Net-A-Porter Global Buying Director Elizabeth von der Goltz On Growing Up In Hong Kong
Some people may not know that you grew up in Hong Kong. Do you remember what was in style at the time?
My parents were really into shopping, whenever we went to Italy, my dad would get shirts made. I’ve always been obsessed with fashion. Joyce was one of my favourite stores—it really inspired me to look outside of designers you already know.
I went through different phases. When I was 11 or 12, it was all about Esprit; the miniskirts, oversized top and low-slung belt—very '80s. At some point, I had clip-on earrings, and a lot of neon, then I went through a Sloane Ranger phase with loafers, khakis and I would take my dad’s Turnbull and Asser shirts and his old Burberry trench and wear those. I just loved embracing new fashion and trends.
What’s something we should dig up from our mom's closet for the coming season?
Actually we should be taking from our father’s closet. Today, I’m wearing a shirt by Emma Willis who’s a men’s shirt maker. We should be taking things like our father's shirts, coats, trousers and paper-bag waist them. From mom’s closet, I borrow a lot of handbags and accessories, and the occassional dress.
You always look so polished. Do you ever have days where you get lazy?
I wore sneakers to the office last week, which is unusual. I love sneakers, but I used to work in a store and in those days, you weren't allowed to wear sneakers, so that’s always stuck in my mind.
Plus, Hong Kong as a city is just so dressed. It was just part of my upbringing and it took me a long time to even wear sneakers on the plane because you used to have to look nice on flights. My first season, I wore kitten heels on the Eurostar with all my fashion week luggage and I almost died. My team was like, “Wow we almost lost you in your first month on the job.”
What's one packing tip that you swear by?
If it’s a long trip, I keep everything on a hanger and I go from the longest piece to the shortest piece, keeping them all flat before I do one roll so things don’t wrinkle when I transfer them onto a rail at my destination. I’m not an organized person, but packing I have down.
You’re launching a sustainability initiative in June. Can you tell us about that and how can shoppers can balance trends with dressing sustainably?
We came up with the pillars of sustainability and we’ve spent a lot of time vetting each brand. I think as you buy new you should bring in more from your own wardrobe. We call it “wardrobe wellness,” which is selecting those great timeless pieces you can wear over and over, then reworking them and styling them differently to freshen up your wardrobe.
There are now more brands you can also turn to for sustainable fashion. I love the hippie style but I used to say, “I don’t want it to look like hummus,” which is that very earthy vibe. Now there can buy super-chic sustainable clothing made from recycled plastics. The brands on our sustainability list, you can see which pillars they check off so you can shop based on your values.
You came here with the four latest Vanguard designers of this season. Can you tell us how they were selected?
Every time we choose a designer, we look for something signature of theirs, a part of their DNA that you know will continue. It’s about longevity, because we want to help establish their roots and grow them into a brand that lasts forever. The most important designers in the world have a signature style.
And where do you usually discover these brands?
We go to every fashion week. Last season we found amazing things in Tbilisi. It’s about having your eyes and ears to the ground. We’d stop people on the street sometimes and ask where something was from. Instagram has been huge—a lot of brands just launch on Instagram like Peter Do, and we’d direct message them. The team goes deep.