Elle Strauss looks like a smaller, blonder version of Heather Graham circa Swingers. Head-turningly pretty yet completely approachable, she has that kind of warm, down to earth manner that you look for in a good friend. Her Brit-infused charm is totally infectious and spending the morning with her is as much fun we’ve had since teenage slumber parties.
With a resume that reads like the who’s who of publishing (we’re talking ELLE UK, i-D and cult British fashion title The Face), the native Londoner made the move to New York City in 2007 with then-boyfriend and now-husband, photographer James Dimmock.
So how does a gritty Londoner dive into the ultra-groomed, fast-paced NYC set? “Londoners are definitely more casual and low key – less blow outs and mani/pedis, more like chipped nails and messy bed hair but in a cool way. New Yorkers definitely felt more glam when I first arrived, but now I see them more as fearless. They wear and dress exactly as they want to, it’s quite liberating.”
Elle’s own sense of personal style falls somewhere in the middle. Feminine with a rock ‘n roll edge, her fashion oeuvre reads as Isabel Marant by way of New York City. Think ankle boots, skinny jeans and immaculately tailored blazers paired with feminine textures and delicate fabrics (lace is a standout favourite), bold prints and ladylike silhouettes.
And she’s as much a sucker for beauty as she is for clothes, revealing an encyclopedic product obsession that she’s had to rein in slightly now her gorgeous daughter, Honor, is four and leaves her mum with minimal time for hardcore preening. “Typically it’s a very fast beauty routine as I’m trying to hustle a 4 year old out of the house and make it to school on time! It also includes a lot of dry shampoo!”
As for her big skincare tip?
“I clean my face morning and evening with La Mer or Dermalogica cleansing wash, [then] apply an eye cream and serum and moisturiser all by La Mer.” She admits that the notoriously extravagant beauty brand is “an indulgence, but totally worth it.”
As advocates go, La Mer could do worse: Elle has the flawless skin that normal mortals crave. Despite this lack of visible flaws she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
She’s fun, hilarious and more than happy to wax indelicate on any topic – from the insanity of New York dating to pregnancy to Mariah Carey – nothing is off limits. And she doesn’t hesitate when asked what’s most important to her in life:
“My family. Once you have a little one in your life everything has perspective.”
There’s a mythical archetype in fashion that isn’t exactly inaccurate: the editor-type who carries around an air of superiority with their armfuls of gifted couture. We’re not saying they’re everywhere but they definitely exist.
Elle Strauss couldn’t veer further from that trope.
Photographed by Rudy Zverina.
Words by Susannah Tucker.