I first set sights on Runway Renee after her guest appearance on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York. As it turns out Renee relocated from Toronto (The6ix) and has been a major player in the New York Fashion Scene. From Muse to Musician with her powerhouse vocals, the name Runway Renee says it all… Or does it? I caught up with Renee at the Baccarat Hotel in New York. As one of Renee’s fave spots-or as she likes to describe it- “ her version of a coffee shop.” Renee greats me like an old girlfriend she has known forever- much like she does all the time as her manager Nolé Marin describes. She is jovial but very intimidating; in a movie star kind of way. She is absolutely decked out in this Springs latest runway fashion sporting Ralph Lauren, a Dries Van Noten handbag, Fendi sandals and Elie Sabb exclusive sunnies to boot. I start right off the top, by interviewing this elegant songstress, getting all the juicy detes about her beauty, fashion, music, travel, and who is behind all this fabulous repertoire. Follow her @runwayrenee and be sure to check out her brilliant musical releases on Soundcloud and on her upcoming release dropping this fall on iTunes and follow her @runwayrenee.
What are some of your favorite places to shop in the city? Absolutely love the folks at Bergdorf Goodman. My personal stylist Mark Christian is a total gem and his team at BG are so much fun. I Love the new Linda Fargo at BG Capsule collection. I am a total online shopper girl, so the feel and touch was an exciting time for me. Its nice to see shoes, bags, necklaces, tops gowns and all in between paired together to really- not only- show you what Linda likes but what women really like about high end fashion, without making it a pain to sift through. Its a glorious experience with my peeps at Bergdorfs.
What did you find on your last major shopping haul?I love to shop at all the upper east side and Madison Avenue boutiques especially my home favourite, Ralph Lauren Women’s Boutique Mansion. My girls Courtney and Asla always have a dressing room ready and full of all the fab new pieces from the runway collections for me. Especially for my more regal looks. I also like to venture down to the hip new Nomad neighborhood where I often spend time at the Dover Street Market store for those more avant garde collectible pieces.
Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of that magical stroll down the Avenue and one day when I could afford all the beautiful things and designs, I grew up wearing down the runway as a model, never thinking I could one dayafford them, and that I would know what it was like to wear them in real life and take them home to my own closet. I love the most subtle to the most ridiculous things. My last haul I was shopping for my upcoming album promo shoot and I just went nuts between Gucci, BG and Barney’s: Gucci Argyle sweater, patent Miu Miu Doo-Wop skirt, Manolo Blank fuschia peep toe, a custom Patricia Fields hand painted trench, YSL rainbow handbag, and my all-time favourite… my custom tailored Gucci floral 70’s boy suit.
What are you looking forward to for this upcoming fashion week? Being in front Row. LOL! I have spent many years on the runway in my past life, it would be nice to watch for a change. Amorously taking in the clothes the way others do. But as far as designers I love: Nicole Miller, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren of course is my favorite and they have been like family to me, as well as a fabulous designer I just discovered that I would really love to check out is Greedilous.
When you’re not busy performing, where do you most like to go in the city to decompress or let loose? When I am not performing I love to come here (Baccarat), I love to go watch friends and other musicians perform around the city, I love to be in the studio writing and recording, and I love to actually just have close friends over and drink Veuve like its never ending. (She laughs hard.) I feel like I sound like a drunk. But no, its just about gathering with the people I love and catching up on life. Why not wash it down with a refreshing and lovely glass anything?
What did you wear the last time you went to a party/event? How did the party go and what did you do? The last party I went to was my own. It was a fun little get together at my house and I wore a full white Elie Saab number. I don't need a fabulous occasion to dress up. You only live once, live likes its the last day. Or in my case, likes its my last runway.
What do you like to drink while getting ready for a night out? I love my Veuve Clicquot champagne and sometimes if its still early I make mimosas with it. I have a whole fridge full like Dena on Ab Fab! (She chuckles again). Its like everything I ever thought was ridiculous about an
everyday life, I decided I am going to do it. A fridge full of champagne it is. LOL!
What music do you listen to while getting ready for a night out? I love to tap back into my old R&B divas like Anita Baker or Sister Sledge or Debbie Harry or even my fave-although this may surprise you- Patsy Cline. I love some good, old, love songs of women empowered by moving on and waking up to their reality of love. It makes me feel strong and sexy and I understand what they went through. So I put on the lipstick by the end of the album and I am ready to go.
Where was the last place you traveled to? I just came back from LA. But before that it was Cannes and Milan on a girls’ trip.
What was the most important thing you packed? For me Sunglasses are everything. A different pair of shades for every look is the key for me.
