What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I try to go back to sleep for at least 10 minutes, then I get my iPhone and I start checking emails and Instagrams from my bed. The fact that I don’t have to run to the office is the biggest delight. Then I fix myself a very large cup of Nescafé, and I start the day.
What is the last song you listened to?
It was something from Daft Punk while I was jogging. I like music but the only time I listen to it is when I go for a run. I prefer super dance and fun music because it stimulates me and keeps me going.
If you were a word today…which one would you be?
Atomic. Andrea, my husband, calls me Atomic J, because I’m kind of intense.
How would you describe your job to a child?
I would say that I am probably the luckiest person in the world because my job is going around and meeting interesting people, whom I talk to, and then I write about them. It’s the best job in the world. I get to discover someone’s world, especially in the creative field…like stylists, artists, designers, architects and fashion editors, and I learn about their creative processes. I find this completely fascinating and it also makes me feel that I’m getting an education in arts, culture and fashion that I never would have got in UC Berkley.
Which ingredient is a must for a “great article”?
The ingredient that cannot be missed is also my favourite part of an article: it is revealing something about people that has to do with their human part; how they live and interact in their own environment. That’s why I love to have a face to face interview. I want to see them, talk to them, see what they’re wearing, how they move, what they eat, the way they talk to their assistant, to their loved one, to their dog. And that’s the reason I don’t like to have phone interviews. I need to see that personal side to be able to bring out their uniqueness.
JJ, as I’ve always admired your style, I’d love to know…when fashion week is about to kick off, do you start doing your homework and prepare some outfits or do you just wait for it to arrive and dress how you feel, according to how the day goes?
I try so hard to do my homework, and I can’t do it. What happens is that I’m always on deadlines on six different articles just before fashion week starts and so I keep saying to myself “I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to wear in fashion week; I have to figure out what I’m going to wear in fashion week”, and maybe I’ll be able to pull out, like, three pairs of shoes and that’s about it. So what happens next is that I wake up on the morning of the show (that usually starts at 9:30), and then this mad race to get something together starts, and at that point it either totally works or it just completely doesn’t, and I’ve been on both sides of the coin… believe me. But actually I’m proud of myself because, since I’m a writer, and most writer cannot get themselves dressed, I feel that I’m doing an OK job with clothes.
What come to mind if I say Vintage?
Bliss. Things that were done 30, 40, 50 years ago make me happy. Objects or clothes that are unique because of the originality of their design, the material, and the fact that no-one has that specific item, makes them special.
What is the first piece of vintage you bought?
I started vintage shopping when I moved to New York in 1998 and I worked at Calvin Klein. None of us had any money so we would go to the Chelsea flea market on Saturdays and Sundays to find the most amazing things. The first piece of vintage I bought was a fabulous black velvet coat that had an enormous fox collar and, since I am from California where we don’t need or have fox collars, that, to me, was extremely exciting.
Is there a specific mood you need to be in for vintage hunting?
It’s a spontaneous mood. You can’t go with a programme, and that’s kind of difficult for me because I’m a type A personality. I like to have a plan, but actually it never works that way because it’s like magic. And that’s part of the joy of it, that you find something you never knew you were looking for. When you’re vintage hunting, you have to go, then wait and see what unfolds.
Which kind of food or drink represents you?
Oh my god! For me it’s any American dessert. If I have to go for one it’ll be a Magnolia Bakery cupcake; and for drinks, probably an Aperol spritz which lately has been kind of my summer drink.
What makes JJ happy?
So many things make me happy: an excellent yoga class; cooking dinner for twelve friends at my house, writing an awesome article that I can feel really proud of makes me super happy, and last but not least, my husband makes me so happy. He’s just the cutest thing and I feel so lucky to have found this crazy, special Italian person who loves me, and that’s why Milan slowly but surely is making me happy.
What makes JJ not so happy?
The thing that makes me unhappy is general disorganization, I don’t like inefficient people and places, I don’t like waiting in line and I really dislike it when people are telling me NO, when clearly anything can be done if you just put your mind to it.
What brought you to Milan?
What brought me to Milan is the biggest cliche: LOVE. And I say that because I feel that every foreign woman who lives in Milan moves here to follow an Italian man; like I did. What is not a cliche is that both you and I are still with our Italian man. That makes me feel shocked and proud at the same time, as we’ve been together – with Andrea – for twelve years since the day we met in N.Y.
If you were to write a book about JJ in Milan, what would the title be?
Well, in a really positive way it would be, “JJ, try not to strangle the City”. You know, sometimes I can get really frustrated with the city, coming from another culture, and all that, but as I said to you before, slowly but surely, Milan is making me happy.
It’s there anything you would never wear?
Well, there is. I’ve worn them and I’ve been photographed in them twice in my life, but I don’t like jeans. Because I don’t like what they stand for, meaning that I’m someone who likes to dress up specially, the way that people used to do in the past, where they actually took care, and so I feel like jeans became an easy excuse for not caring. Then, I feel that everyone wears them, so it doesn’t feel original at all. And also, they look terrible on me. So no jeans for JJ.