Gail Elliott, Designer and Model

With smouldering looks, long, lithe legs and an enviable physique, it’s no wonder Gail Elliott was a force in the modelling world during the 1980s and 90s. Hailing from the epoch of the ‘Supers’ (she counts fellow supermodels Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon as besties), Gail has been captured by legendary photographers; Mario Testino, Steven Meisel and Helmut Newton. Fast forward to today, where the model turned designer has brought her wisdom from the fashion industry into her eponymous womenswear brand, Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott, for which she is Co-founder and Creative Director.

We sat down the striking yet softly spoken Gail in Sydney’s Paddington, discussing her luxurious fashion label, her beauty staples and her thoughts on ageing.

 
strike a pose; the former model is a natural in front of the camera  

strike a pose; the former model is a natural in front of the camera  

“I modelled in the late 1980s and 1990s….

and was extremely fortunate to have had a long and successful career based in New York for 24 years. I worked with all the most talented photographers, stylists, magazine editors, magazines, hair and make up people, models and fashion designers in the USA, Europe and around the world at that time. Working with these incredibly talented people, taught me about clothing, fit, colour, style and design. 

 

I began to feel a need to express my learnings, fashion thoughts and feelings creatively

My first designs were very simple and consisted of six silk slips and six camisoles in six colours – pieces I wanted to wear and couldn’t find in stores at the time, that worked with my hectic travel schedule. They were easy to pack and made me feel good and so, Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott, a contemporary women’s fashion brand was born. We have a boutique at The Intersection on Glenmore Road in Paddington, an online boutique, selected Myer department stores nationally and have just opened our first Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott boutique in Asia on Jalan Petitenget, Seminak in Bali, so are living between Sydney and Bali, which we are so excited about.

gail wearing one of her designs 

gail wearing one of her designs 

 
a touch of tom ford and a little joe candle

a touch of tom ford and a little joe candle

I like to look and feel clean and fresh

I don’t wear much make up except if I’m being photographed or going to an event and even then, I only like strong eyes and eyebrows, a little Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer to cover any pink areas, no foundation and a pale Nars Belle Du Jour lip. I don’t use under-eye concealer and like that ‘Italian Vogue’ slightly dark and interesting under-eye look. I love to have freshly washed hair, a shiny straight blow-dry, clean glowing skin for everyday. 

 

I brush my eyebrows or use a clear gel to open up the eyes and keep them looking groomed

I use a creamy coloured eye liner pencil in the rims of my eyes to open up my eyes and make the whites look whiter and healthy. I also wear Maybelline mascara, MAC brown eyeshadow on my eyebrows applied with a little angular brush and have a massive range of lip glosses – all in various shades of beige and nude! YSL, Tom Ford, MAC, Dior, By Terry, Lancome and Model Co, who I’ve just collaborated with on a Little Joe Woman LOVES Model Co set of two lip glosses and a black mascara gift set with packaging in one of our signature leopard prints.

nude delights; gail favours a muted, earthy palette when it comes to makeup 

nude delights; gail favours a muted, earthy palette when it comes to makeup 

 
a balenciaga bag, heady scents and stilettos

a balenciaga bag, heady scents and stilettos

My personal style is a little luxe rock-chic

I love simple, cool, elegant pieces and prefer quality over quantity. I’m most comfortable in a pair of black stretch leather pants, a silk button down men’s style shirt, a silk blazer and a pair of Acne ‘Pistol’ boots. I wear my own Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott label of leather, lace, silk, fringe and cashmere or my vintage Azzedine Alaia and Chanel. I also love my Chrome Hearts leather jackets. I have a good collection of shoes and handbags. Some of my favourite accessories brands are Gianvito Rossi and Christian Louboutin for shoes and Balenciaga, Chanel and Hermes for handbags.

 

My daily beauty routine is rather simple whether I’m in Sydney, Bali or travelling

In the morning I cleanse with YSL Forever Light Creator toning lotion – I’ve never used tap water to cleanse my face.  If I’ve been flying or my skin’s feeling dry, I’ll use Ultraceuticals Ultimate B1 Hydrating Serum. If I know I’ll be walking or in the sun, I’ll use Ultraceuticals SPF 30+ Daily Moisturiser. At night I’ll remove eye makeup with Nivea Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, cleanse my face again with YSL toner and apply Aspect Exfol L 15 which is an alpha hydroxy acid serum to keep my skin smooth, Aspect Eyelift 3 which is a daytime eye cream and Aspect Photostat 9 which is a night face, eye and neck all-in-one emulsion followed by Ultraceuticals Ultimate B1 Hydrating Serum.

an array of aspect products 

an array of aspect products 

 
the beautiful designer in her own label

the beautiful designer in her own label

I love the way dry shampoo gives my hair texture and plumps up the crown of my head…

I use Klorane Dry Shampoo or Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo. I have slightly wavy hair so of course prefer a sleek, shiny blow-dry when in a city as this makes me feel polished, confident and professional. 

 

In Bali, my hair and I are in a constant battle because it’s humid…

So it gets wavy, which my husband loves but I don’t! I wash and condition with Aveda products that I was luckily introduced to in a fashion show gift bag. I use the Dry Remedy line of shampoo, conditioner are great and sometimes I apply their  moisturising mask and leave it on when I’m at the pool. When my hair’s looking dry, I spray a little Kevin Murphy Natural Resort Spray, which is a texturising spray to give it a natural beach look.  I also use the Aveda Pure Abundance style prep, which smells great.  

gail does rock 'n' roll chic effortlessly 

gail does rock 'n' roll chic effortlessly 

 
best foot forward; giuseppe zanotti heels

best foot forward; giuseppe zanotti heels

I have a gel manicure and regular pedicure every two or three weeks…

As I like having groomed fingers and toes. I go to Bella Nails in Double Bay when in Sydney or Think Pink Nails in Bali. I get my hair coloured by George at Rizk on Glenmore Road, Paddington when I’m in Sydney – which is right next door to my boutique and at Rob Peetoom Salon when I’m in Bali.

 

I don’t mind aging at all and feel better now than I did in my twenties

I’m stronger, more confident, am comfortable with the way I look and know my strengths. At seventeen years of age I started my modelling career so from then on, I was always conscious of taking care of my skin correctly, eating well and the benefits of drinking water.

gail is both glamorous and relaxed

gail is both glamorous and relaxed

 
gail swears by the super elixir

gail swears by the super elixir

I do Pilates twice a week…

Swim a few laps in the pool whenever I can and walk to the beach and back a couple of times a week. I’ve been taking The Super Elixir, a highly specialized alkalized greens daily supplement powder with vitamins, minerals and trace elements by Elle Macpherson and Wellco, since it launched and have been enjoying its benefits. I like to relax with a great book, magazines, in the bath, by the pool, on the daybed, cooking with a glass of wine, on an airplane and watching my favourite TV series with my husband and our dogs, curled up on the sofa.”

 

Story by Chrisanthi Kaliviotis. Photography by Myles Pritchard. Makeup and Hair by Gail Elliot.