What is the biggest splurge or investment piece you purchased? I would say the biggest splurge on one single item was probably my Yves Saloman fur coat. But I don’t discuss money… its gross. To me it wasn't about how much, its about the work and craftsmanship and uniqueness that makes it worth it to me.
Do you feel the investment has been worthwhile? A lot of people don't realize this but when you spend, its not that part that is satisfying: Knowing how hard I struggled all my career, all the sacrifices my mom and my aunt- two very stylish ladies I might add- made for me to have every opportunity in life, and all the experiences I have gained and to be able to take them shopping and gift them for always being there for me or finally buying a designer bag without worrying about rent or bills or food like I used to, is the rewarding part. And I care for my things and the investments are in the passion for the people and things I love. So I would say so.
What is your favorite fashion bargain? How much do you wear it? I would say my favorite fashion bargain are my wigs. Although pricey, I like to wear different ones all the time. And I plan to invest in more and collect different looks. I get bored and as a performer, some outfits on stage or off just look better with the right hair.
Who was your style icon as a youngster? Bianca Jagger. And she still is.
Who is one of your style icons now? Like I said Bianca, but I also love Anna Dello Russo’s style, I emulate Michelle Pfeiffer’s character -Elvira- from Scarface a lot. I love elegant, nice lines, but rebellious and very feminist personalities in my icons. Half the style is the clothes, the rest is the attitude.
What do you wear when you work out? Nike everything. The sweat management is amazing.
What shoes do you wear when you want to show off? I don’t even know what the MEANS. (LAUGHING). Cuz I am always trying to up my shoe game. But some of my favorites are my Casadei pearl heel in black suede, my newest pair of Gucci silver sparkle block heel platforms and my collector’s item Dsquared treasure Swarovski satin pumps.
With such a busy new life n New York, touring, recording and designing your new fabulous home, how do you get your fashion fixes and keep up with all the new looks? Well, I do have very little time indeed to always be in person for the a shopping experience, so if my stylists don't send me suggestions of new releases I am technically screwed. LOL! But the fact that know my sizes and measurements really helps so they customize everything for me. Otherwise I am a huge online shopping fan. I love direct to my door shopping. My favorite sites are net-a-porter.com , farfetch.com, modaoperandi.com, and stylebop.com. But nothing beats visiting my dear friends in retail who really take care of me and make my one of kinds that are so worth making the time for like Agent Provocateur in Soho, Pucci on Madison, Givenchy on Madison, and Ralph Lauren on Madison.
Who are some of your favorite or your go to designers? Gucci, duh. Alessandro Michele is breathing heavenly life back in Gucci and I want to experience it all. Cushnie et Ochs- fabulous designer duo and masters of the silk, Haider Ackermann: I Love for experimental materials and fits, I adore Elie Saab, Vionnet is amazing for silks and 70’s lines of tailoring, Gareth Pugh, Dolce and Gabbana for the gaudy but classic designs, and recently I have been very enamored with the designs of Marco de Vincenzo.
What’s in your closet that you inherited from another person and still like to wear? Inherited??? If I knew people in my size maybe that would be possible. I am the tallest one of my family and friends. LOL!
What is the best piece of clothing or accessory that someone else bought for you? Its nothing high fashion or expensive, but my niece made me a bracelet one weekend that I was babysitting her and I still have it in my treasure box. I adore it so much. She too is a little fashionista and she made it with lots of thought and lots of love.
What piece(s) of jewelry do you wear everyday? Massive massive signature rings from a lot of cool and different vintage collections and new designers. I to a Christian Lacroix vintage arm cuff recently and its so majestic I am afraid to wear it. LOL. But I also have this new Amuleto Blue Agate ring by Rosantica that I just love!
Do you have a signature fragrance? I use all natural skin care and soaps and now I make it a point to use natural body lotions and natural oils for fragrance. I like rose water and juniper and musks as fragrance tannins. My girl Emm Jennings from Nelia Lifestyle and Skin care makes all that stuff for me.
What is your favorite thing about being an IT Girl in NYC? If I am an IT Girl then I am super flattered, but I am just here and happy to be here in the grind and in the real of it all. New York is truly the center of all things great. I do Love Toronto and all its given me, but here is where I really feel at home. And if I can use my visibility, my talents and my passion for art and style and people to make the name IT Girl count for something more, I am happy I can do it in New York City.
It must mean I am doing something right? I want to inspire young women to remember where they come from, who they are, their self worth, their self respect, their value to mankind, but I want them to realize they can be beautiful and smart in one. But be beautiful inside too. That's the mark of a real It Girl Anywhere.