Gail Elliott and Lana Ogilvie were two of the biggest models of the 1990s, sharing the runways with Cindy, Linda, and Christy. Today, they’ve turned into entrepreneurs, launching their own businesses in the fashion and beauty world. The Daily caught up with these two icons to find out more.
What are some of the highlights of your modeling career?
There are too many to mention! Walking Gianni and Donatella Versace’s runway show when Cindy [Crawford], Christy [Turlington], and Linda [Evangelista] walked the last passage to George Michael’s “Freedom” track was particularly amazing. Myself and all the other models were literally screaming with excitement backstage while watching on the TV monitors and waiting to join the others on stage for the show’s finale. Gianni and Donatella were hugging each other and crying with joy. It really was an iconic moment in fashion.
What was your all-time favorite photo shoot?
I don’t have just one. The Gianni Versace campaign with Bruce Weber, the Italian Vogue cover with Hiro, American Vogue with Steven Meisel, the Valentino campaign with Helmut Newton, and many more!
What do people ask you the most about your modeling days?
Did you get to keep the clothes?
Who are you still in touch with from those years?
My best girlfriends from the late ’80s and early ’90s were Cindy Crawford, Yasmin Le Bon, and Helena Christensen. They were also my bridesmaids when my husband, Joe Coffey, who is also co-founder and CEO of our clothing brand Little Joe Woman, and I were married 23 years ago. Cindy, Yassy, and Helena are still my besties.
How do you describe the Little Joe Woman brand?
I would say that it’s feminine, subtly sexy, and rock-chic. Our customer is a woman who loves to travel and likes to look elegant with an edge. Just like me.
Why was the line called Little Joe Woman?
We started the brand with six silk slip dresses and six silk camisoles in six colors and named it Little Joe, after my husband. It started small, kind of like “our baby” Little Joe. As we grew, people thought we were a kids’ brand, so we modified it to Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott.
How involved are you in the design?
I design for myself and what I feel I’d like to be wearing; as the creative director, I’m very involved in the design of every category in our collections. I can’t actually sketch or draw on the computer, so I have someone to do that for me. I do every fitting, and we actually fit on me, so I get to see how everything feels on my body. I didn’t go to a fashion college but had the best learning experience working with all the international designers—everyone from Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano to Hermès, Marc Jacobs, and Tom Ford over the 24 years I worked as a model based in New York.
What are your favorite pieces to wear?
I love wearing dresses because I find them so easy to throw on, feel polished, and ready to go. At the moment, we sell via our own website, littlejoewoman.com, and ship via DHL worldwide.
What are some of your most memorable moments from your modeling days?
The traveling and photo shoots I did on location. The people also, but the trips were amazing. I did a shoot for John Galliano’s first campaign, and I was swimming with dolphins. I did a shoot for British Vogue for a week in Morocco, and we traveled to different parts of the country. I was riding a camel and eating in tents with Bedouins.
What is your all-time favorite shoot?
I have to say swimming with dolphins, by myself with no trainer and three dolphins. That’s hard to top!
You were the first black model to sign a multi-year contract with CoverGirl. What did that mean at the time?
At the time it was considered groundbreaking. Although CoverGirl had shot ads with ethnic women, they had never committed to putting someone under contract. It was also the first time a major company like that was running ads in all publications as opposed to having the ads with ethnic women only in ethnic magazines. I had solo ads across all magazines.
When did you start the Lana Ogilvie skincare line?
I officially launched last September. This has been something I’ve been looking into for 15 years. All the products are available online at lanaogilvieskincare.com, also sanctuairelife.com and marjanibeauty.com.
What made you want to create something like this?
My skin has been the foundation of my career as a beauty model. This is how I get paid! I have eczema and am allergic to synthetic fragrance and dyes, so I need products that don’t cause more trauma to my skin. My line is natural and 70 percent organic. I’m Canadian, so I worked with a Canadian lab on the products.
What’s your philosophy on skincare?
For me, it’s all about the skin! Quality is paramount. You should use natural, organic products and be diligent in your daily skincare habits. You don’t need a big routine, but you do need to cleanse morning and night. And use sunscreen!
You also have a jewelry line. How long has Sabre Jewelry been around, and what’s the vibe of the line?
We started it in 2014. The vibe of the line is organic and handmade. A lot of the pieces look as though the metal was rolled by hand. I love the idea of the almost unfinished quality of some of the pieces; they’re not perfect. Like nature, one item might resemble another, but as they are handmade, they all have their imperfections making them more individual.
The Little Joe Woman and Lana Ogilvie Cosmetics online showrooms at Coterie Digital are accessible to retail buyers only. Explore their collections and view their discussions with Coterie president Colleen Sherin by visiting HERE for buyer access.