A talented designer and illustrator, Elysia is one of the early supporters of 324 New York and a long-time friend. She also has the best life advice (see: last question of her interview). We met up in her Bushwick apartment to get ready with her before some drinks in the neighborhood.
Name: Elysia Berman
Occupation: Senior Designer at Refinery29
City/ Neighborhood? Bushwick, Brooklyn
What is going on these days?
Honestly, not a ton and I like it that way. It's the holiday season right now so lots of traveling to see family. It takes a lot out of me! I work a lot too during the week so in my down time I've really just been into reading and watching cooking shows at home with my dog Coco and boyfriend. It's way less boring than it sounds!
Do you have a ritual for getting ready?
I try to wake up at least an hour and a half before work to give myself some time to cook breakfast and make coffee. I need my mornings to feel sane. If I rush my routine, I feel off the whole day. I usually splash water on my face and put on a bit of concealer, brow gel, mascara, and lip balm. I've been really wash and go lately. I used to do these crazy makeup looks but I've grown out of that. If I'm going out at night sometimes I do a crazy makeup look but its usually one thing. Like JUST a red eye or lip and nothing else. And in terms of clothing, I am such an outfit planner. I love getting dressed so I usually take like 10-15 minutes every night to plan my outfit for the next day.
Describe your style in 2-3 words.
I'd say adventurous, emotional, and reformed-punk.
What is in your bag during the day?
Le Labo lip balm (my newest fav product for winter), my work ID, wallet/keys (they're connected), gum, phone, portable charger, headphones, dental floss (gotta stay healthy!), emergency red lipstick, a Jao hand sanitizer spray, Vichy facial water spray, and then a vintage pill box I keep emergency ibuprofen and vitamins in.
And at night?
Cigarettes (sorry Mom!!!), phone, wallet/keys, phone, lighter, lipstick, maybe a photo booth pic or two from the night.
Why did you pick your 324 bag?
I have two! I love the Midi in red because it's so versatile. It's perfect for day or night and I love the red color. I feel like it dresses up any outfit without feeling too fussy. It's just so ladylike! I also have the grommet strap in red to add a bit of edge. I got the black Box bag with the studded strap and pony hair flap because it feels so luxe and over the top. I actually never wore it plain until recently and I honestly love it simple as well. Lately I've even been carrying it without the strap and just by the top handle. It's so small and cute!!!
Right now I'm super into Laura Owens, Anne Vieux, Jesse Draxler, and Chloe Wise. There's a Laura Owens retrospective at the Whitney right now, definitely going next weekend! I also really love the designer Eike Koenig. I bought a print of his and it's a favorite of mine. Also this art director Eiko Ishioka. She did all the art direction for The Fall and a lot of Tarsem Singh's movies, which are super over the top and surreal. And Bram Stoker's Dracula. She won an Oscar for that!
Current theme song?
Breadandbutter by El Perro Del Mar, Grimes (any song, any album), Territory by The Blaze, Instantané by Paradis. I'm also going to Japan in a few months so J-pop has just been constantly on repeat.
What inspires you?
The biggest drive for me has always been and will likely always be fashion. It sounds so cliché but nothing speaks to me more. When I was young I didn't really understand it and thought it was really shallow and that I needed to be more esoteric and intellectual. I sort of shunned it for a while and just wore black and like, cut the labels out of my clothes. But that was because I thought fashion was like, Chanel and Burberry and I rejected it. It wasn't until the last few years that I've really leaned into it again and become inspired. Nothing makes me happier than walking into DSMNY and just seeing all the genius in there. I love Japanese design the most, like Sacai, Commes Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Noir Kei Ninomiya, and Issey Miyake. Rei Kawakubo is such a punk, I love her! I'm also really into architecture (my boyfriend went to architecture school) and I love Tadao Ando, Isamu Noguchi, and Shigeru Ban. Also, fragrance is a huge thing for me. I love the way scent can transform a space. I'm big into candles and perfumes.
How would you define creativity?
I think "creativity" is sort of BS. People talk about creativity like it's this thing you either have or don't have. "Creative Types" etc. I think everyone has the capacity for creativity, but it goes through ebbs and flows. What's important is staying open-minded and letting the ideas come to fruition, never saying no. Never growing up hahaha. Creativity is basically for me like, an inability to say no to your childish impulses. Stay open-minded, stay impulsive, and trust your gut.
Favorite place in the world?
I haven't been there yet but is it too soon to say Japan? Also, I really love my hometown of Philadelphia! It's a super beautiful city and it's experiencing a big renaissance right now. There are a lot of tacky elements there but it's so much more than just cheesesteaks and sports teams. We have such good shopping.
Anything else you want to add?
Life is short. Buy the dress.