As part of our An interview with... series, we will be speaking with captains of industry, business leaders and self-made entrepreneurs, all with compelling stories and unique insights. Each month, we'll look to individuals who are pulling the strings behind the scenes of some of the world's most prestigious and innovative luxury brands, member's bars, financial institutions, fashion houses, publishers, broadcasters and start-ups.
First off, we sat down with Maurice Mullen - Head of fashion & luxury at the London Evening Standard and ES Magazine, and a prominent figure in fashion publishing for nearly thirty years - who offered us style advice and insights on his life, in between business trips to some of the world’s most celebrated capitals.
Maurice was shot in the DAKS 10 Old Bond St store, wearing one of our double breasted limited edition check Jeremy-Travis suits. Photo by Emma Saunders
Three words to define your style?
Disciplined. Detailed. Distinctive!
How do choose a suit and What do you look for in tailoring?
For me a suit needs to enhance the wearer (you should be wearing it…not the other way round). Good construction and fine fabrics are key but remember, as with so much else in life, you get what you pay for so be prepared to invest.
Styling tips for this winter season ahead.
Don’t be afraid of colour and if you’re dressing formally, buy a proper overcoat. Too much beautiful menswear is ruined by an inappropriately casual top layer.
"Don’t be afraid of colour and if you’re dressing formally, buy a proper overcoat"
What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
My late father’s wristwatch and signet ring, and a vintage silk waistcoat which belonged to the bandleader, Victor Silvester.
What do you wear to work?
I’m suited, booted and wearing a shirt and tie every day. Old habits die hard...
What are your top 3 tips for dressing for the office?
I’m going to avoid the old cliché about not dressing for the job you have, but dressing for the job you want, and instead recommend looking professional and taking care of the details.
What's your best working memory?
In the 80’s there was corporate spending on a scale unimaginable in these days of austerity. Long lunches, private flights, extravagant press gifts and lavish hotel accommodation were all part of the package, but would now be considered shameless bribery! New launches are always good fun as you have the chance to write your own rule book and I’m quite proud that (with one exception) the ones I’ve worked on have all survived.
"Private flights, extravagant press gifts and lavish hotel accommodation were all part of the package, but would now be considered shameless bribery!"
What's the hardest decision you've had to take in business?
Abandoning a legal career for which I’d trained for years to relocate to London in the mid-80’s and embrace a new life in media. It turned out to be a smart move but more from good luck than good judgement, and I’m not sure I’d have the courage to do it now.
do you have any restaurant, pub or bar recommendations?
You can’t beat a Martini at Duke’s Hotel followed by something simple but perfectly executed by Corbin & King in any of their fine establishments.
What's the one thing life has taught you?
The saddest phrase in the English language is if only… so embrace change and take advantage of every opportunity when they present themselves and, if you’re going to do it, do it well.
"The saddest phrase in the English language is if only
…take advantage of every opportunity"
3 tips for being successful in business?
Surround yourself with a like-minded team, be collaborative and remember that no one, including you, is indispensable.
Challenges for publishing/print and how to counter them?
Simplistic though it may sound I believe there’ll always be a market for entertaining informative journalism regardless of how it’s consumed. For this reason we describe our operation nowadays as ‘platform-agnostic’ in other words we don’t mind whether people are accessing our products on tablet or desktop or mobile or in traditional newspaper & magazine formats. The important thing is that they’re continuing to engage with our content.
The huge shift in the media landscape and where do you see it going?
Predicting where media is going is (mercifully) above my pay grade but I certainly don’t buy the tired old ‘death of print’ argument. I’ve been hearing that one for the last twenty-five years when the reality is that print is in rude health.
How does the culture at Evening Standard differ from other organisations?
The Standard has undergone huge changes in the last ten years and in doing so has become much lighter on its feet and far more receptive to innovation. This is impressive in any organisation but in one founded in 1827 it’s little short of miraculous!
What is the worst job you have ever had?
During my student days I had a summer job as a night porter in a less-than-salubrious hotel in Marble Arch. The best bit was making small talk with ‘working girls’ over cups of tea. Honestly, the stories I heard…
Toughest/most important speech/presentation you have had to give?
Delivering a eulogy is always a challenge.
"Conversely rolling hills, quiet countryside and sandy beaches all bore me to tears"
Where do you go/what do you do to unwind?
European city breaks are my indulgence and my job function means that I’m lucky to be able to combine these with work trips. I find the buzz and dynamism of fast-moving city life energising and, in the words of Ms. Minnelli, "I won’t breath nothing I can’t see" (Conversely rolling hills, quiet countryside and sandy beaches all bore me to tears)
Favourite holiday memory?
2001 New York on Concorde : Broadway shows, great restaurants, serious retail therapy & virtually no sleep.…perfect!
Where in London do you live? What is your favourite thing about where you live in London?
I live in EC1 near what has come to be known as the ‘Silicone Roundabout’ on account of the number of internet start-ups in the area. It’s a vibrant area and on the weekends there are traffic jams at 1.00am so it suits me fine.
3 tips for being happy in life?
A healthy sense of humour; a consciousness that it could all end sooner than you think….and a boarding pass.
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