Monday, January 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023
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Cover Story

Shopping with a Super Model

My day with Erin Wasson, in which we discuss fashion, her career, and how shopping in Dallas is a full-contact sport.
By Stephanie Quadri |
UNCHAIN MY HEART: Wasson was shot in her favorite Dallas neighborhood, Exposition Park, wearing clothes and accessories she designed. RVCA leather and cotton spandex jersey top ($250) and RVCA cut-off shorts with studded waistband ($285) available at rcva.com.

Although she has spent six years as the face of Maybeline cosmetics, Erin Wasson is much more than a pretty face. The Irving-born beauty, 26, made the list of Forbes’ “Most Entrepreneurial Supermodels” in July.

Wasson got her start in Dallas by winning a modeling contest in 1997. Since then, she has graced the covers of magazines like Allure and Vogue; walked the runways of Milan, New York, and Paris; been a central image in ad campaigns for Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Tiffany & Co., H&M, and The Gap; and recently served as the stylist for friend and designer Alexander Wang’s spring and fall 2008 collections. Now Wasson is designing her own line of jewelry, LowLuv, as well as teaming up with California-based lifestyle brand RVCA to launch a capsule collection of womenswear in spring 2009.

She has a place in New York, but California is a big part of her life these days. Wasson spends her free time with her boyfriend of six years, Johan Esbensen, aka “Yo” (founder of the clothing company Rogue Status), at their Venice Beach bungalow, reading books in the backyard and cooking fresh foods from the local farmer’s market. The rest of the time, the fashion icon (known for her eccentric, lowkey style) jets around the world, living her dreams and pursuing her passions.

LowLuv silver and diamond body chain (price by request at V.O.D.). 

Her big-league pedigree could make our pre-arranged day of shopping a real ordeal, but Wasson’s down-to-earth manner (not to mention her salty language) puts any fear to rest. We meet at Taco Diner in the West Village, where she munches on chips and salsa and a taco salad, sans meat. Her mother, Chris Wasson, and her publicist, Josh Goldfarb, join us. A group of girls recognize her from Crockett Middle School, and they cheerfully reminisce. No big egos here. She seems happy to be back in North Texas, if only for a brief time.

“When people in the industry ask me about growing up in Texas, I always ask them if they have ever been to Dallas,” Wasson says. “If they say they haven’t, I just tell them, go see it for yourself. You’ve got to see it to believe it. Oh, and don’t forget to bring extra luggage, because shopping is a full-on contact sport.”

With that, we’re off to prove her right.

FIRST STOP: Urban Flower/Grange Hall

4445 Travis St., No. 101. 214-443-0600

Wasson at Urban Flower/Grange Hal.

Why she likes it:

“I just think he [owner Jeffrey Lee] does a really good job of buying quirky things. I like the whole sort of Goth vibe that’s going on. Anytime you need a gift, this is the best store.”

Favorite finds:

Gabriella Kiss silver bone bracelet ($880)—“I love taxidermy and all things weird.”

David Simpson shadow boxes ($500-$600)—“I have one of these at home.”

Nymphenburg Porcelain Neptune sea horse figure ($4,289)—“I am massively obsessed with horses.”

George Sellers (local artist) hoofed plaster console topped with black glass (price upon request)—“I would keep the base and put a piece of marble on the top.”

Shop talk:

As we are leaving, Wasson spots a book she wants to get for her friend Alex (aka Alexander Wang). So I ask if she will continue to style his shows. “Not this season,” she says. “It was a one-time thing. We came to a decision together. I kind of felt like I was oddly taking some thunder away from him. Every time there was an article, it was always ‘Erin and Alex.’ We had two great seasons, and I thought it would be good for him to work with another stylist with a different perspective. He has to grow as a designer. I still get to do the jewelry and be a part of the creative process. Alex gave me such an awesome opportunity.”

 

WIGGING OUT: (top) Jacques Le Corre sheep hair hat ($1,980) and (bottom) Givenchy “Sacca” bag.

SECOND STOP: Forty Five Ten 4510 McKinney Ave. 214-559-4510

Why she likes it:

“I always find an interesting piece of jewelry here. That’s my obsession. They always stock good scents and candles, and great shoes.”

