Filipa Fino on Launching Her Own Site, Leaving Vogue, and Why Accessories Are King


FIlipa Fino

Photo courtesy of FIlipa Fino

Filipa Fino opens up about her new venture: FinoFile.com

Filipa Fino made fashion waves in June when it was announced she was leaving Vogue after 11 years.

The now-former Senior Accessories Editor was a front-row fixture, seated with her fellow Vogue-ettes. So, why would she leave the mothership?

Tongues wagged, gossip spread, but this was no salacious story in the making, no Devil Wears Prada moment.

Fino had decided to transition from print to the Web with her own site—FinoFile.com.

The accessories-focused destination launches in February, but eager readers can get a taste of it now with Fino's Holiday Gift Guide.

If you've missed her dispatches on Vogue.com—and really, who hasn't?—this should tide you over until early next year. And in case you're wondering, Filipa is still a front-row fixture. 

Fino sat down with FashionEtc to talk about her new site, life after Vogue (it exists!), and why those "extras" are the most important part of an outfit.

Congratulations on launching the Gift Guide! How has your switch to the Web world been?

The Web is a fascinating world. I call it the "Wild West." It is all so new and exciting. There are no limits to the possibilities, and the range of people it reaches is enormous. I hadn't realized the power of viral information until I started this project. I truly believe it is the future of publishing.

Last we spoke you weren't quite tweeting. Have you delved into it yet?

I'm embracing it. I started at Vogue and have a great group of followers. But I must admit it is not instinctive yet, like to some people. I still have to think about what I am going to say and sometimes I can't believe people are interested in the banal details I report. I guess that is part of the fun of tweeting. You really feel like you know those you follow.

How would you describe your post-Vogue life?

I was at Vogue for a long time. I loved working there, and I am thankful for the amazing experience and all of the great talent I worked with. But I really felt that the publishing world was changing and that I wanted to be part of this revolution on my own terms. When you work at Vogue, it becomes your life. You sort of join a very fashionable, very alluring cult. But you sometimes forget that there is a whole other world out there that is drumming to a different beat.

I am now the orchestrator of my life. I have more time with my kids, I am open to things that I had ignored for a long time. It's a great feeling to be in control and to have your dreams come to fruition. I have never been happier.

Your new site focuses on accessories. Why did you decide to do such a specific site?

My site is about fashion seen through the eyes of accessories. It is my expertise. It is my point of view. When everyone else at a show is "ooh aahing" about the gorgeous gown, I'm obsessing over the shoe! I look at that first. It is what I am drawn to. The actual dress is a supplement. I think a lot of people share that love of accessories, and they often shop the accessory as the fashion addition to their wardrobe. After all, everyone has a black dress that goes with everything.

FinoFile.com

Photo courtesy of FIlipa Fino

A sneak peek at FinoFile.com's Holiday Gift Guide, which makes a very stylish statement.

Why did you decide to move to the Web and what other sites have inspired you?

When I started directing the accessories content at Vogue.com, I was bitten by the cyber bug. It amazed me that in a short time my voice on the Web was so influential. People would thank me for suggesting a bag they just bought, shoes I featured in my guides would sell out immediately, everyone wanted to know what I was wearing, where I shopped ... I had never really realized the power of my voice. I was also fascinated that my assistants and interns didn't read print, yet they were up to date on everything. I have always been a very ambitious student. I hate "not knowing," so I started exploring the internet. Soon I was doing a lot of my shopping on Amazon.com and other sites. It was easy and practical. Then, Lonny Magazine launched and I loved the format. I thought that it was genius to read a magazine online the same way you read it in print. I foresaw my future and here I am.

Did you find there were limitations to working in print?

Working in print is a long process that involves a lot of players with a lot of talents coming together under one vision. There is the editorial staff, the art department, photography, production, post production, printing etc. ... It takes about three months to produce an issue. Time is the biggest limitation because it takes those three months to get information out to our readers. The power of the internet is that it is immediate—the NOW. Things happen and instantaneously they are reported and images uploaded. It is very hard for print to compete with that.

Do you miss print?

I still enjoy physically opening an issue and flipping through the pages, but the minute I put the magazine in my tote and have to carry it, the allure sort of diminishes. ... Those September and March issues are killer.

Who are you working with for Fino File?

Thus far I have a small team of very talented programmers, that I can not live without. I also have a team of designers that worked for many years with Raul Martinez and Alex Gonzalez at AR media. And I must say that I have very talented friends who have been so helpful and inspirational.

How tech-savvy were you before you decided to start the site?

I must admit that I was somewhat tech-inept, as many of my co-workers will attest. But I am stubborn and an overachiever, so I would have people teach me. I would sit there and take notes of the most obvious technical directions and I would practice and ask many, many stupid questions ... but today I can say that I am way more savvy than most of my generation.

What is it about accessories that you love so much?

It's the magic of the "extra" that makes the "perfect" and that can actually change the entire outfit. Accessories transform; they are verbs; they do things. That to me is very powerful. A black dress is a black dress but when you add some fabulous heels and a great belt, it has "wow" power.

What's the one accessory you can't live without?

Two things: my gold wedding band and my Tiffany Peretti diamond studs. I have had the earrings since I was 8. I actually lost one and had to have a second replacement made. I was devastated.

FinoFile.com

Photo courtesy of FIlipa Fino

Filipa Fino dazzles with her soon-launch site, FinoFile.com. Just look at her super-shiny Holiday Gift Guide.

What designers are on your radar these days?

I have to say that I am very inspired by street fashion these days. I love what Olivier is doing for Theyskens. I love Zara and J.Crew. I am obsessed with Uniqlo ... the best cashmeres EVER! But then again I am a hardcore Balenciaga, Celine, Givenchy and Proenza fan. I also cannot live without my Narciso cocktail dresses. I just love mixing it all up. I feel that is what is fresh and modern.

What's on your personal holiday wish list?

I am always happy when my husband visits Fred Leighton.

Any personal holiday accessory must-haves?

I'm loving gold for the holidays—gold shoes, gold bags, gold jewelry, gold fashion.

Accessory advice for those working the holiday party circuit?

This season is about the earring, the sharp stiletto, and the minaudière. Wear them with everything, everywhere and you are set.

Best investment piece of the season?

A pair of Tom Ford evening heels. They are to die for.

Earliest accessory memory?

I saved up to buy my first Cartier Santos watch. I was 8 when I started saving and 12 when I finally bought the watch. I saved every penny from my allowance and from any "travel" money my grandmother would give me. When I entered the Cartier store in Madrid, I presented the saleswoman with French francs, lira, pounds, escudos, pesetas, dollars, marcs ... In Europe, each country still had its own currency and it never occurred to me that I would have to exchange the money. The watch had gone up in price $3,000 pesetas, which at the time was a lot. My grandfather made up for the difference. I still wear that watch on special occasions and I hope to give it to my daughter some day.

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