From fashion editor to marketing guru, Elena Corsano knows fashion. As the Arsenic 9 co-founder prepares to launch version 3.0 of the styling app Best Fashion Friend, this vintage bag—a gift from her fiancé—is by her side.
How did this Chanel bag come into your life? "One of my marketing clients was Tisha Colette, she's a former model and has consignment boutiques in New York City and the Hamptons. I was working on a project with her in the city, and we were doing an event with her at her store. I kept seeing this Chanel bag every time I walked into her boutique. And her boutique is just, like, eye candy. It's styled so well, and it's beautiful. And something vintage could easily not be there from one moment to the next. A lot of women go, 'Oh, let me wait a day,' and then someone else picks it up and it's gone. At the event, my new fiancé was there as one of the guests. One of the girls mentioned to me, 'Oh Elena, did you make up your mind about the Chanel bag?' And Ned grabbed it, and bought it on the spot. And of course, all the girls were like, 'Oh, that's adorable, that's so sweet!' And he was like, 'No, it's perfect. It's our first Christmas and I wouldn't even know what to get you… done. Here it is.'"
What a great story. "I know it's not a usual way to receive a gift, but it was a surprise, and it was just thoughtful and lovely. He's an old-school British man who sticks to the old-school British brands, and only vacations in the former British colonies. What was special to me is how he approached it. He really cared to make me happy. A lot of effort and energy went into it, and a lot of guys will just take the easy way out. I thought it was a very loving gesture because I didn't ask at all, he's like, 'Oh, I wanted to get her something she wouldn't buy herself that she really wants and desires.' So every time I wear it, it reminds me of how much he loves me. I know that sounds corny, but…"
How does this bag fit into your personal style? "I tend to not wear trends. A lot of designers I love are the ones where you can buy a piece and it can literally stay in your closet for five to ten years, and you can just style it differently. I love this bag because it's this flash of cool with the silver hardware, and it's a different-shaped Chanel bag. I like it because it's unique. I don't even remember it from my fashion editor days at Elle and Town & Country. So I feel like it's not only about it being Chanel, but it is a unique Chanel bag. And quite versatile. It makes me feel like this is my special piece. I either do it with my bag, or I'll have an accent piece with jewelry. Also, it suits how I dress."
Do you wear it often? "It's not an everyday bag. It's a little small to go to meetings, but if I have a meeting where I don't have to bring documents or my computer, it's perfect. I have been working with the Wall Street Journal on their Women of Note program, I'm an ambassador for that program, so when I go in and meet with the president of marketing, that's the bag I'll bring. I'm very excited about this network, which is focused on empowering women and women coming together to do great things. [I wore it to that program's] soft launch dinner, and it brought me confidence."
Can you tell us a bit about your new app, Best Fashion Friend? "I'm very excited about my styling app, that I created thinking entirely about the end consumer, who is the woman who needs help styling or organizing her wardrobe. You go out shopping and I'm kind of a jacket freak. I have so many, and so many in black. So with this app, I can pull up my wardrobe, if, say, I'm at Bloomingdale's, and say, 'Do I really need another black jacket, or maybe I should go for the purple one.' Because that's what's missing in my wardrobe rather than another black. You can also send conversations back and forth. Say I'm in the airport at Heathrow and I see this awesome Burberry scarf and I want to know what my girlfriend in New York thinks. I can literally put the outfit together, send her the message and she can restyle it for me, make suggestions and send it back. So it's kind of what women do anyway, but the conversation is visual and it's what's in your closet."
Finally, when you see your Chanel bag hanging in your closet, what's the first word or feeling that comes to mind? "Different!"