UPDATE: This story was originally published on November 14.
You may know her as the gorgeous model in the American Apparel ads, but there's so much more to Kristen Gipson than just a pretty face. The Springfield native is also the buyer for the super-hip RSVP Gallery in Wicker Park. With such an impressive résumé, it should be no surprise that someone who curates a shop filled with fabulous accessories, pop art, and clothing from around the globe, has amazing taste — and, naturally, a wardrobe to match.
To give us a hit of her incredible style, Gipson pulled together four casual-yet-chic looks that prove we can dress down while keeping up appearances. But, make no mistake: These ensembles may look laid-back, but this jet-setter has a soft spot for pieces from coveted designers like Chanel and Balenciaga. Sure, this down-to-earth Midwestern gal claims to be over material possessions, but, holy smokes, she sure can rock a pair of Louboutins like nobody's business.
Photographed by Heather Talbert
How would you describe your style?
"One of my friends called my style 'Parisian thug' so I'm rolling with that. I'm the kind of girl that likes sweatpants — but they have to be leather and they have to be Balmain!"
Kristin is wearing Givenchy panther glasses, a KISS vintage tee, Joe's Jeans, and a Hermès Medor watch.
Any preference between Chicago and L.A.?
"I moved to L.A. when I was 19 for school and to pursue my modeling career. I have to say, I think what I miss most is the weather. I'll take it over Chicago's any day! But, Chicago is great for raising a family."
Speaking of modeling, how did you score that American Apparel gig?
"Totally random, but I answered a Craigslist ad, and the rest is history!"
So, how do you fit in modeling while being the buyer and head of VIP relations for RSVP?
"I fit in modeling for American Apparel every time I take a trip to L.A. — I really love it! I've been working with them for so long that it's like seeing family whenever I go back."
Kristen is accessorized with Antonio Murphy pendant on a KG&CO. chain.
What are three things in your closet you couldn't live without and why?
"Well to be honest, I COULD live without anything in my closet! I don't put too much value on material things anymore. But, as of right now, I am in love with my Chanel combat boots — one of the best purchases I've ever made. They're perfect because the shape is simple and they're super low-key — no ridiculous logo. I also love my Balenciaga Perfecto leather jacket and would recommend it to anyone looking to make an investment. It will last forever and will never go out of style. Lastly, I would have to say my jewelry box! My jewelry must-haves are: Cartier Love bracelet, Hermès Medor watch, and Genevieve Jones safety pin earrings."
Noelle's Chanel combat boots.
What are you currently most excited about at RSVP Gallery?
"I really am in love with our collection of coffee table books. We carry Rizzoli & Taschen, including titles like Pharell's new book Places and Spaces I've Been. The New Kate Moss book is also a must-have. We have some great Balmain and Givenchy pieces, as well. And, of course, the Just Don snakeskin snapbacks are very cool!"
Kristen changes up her look with her favorite Balenciaga jacket.
Kristen is wearing a Céline tee, Balmain custom-leather sweat pants, Yeezy II sneakers, Jacob & Co. gold chain, and Givenchy panther eyeglasses.
A closer look at Kristen's funky Yeezy II sneakers.
You've been in numerous publications worldwide — what were some of your most memorable shoots?
"Shooting at Dov's house is always really fun because he has some really quirky stuff! I'm always lurking around and taking photos of his place when I shoot there."
Let's talk about that gorgeous mane of yours. What do you do to take care of it?
"I wash my hair about two times a week with Cynthia Silvia Stout shampoo and American Cream conditioner. Next, I put on an organic argan oil and tie my hair up in a high bun to let it air dry. I hardly ever use heat on my hair. After my hair is dry, I spray it with Bumble & Bumble Tonic and then scrunch for the bed head look."
Any model beauty tips you can share?
"Well, I am very religious about my skin-care ritual. I use Kanebo Sensai Silk line. It's double cleansing and double moisturizing. It's about an eight-step process at night, but perfect skin is invaluable for me. The Kanebo mud soap is a miracle worker by the way! I recommend Kanebo to anyone who is willing to listen. It has transformed my skin! I also take a great supplement geared toward healthy skin and nails, called Maxi-Hair Maximized by Country Life. It's really done wonders with my hair. It makes it grow two times as fast when I take them regularly."
Kristen is wearing a Mitchell & Ness Chicago Bulls sweatshirt, Chanel skirt, and Christian Louboutin Un Bout pumps.
Tell us about the monthly column you're going to start writing for Lurve magazine.
"I recently became a vegetarian and have seen an amazing change in my skin and hair, so I'm going to contribute tips on healthy eating and beauty. I'm very excited to be able to share with people how to improve their lifestyles with a change in diet."
As an avid traveler for work and pleasure, what packing tips can you give us?
"Even though I travel a lot, I'm still the worst packer! What I've learned is to pick out two outfits for each day and then throw in some alternate pieces just in case. If it's a short trip, I try to only bring two pairs of shoes (flats for day and heels for night) and one outerwear piece. Suitcase staples are: leather jacket, little black dress, boyfriend jeans, sneakers, and a sexy pump that goes with everything, like the Manolo Blahnik BB suede pump in black."
If you could only shop at a few select stores in Chicago, which ones would they be?
"RSVP Gallery, Ikram, Blake, and Barneys!"
What do you and your son like to do when you have free time?
"I always take my son to museums on the weekend — it's our ritual. He loves learning about art and his favorite artist is Andy Warhol."
Kristen is wearing a Givenchy tee, Céline pants, and Céline heels.
The chains are actually a part of Kristen's Givenchy shirt.
We assume you take care of your nails as well as your hair and skin?
"Yes! I get a regular manicure every five days and a no-chip when I go out of town."
Gibson is accessorized with a Cartier Love bracelet, and Genevieve Jones bangles and ring.
While it's obvious you have designer taste, who are your absolute faves?
"Azzedine Alaia, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo, Riccardo Tisci, Josh Goot, Dion Lee, Louise Goldin, Genevieve Jones, and Hedi Slimane."
Kristen's killer Louboutin stems!
Where would we find you hanging in your Ukrainian Village neighborhood?
"I like that Ukranian Village is quiet. There aren't a lot of noisy bars nearby and crime is very low.
There's a cute little deli on the corner that makes the best mozzarella sandwiches! Or you'll find me at the Ukrainian bakery up the street — it has amazing pastries."