Teen Vogue's Amy Astley


by Mallory Passuite, 08/24/2011

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Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour recruited then–beauty editor Amy Astley to lead a new venture in 2002: Teen Vogue. The editor has run Teen Vogue ever since, and with the magazine's third-annual Fashion's Night Out (FNO) block party and New York Fashion Week around the corner, the benevolent blonde with bangs took a moment to speak with us about the magazine's FNO plans with Sky Ferreira, her favorite season in the City and why she's proud of New York designers.

Teen Vogue has hosted a Fashion's Night Out block party every year so far. Do you have a favorite memory?
Amy Astley:
Taylor Momsen was a great performer on year one. She was really fun, loud, crazy, controversial. She was wearing a white men’s shirt with no visible pants and garters and stockings. Everyone was kind of shocked by her, but it was fun. And last year we had V.V. Brown, who’s incredible. She sang “Shark in the Water,” and every girl in the crowd sang along. It just had a great spirit.

What are your plans this year? Tell me about the block party.
AA: We have this tradition of having music—I think it’s the best way to make people feel happy and festive. You can’t have a party without music. So we have Sky Ferreira, who’s a hot, young performer, and she’s doing an acoustic set. I'm really excited about her.

We're also doing manicures with the nail artist Elle Gerstein. And we've collaborated with Vans. Three of our editors made custom Vans sneakers that will be available in a pop-up shop in a very limited edition of the collection: just 120 pairs per style, and they're really cute. And we’ll have an iced-tea drink bar and a Willy Wonka candy giveaway.

What about in your free time—what are your favorite spots in the City?
AA: My favorite place in the City is probably Physique 57. It’s a gym class. And it somewhat satisfies the former ballerina dancer in me. You stand at a ballet barre, and it’s a really hard workout. You’ll see New Yorkers in there—you might see Kelly Ripa, Christy Turlington, Zooey Deschanel, Parker Posey—but it’s basically just regular New Yorkers and a really good workout. 

With my kids and dogs, I love to walk on the West Side Highway. I live in TriBeCa. I think more Condé Nast people will discover, when we move downtown [from the company’s current Times Square headquarters to the new One World Trade Center], how beautiful it is down there.

To eat…there’s a place in TriBeCa called Smith & Mills that’s great for drinks and food. As for places to shop, well, I go to Kirna Zabête in SoHo. They’re really nice, have a good, curated collection and are very personal in their service.

Which is your favorite season in NYC, and what do you love about that time of year? 
AA: I love summer. I know it’s hot, but the kids are out of school—that grueling schedule gets a little break, and the City really quiets down. And I love that. It feels like a different New York to me. I just love to have that little break to be with my kids. But fall is great, too. New York is a fashion city. It’s back-to-school season. Everybody thinks about shopping, and we have such incredible shopping. I still love uptown shopping at stores like Bergdorf and Barneys. Barneys has an amazing selection of Alaïa.

What excites you about fashion in New York now?
AA: We have the most incredible designers, I think, of any city there is. I really do. They’re really supported here, and I think a lot of that has come from Vogue and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and all of the other initiatives that the CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America] supports. The designers really need it. It’s hard to start a fashion business for a million and one reasons.

I’m proud of the young designers who’ve come out of New York. I’m wearing Proenza Schouler right now—this Proenza jacket [a black and white, geometric batik patterned flyaway jacket] and Proenza underneath. I remember their first capsule collection that Barneys bought. But it’s not just them. There are so many other stories in New York. Phil Crangi is another, a jewelry designer. I think I met him 20 years ago. He wasn’t working in fashion, but he was an incredibly creative person. I’m not surprised he’s become such a successful jeweler. 

I think New York just has an energy and a support system for young artists and young designers that’s really unparalleled. There’s such a lot of talent. New York has a lot to be proud of: the Garment Center and the efforts to save it; the young designers; the old designers [laughs]. I mean, I’m not calling anyone elderly, but we have some incredible, established names. Look at Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera. I wear them all. And the young ones are incredible. Look at Phillip Lim and Alex Wang. Oh my God. I am impressed. And Jason Wu. Their businesses just keep exploding, even in such a tough time. It’s proof that you can make it, and that there’s a customer out there. They’re making things people want.

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Physique 57
    161 Avenue of the Americas
    Multiple Locations
  2. 2
    Smith & Mills
    71 North Moore St
    Manhattan – TriBeCa
    NY 10013
  3. 3
    Kirna Zabête
    477 Broome St.
    Manhattan – SoHo
  1. 4
    Barneys New York
    660 Madison Ave
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10021
  2. 5
    Ralph Lauren
    867 Madison Ave
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
  3. 6
    Marc Jacobs
    163 Mercer St
    Manhattan – SoHo
  1. 7
    Michael Kors
    101 Prince St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10012

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