Styled by Maia Liakos
It’s a hot and muggy Tuesday that’s perfect for sundresses and sandals, but since it’s supposed to double for fall in this Watch! shoot, Sami Gayle is instead trying on leather jackets, cozy sweaters and dark denim. The 16-year-old star of CBS’ Friday crime drama Blue Bloods isn’t complaining. Far from it: “Can you choose my clothes every day?” she asks stylist Maia Liakos, laughing.
Sadly, no, at least not for the Sydney-based Liakos, who spent part of her New York “holiday” scouring look books and pulling samples from British fashion phenom Karen Millen’s SoHo boutique. But for Gayle, with her Hepburnesque poise and model looks—she is, after all, playing Bridget Moynahan’s daughter, Nicky—and the London-based Millen, this is just the start of what promise to be big-buzz careers.
With 350 stores worldwide, and a fan base that includes Victoria Beckham, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Eva Longoria, Millen sports a sophisticated, contemporary style that is taking off on this side of the Atlantic. Whether it’s sportswear, smart workwear or hip party frocks and trend-forward accessories, Millen’s designs work any time of year, including this rainy day in New York; photographer Keiron O’Connor gets the contrast and texture he’d been hoping to use against SoHo’s gritty yet somehow glamorous streets.
Already the subject of a photo spread in last year’s W magazine by photographer Francesco Carrozzini, Gayle works the camera like a veteran. And while the stunning teenager is clearly the focus of attention—and many passersby—Millen’s fall wardrobe is also getting nods on this gloomy day. The label is known for blending precise tailoring with high-quality fabrics to create a timelessly beautiful aesthetic, and it shows on Gayle, who samples several different looks before deciding on a handful of wardrobe items she likes: tough-girl leather motorcycle jacket, ultrafeminine lace top and fitted sheath dress among them. After all, fall dressing has always been about layering: a skinny, cuffed trouser here, a fur-trimmed quilted winter jacket there, and Gayle does it to perfection, bringing youthful energy, elegance and élan to every setup.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Originally published in Watch! magazine, December 2012