Favorite finds:

Givenchy “Sacca” bag ($1,495)—“It’s really simple and not too deep, so when you open it, you can actually see what’s inside. It’s a really good shape.”
Crystal necklace ($2,100) and jewelry by Dean Harris—“I really like all that organic and earthy stuff.”
Ugo Cacciatori long chain drop earrings ($490).

Shop talk:

“I’ve always messed around with making jewelry. The body chains [which Erin is wearing underneath her black tank] came into culmination when I was working with Alex and using my own jewelry to style his shows. Alex was like, ‘Erin you really should just do your own jewelry line.’ It just takes somebody to put a fire under your ass like that to give you the motivation to do it.”
The collection is made up of luxe mixed metal cable chains, which Wasson crafts into wearable works of art. The body chain, which is meant to be worn underneath clothing, has already become a big hit with stars (Rihanna) and fashionistas alike. “I think the mystery of it is very sexy,” Wasson says.

 

  
SMOKING HOT: (left) Erin getting serious about hats; (right) a selection of vintage ashtrays at Dolly Python.


THIRD STOP: Dolly Python

1916 N. Haskell Ave. 214-887-3434

Why she likes it:

“Anything you could ever imagine is in this store. Gretchen Frizzell digs and does all the hard work for you, and it’s all displayed so nicely. You always find something kooky and interesting here. It’s like a treasure chest.”

Favorite finds:

Local prison art—“I have a crucifix made of matches that I got here.”

Fur headpiece ($10)—“When you dig and find something that you pay 10 bucks for, it’s the most gratifying thing in the world.”

 Embroidered horse picture ($14)—“In New York, at my apartment, I’ve got a massive wall that’s turned into this growing collage. I’m always looking for things to add to that wall.”

Vintage ashtrays—“I have tons of them.”

Shop talk:

Wasson seems completely at ease in this small, funky East Dallas store. It matches well with her edgy, laid-back style—which is what led to her collaboration with the sportswear line RVCA. Erin Wasson for RVCA will embody her signature, effortlessly chic design and edge, while keeping it accessible. “I am so excited about taking what people have embraced about my style and sharing it with cool, confident girls,” Wasson says.


MAD HATTER: (top) browsing the racks at V.O.D.; (bottom) House of MacGregor fedora.

FOURTH STOP: V.O.D. 2418 Victory Park Ln. 214-754-0644

Why she likes it:

She’s good friends with owner Jackie Bolin, but that’s not the only reason she loves the store.

 
“They carry all of these amazing brands that no one in Dallas has. She put brands on the map for shoppers in Dallas. She has a really good eye for up-and-coming, smaller lines that are hard to find, even in New York and LA.”

Favorite finds:

Cassie MacGregor “Art of Giving” fedora ($150)—The hat was part of a limited-edition collection Cassie created to raise money for Dallas Contemporary.

Alexander Wang clutch in cobalt ($625)—“This bag rocks.”

Shop talk:

“I am a total nut about accessories,” she says. “Of course I love jewelry, shoes, and bags, but hats really excite me. I have a pretty insane collection of fedoras, knit caps, and quirky bowlers. Actually, I found a vintage gray Norma Kamali fedora last time I was in town at V.O.D. It is so unbelievably good. It was funny because I was wearing it around Victory one night and a bunch of dudes stopped me and made the biggest deal over the hat. They thought it was inspired by Indiana Jones.”

We finish our shopping extravaganza with a glass of champagne at V.O.D.

“I’m trying to focus on more of my own stuff,” she says. “I’m going to be a guest editor for Elle—conceptualizing, booking models, pulling clothes.”

This fall, Erin will star in the new multimedia campaign for William Rast, opposite Justin Timberlake. She also appears in the new global campaign for Elie Tahari. Wasson has been approached for various TV projects, and she is considering one for fall (at this point, it’s all hush-hush). Her friend Jackie Bolin sums it up perfectly: “Erin does have an amazing style sense and is an incredible natural beauty, but it does not compare to her beauty within. She is kind, fiercely loyal, and effortlessly stylish. She doesn’t have to try. She loves fashion and clothes but it doesn’t rule her life.” Cheers to that.