Meeting Mary Charteris in London's Sanderson Hotel is like meeting an acquaintance's little sister. You think you know her from somewhere, but you can't quite place it.
This makes sense, since the 23-year-old first shot to fame when Isabella Blow claimed she was the latest face of fashion (she was fifteen at the time). Her aunt, Daphne Guinness, took her to a few fashion shows in Paris. She studied art in school, and met / fell for a guy in a big rock band. (They're still together.) And now she's one of Louis Vuitton's new "It Girls," posing with Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Josephine de la Baume in their jewelry campaign.
Thanks to that, she's no longer a "Wait, where do I know you from?" kind of girl, at least not in fashion circles. But there are still so many questions...
Mary! You came into the NYLON office once. Did you ever live in New York? I wish! I grew up in England; I've never completely left.
In the country? No, right in London, but we're so close to the countryside here, everyone grows up there, too. I think all American girls have these visions of their British alter egos riding horses to ballet lessons or something. But I went to a day school in London. I never took a pony there or anything. I studied classical civilization and art and ethics. I thought classical civilization was fascinating, but I don't really get to think about it too much in my every day life. Too many things from school don't make sense in real life, do they? If I stopped and thought about what Freud would do in every situation I'm in, I don't think that would actually help me.
The ends of your hair are bright pink, and so are everybody's this season. Is it a trend? It's so weird, because I didn't know anyone was doing it, and I got it done at my boyfriend's place! Now that everyone's doing it, I'm being lame-o and I just keep dying more of it pink. I have a feeling it'll be all pink in a few months.
Like Jem and the Holograms? What is that?! That sounds awesome!
It's a cartoon band from the '80s. They were on Saturday morning cartoons in America. They were awesome. Jem and the Holograms? That's a really good name for a band. Are you sure they weren't real?
Not yet. Maybe you should convince someone to make a Jem movie, and you can star in it. Except I'm not an actress. Everyone thinks I'm an actress but no, I'm not. I just did a tiny part in a film by a friend and it was so much fun, it's this BBC movie called Candy. My friend Kiandra Parks was directing it and she asked me. It was fun, so maybe one day, but I really want to be a designer.
What would you make? I'd like to do a range of bikinis and have each of my friends design one, as well, and have them sold as a set. Maybe we can just dye them pink with the same stuff as my hair. But have you ever heard of Pistol Panties? It's English, there's a shop in Portabello and she prints stuff on her bikinis, like pictures of gems all over them, and rainbows all over them. They're so tacky but they're so cool. It's the same vibe as We Are Handsome but tackier. Which i think makes it better. I wouldn't mind if my bikinis were tacky.
What are you obsessed with right now? I'm obsessed with Jeffrey Campbell shoes! You can't get them in England! They have these hippie chunky rainbow platforms and they are nowhere in this country.
Did you get to steal the shoes you wore in the Vuitton campaign? I wish. I didn't even recognize myself in the Louis Vuitton campaign. It was such a beautiful shot, I was really floored by it.
Under your name, it says, "Mary Charteris - Aristocrat." Did you know that would be in the ads? Not at all! I got a little bit upset about that, I have to say. I guess it could be worse, maybe if they were like, "Mary Charteris, Village Bicycle..." But it looks like I said it, doesn't it? And I wasn't like, "Oh yeah, I'm an aristocrat." That would be so embarrassing; I promise you I didn't say that.
Well, we're American - except for like, Prince William, we don't know about aristocrats. Are you one, really? I don't really know! I'm not sure if I am. I guess, maybe? I need to look at the definition, exactly.
What are you doing later today? I have no idea, but I hope it involves chocolate.