Some people are just born cool. That’s what I conclude as I sit across from Erin Wasson at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Slouched in a booth, her long limbs encased in a cream Haider Ackermann suit, Wasson is telling me about the most rebellious thing she ever did. “I got on a motorcycle at age 17 and took a 2,600-mile road trip through Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. My parents were not happy!” she says, laughing, all smoky eyeshadow and ombré hair. “I don’t know, man,” she continues, voice hoarse from smoking. “Some people are just wired to go against the grain and do stuff that’s not run-of-the-mill.”
For someone with such subversive tendencies,Wasson got her start in fashion conventionally enough. At 17, she won a modelling contest at a morning news show in her native Dallas and then struck out for Paris, walking catwalks for Chanel, Balenciaga and Givenchy. Now, Wasson is a creative chameleon, as comfortable styling Alexander Wang’s runway collection as she is acting in Hollywood films. (She recently made her silverscreen debut as the vampiress Vadoma in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.)
Wasson also designs jewellery for her line, Low Luv, and recently acted as guest designer for the French It brand Zadig & Voltaire. Her latest project? She’s creative director for the fall collection of Rockport shoes. “It’s the perfect marriage,” says Wasson of the collab. “It’s a very American company, and I’m a very American girl. I love the shoes, especially the leopard booties and the oxford heels. They’re classics.”
Then she starts playing with the sugar packets in front of her, and I can tell that my time with fashion’s resident free spirit is nearing an end. “I want to pursue as many creative endeavours as possible,” she says thoughtfully. “That’s the exciting part. The only way you can be in the unknowingness of life is by being in a place of utter fearlessness.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.