Daniella Vitale and Tomoko Ogura strive for balance.
Vitale, the chief operating officer and senior executive vice president for the brand, oversees all strategy as well as women’s merchandising for the storied retailer. As the senior fashion director of Barneys New York women’s, Ogura is constantly searching for the new, next big designer or collection. The two women hold very demanding jobs that could be all consuming, but each has constructed special rituals and connections that ground them in their lives outside of the fashion world.
Here, Vitale and Ogura describe how they relieve stress from work-related travel, what restores them after a long day, and how they bypass the superficial and find deeper meaning in their lives.
Live The Process: Fashion Week is an especially frenzied time, but you both lead very busy lives year-round. How do you center yourselves after your demanding workdays?
Daniella Vitale: I try and get home to kiss my twins sons before they go to bed. Seeing them makes me feel more balanced. Skype has changed my life when traveling. After a grueling day, to be able to come back to the hotel, have a glass of champagne and see them on the screen makes me happy. When in New York, I always keep my schedule with a trainer so I make sure to get out of bed and exercise.
Tomoko Ogura: My brother set up an Instagram account so I could have a window into my baby niece's life. Scrolling through the day's photos and seeing her progress through life makes it easier to break away from the workday and reconnect to a more natural side of life.
LTP: Your jobs require that you travel often, so what routines do you practice and what products do you use to alleviate the stress of being away from home?
DV: I try very hard to do as much cardio as I can while traveling, even if it is just walking. I need to help reduce stress (and of course work off the aforementioned champagne). I keep the beauty routine simple, but two products that I now always travel with are Koh Gen Do Brightening Moisture Mask, which I try to apply every other night, and Odin New York oils for the bath. A bath that’s as hot as I can stand it with a little oil is a necessary ritual for me.
TO: I travel with a candle (Le Labo's Santal 26 candle) that I also burn at home. It's a small way to bring a bit of home on the road with me.
LTP: We all indulge in unproductive habits and guilty pleasures. What are some of yours, and how do you know when to stop indulging?
DV: Yes I have them, but also feel that denying yourself things that you thoroughly enjoy is silly. I am a genuinely healthy eater but I love rosé champagne so when in Europe, that is a must. I love to eat, so my team and I try very hard to make time for a couple of decent lunches and dinners. In London, Tram Shed is a must for the chicken, Giacomo’s for pizza, pasta and swordfish tartare, and Voltaire in Paris for the mushroom salad and steak tartare with a lot of bread. In between all of those meals I try to eat a lot of greens, yogurt and fruit, and I take a healthy dose of vitamin C and magnesium.
TO: One guilty pleasure is long chats with friends over wine. The clock tells me when it's time to stop (usually).
LTP: The fashion world can often focus on the shallow and the instantaneous. What are some of the people or things, both professionally and personally, that help you find that sought-after deeper meaning that we all crave in our lives?
DV: I try to read as much as possible. I always have a book on my iPad (right now it’s Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings), and have apps for The New York Times, WSJ, New York Post and Huffington Post, which I try to run through every day. I can’t read everything, but give them a good skim!
TO: Life's deeper meaning isn't hiding from us. For as maligned as the fashion world sometimes is, every day I have the opportunity to be exposed to people living inspired lives. Whether it’s Bruce Weber and his recent film for Barneys’ Spring 2014 campaign that’s helping to break stereotypes in the transgender community, an individual determined to shine a positive light on African production, or a new designer risking all and pursuing their dream, all of these things help me to see the beauty in life, through fashion.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
DV: People that enjoy what they do and also have something outside of work that interests them.
TO: My niece’s first smile.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process,” and how do you do that every day?
DV: I always have to remind myself that I should be thankful and happy with what I have. Be generous: not just monetarily, but in spirit. I know it sounds hokey and isn’t easy, but people need to figure out a way to give a little.
TO: It means to listen internally to life's inspiration, and focus on working hard to bring it into reality. Our life is that continuous journey.