, I wanted to go to law school, but I took what I thought was going to be a year out. During that time, I met a friend who was working at American Vogue, and they were looking for an assistant to the Market Editor. They called me in and I was fortunate enough to get the job. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.


You only regret what you don’t do so I’ve learnt to be fearless. Don’t be scared about making things happen.

I loved working at Vogue and in the magazine industry in general. I loved how multifaceted it was – just by being in the office, you were exposed to so many different parts of the industry. I was there for two years, then got married and moved to London. Then, I worked at Harper’s Bazaar, then I went to NET-A-PORTER. There, I did the film column, so I learnt how to work in front of the camera and was eventually asked by Louis Vuitton to do some filming for them. I went on to consult for Celine, when Michael Kors designed for the brand, and Ralph Lauren before co-founding an initiative with the British Fashion Council to fund mid-level designers. In 2013, I started a brand with Shon Randhawa which ended up being sold in 180 stores.

Again, I didn’t intend to start a brand, it just happened. I was consulting for a client who had an atelier in India, and wanted it to become more westernised. Natalie Kingham from MATCHESFASHION came to see the collection and said she loved it. The partnership grew from there. Talitha focused on hand embroidery because that’s what the artisans and craftsmen in New Delhi specialised in, but it was also a style that was very true to me. The brand took a lot of inspiration from vintage pieces, which was something I loved growing up. Obviously, Talitha Getty was another big influence on the brand, too.


My passion for vintage has made me realise you don’t need to spend a fortune to look incredible. It’s all about finding something unusual.

I’ve always loved vintage clothes. I'm from San Francisco, so I was surrounded by 60s and 70s influences growing up – as well as a lot of countercultures. Moving to London really helped me develop that interest further. The UK does vintage so well, especially on Portobello Road. Working in magazines, we were really aware of people like Virginia Bates, too. I just loved it and it became a part of the Talitha aesthetic as well as my own.

My favourite pieces in my wardrobe change all the time. I collect a lot, so my loves change. At the moment I’m obsessed with this Thea Porter velvet coat I found in a vintage shop – which was someone’s wedding outfit. It's a beautiful French vanilla colour and is quite dramatic with long bell sleeves. 

Some of my most treasured items include an old piece from my grandmother and an Oscar de la Renta jacket. It's black with a bit of gold, beaded and there’s just something about it I love. It’s a statement piece but it also has real sentimental value too.



One of my favourite brands is Sweethearts of The Rodeo. They do great – but expensive – boots, that are quite quirky. I love what Carmen is doing with Borgo De Nor, too – she’s a good friend. And Bella Freud does great suiting. I live in Issue Twelve's cords and shirts in the autumn months and have a burgundy blazer from the brand which is also great. For evening, I like 16Arlington, and Christopher Esber knit pieces are a recent discovery. I’ve always loved the eccentricity and Victoriana influences over at Preen, as well. They do pretty-meets-tough so well and I like the fact they’re an independent brand.

As I’ve said, I’m a collector of clothes which is how I came up with the idea for The Quaintrelle. Quaintrelle is an old English/French word meaning ‘the unconventional woman who lives a life of passion through her clothes’. It’s a vintage lifestyle concept store, so I'm curating collections as if it’s a brand but everything is pre-owned. I’ve just launched on Instagram – you can DM to buy the pieces now, but a website will follow in due course.

Most of my inspiration comes from meeting people, and just being out and about. Joan Burstein – Mrs B – was such an interesting woman, while Ruth and Tom Chapman from MATCHESFASHION are both close friends of mine. They are mentors in a way. Lucy, my editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Porter has been and continues to be an inspiration, and of course, NET-A-PORTER’s founder Natalie Massenet too. 


I dress according to my mood. In general, I’m quite spontaneous, so I’ll just see something hanging in front of me and build an outfit around that. There are no rules, anything goes – I love heels just as much as Birkenstocks. At the moment, I'm very into Amina Muaddi and Manolos. Gianvito Rossi also has some really pretty styles right now.

My most extravagant purchase was a Chanel belt. It doesn’t sound it, but this was when I was first working at American Vogue and I spent my entire pay check on it. It was so impractical, too, but I’m far more conservative nowadays. My passion for vintage has made me realise you don’t need to spend a fortune to look incredible. It’s all about finding something unusual – not something that costs a lot.

One of my most memorable fashion moments was attending The Met Gala in 2006. Roland Mouret made me a dress in a beautiful aquamarine blue with short cap sleeves and cut on the bias. I still have it. The theme was AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.

If I could give anyone in fashion some advice I would say don’t hold back. You only regret what you don’t do so I’ve learnt to be fearless. Don’t be scared about making things happen. Work ethic is really important, so put 100% into what you do, but be open-minded so you can take on as many opportunities as possible. Just say yes! Also, time goes by so fast, so seize the moment. 

Follow @KimHersov & @TheQuaintrelle_Official on Instagram.

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