Faulhaber Communications

DRIVEN: Diane Chan

August 29, 2012

FPR bestie and Wang-wearing girl about town, Diane Chan, is AZURE Magazine’s Managing Editor. When not travelling to visit international design shows and scouring the earth for the latest architecture projects, this petite fire cracker enjoys checking out Toronto’s hottest restaurants, hitting the yoga studio, and reading up on the economy. With experience at Wallpaper* Magazine, the Telegraph Magazine in the UK and a stint in fashion, this editor is a multi-talented force to be reckoned with.

Photo: Dermot Cleary at the Thompson Toronto.

Tell us about your career in design.

As a youngster, I read a lot of Vogue and watched a lot of Fashion File, so naturally aspired to be Canada’s Next Top Model. After a growth spurt evaded me, I gravitated toward design and enrolled in the Ryerson School of Fashion. One year of all-night sewing sessions and a frustrated pattern-drafting instructor later, I switched streams and graduated with a fashion marketing degree before going on to work for Gucci and Ralph Lauren.

My passion for writing (and an Englishman) eventually took me across the pond to study journalism at the London College of Fashion. Upon completion, I was offered posts at Wallpaper* Magazine and Condé Nast’s Tatler; choosing between the two was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. After 48 hours of soul-searching, I accepted the position with Wallpaper* doing special projects (a.k.a. PR) and later moved to the Telegraph fashion desk, where I worked under the helm of Hilary Alexander (sort of – she was on the Daily and I was on the Magazine). It was quite a surreal experience, especially upon discovering she and I see eye-to-eye (physically-speaking).

What do you love most about being back in Toronto?

A two-and-a-half-year diet of bangers ‘n’ mash truly made me appreciate this city’s varied, creative and flavourful cuisine. Also, as a marathoner and hot yogi, I dig the active culture. That being said, I adore London’s idiosyncrasies and could easily tuck into an English fry-up (eggs, baked beans, black pudding, etc.) every day for the rest of my life.

Dream dinner date? What would you order?

Stoli and sweetbreads with Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s International Editor-at-Large (and the quintessential dandy). Since a table of six is preferable, other invitees would include: Tyler Brûlé (Monocle editor a.k.a. Mr. Zeitgeist), Sally Singer (New York Times T Magazine editor, formerly of Vogue), Roger Federer (classiest athlete alive), and Jerry Seinfeld (just for laughs). If not pressed for time, we could join the Shake Shack queue in Madison Square Park for melt-in-your-mouth Shack burgers.

Favourite new designer?

Lee Broom, last year’s British Design Awards ‘Designer of the Year.’ His work is dark, glam and whimsical, with a mix of modern and traditional. Sort of like the industrial design world’s answer to Alexander McQueen. Like McQueen, Broom is blessed with style, grace, and British wit. Watch his space.

Favourite place in the world?

At the risk of sounding cliché: Paris, New York, London, and Barcelona, for such obvious reasons as culture, architecture, fashion sense, and overall vibe. They also feed my penchant for cobblestone streets, obscure galleries, boutique hotels, and public drinking (save NYC).

Item in your closet most treasured?

A mint green skateboard from Pharrell Williams promoting his Billionaire Boys Club line. Fashion-wise? My first pair of Christian Louboutins: platform Mary Janes.

Best party you’ve ever been to?

A Gucci party at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London hosted by creative director Frida Giannini, with DJ Mark Ronson on the tables and surprise guest Duran Duran. Close second: an intimate dinner for Viktor & Rolf thrown by Wallpaper in a Paris gallery.

Motto to live by?

U.K. graphic designer Anthony Burrill and my parents said it best: Work Hard and Be Nice to People.

Touché. Love all things fashion, food, and design? This whiz knows how to use her hashtags, follow Diane on Twitter!

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