Steven Cojo Cojocaru 2012

[Interview] Steven ‘Cojo’ Cojocaru talks Fall Fashion 2012 and more in preparation for Fashion’s Night Out

Steven Cojo Cojocaru 2012Steven “Cojo” Cojocaru has always been outspoken and over-the-top when it comes to his opinion and love of fashion and style.  Who better to host Hampton Roads’ first Fashion Night Out other than the self-proclaimed “pied piper of fashion” himself?  Cojo has been appropriately tapped to kick things off September 6th at Peninsula Town Center, where he will host a pre-event party, oversee a makeover and more. 757 Lifestyle caught up with the fashion maven to dish about FNO, fashion tips for the budget conscious fashionista, Fall 2012 fashion trends, and his upcoming projects.

How did you become involved with Fashion Night Out at Peninsula Town Center?

They reached out to me. I feel like the pied piper of fashion and I want to spread the word, ‘shop and be fabulous.’  I’ve been to Virginia before, I was in Richmond a year or two ago and I love the south. Cojo loves a southern belle. As soon as I heard Virginia I was like, ‘yes, let’s make it happen.’

FNO’ has branched into a global initiative with events worldwide. Why do you think it’s important for people to come out and support FNO events in their local community?

This was created to stimulate the economy and to help the fashion industry and for there to be accessibility to fashion at every level and every price point. It’s a celebration of fashion and a vote of confidence for the fashion industry to shake things up a little and also a little shot in the arm.

With one of the goals of FNO being to renew consumer confidence and help stimulate the economy, what tips can you give to budget conscious fashionistas?

Follow the trends. Read all the fun magazines – Elle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar –  and see what you love and make it work for you. What’s great is fashion is available at every price point now. You have H&M, Forever 21 and Guess. They are really good at picking up on the trends and giving you the trends in an affordable way.  [Such as] J. Crew and Banana Republic.  My friends show me things they get from J. Crew – like summer dresses – and I was blown away at how beautiful they were and how on trend they were.

Make it work for you and never be a fashion follower.  Don’t be a fashion victim; you’re the boss.  Connect with your inner diva and take the pieces that are fashionable and make them work for you at your price level.

Like leather is really, really big this fall, at a very high fashion level. Yves St. Laurent is practically all leather and it’s outrageous in terms of leather dresses and leather skirts. That’s not something that is accessible to the average consumer.  But there is always pleather, there is faux leather. You can get faux leather leggings or pants and now they are making them into dresses. That’s the olden days; that’s the 1800’s, ten years ago when fashion was about snob appeal [laughs.]  It’s not about snob appeal anymore. You walk into Target and you’re getting the greatest designers in the world.  You go to H&M and they are doing collaborations with Lanvin and Versace.  So fashion finally is for everybody. So it’s up to the fashionista to mix it up and make it work for her.

You spoke about Leather being a hot trend for Fall 2012. What other trends should we look forward to for this season?

Military is really big and military influences. Anything with epaulettes on them, like the Military peacoat. But they have been remodeled and refashioned into silhouettes that are much more feminine, sleeker and modern.   [I went crazy] Victoria Beckham did a very much military-inspired collection but in a very feminine way. The epaulettes are small, you know, she did skirts. A great investment would be a peacoat or short-cropped military coat with epaulets but make it feminine. Wear a beautiful, bold, bright pink scarf with it. Wear your leggings or wear your miniskirts. It’s up to the fashionista to put her stamp on it.

There is also the Renaissance, Baroque fancy-lady thing going on with very heavily embroidered clothes and jackets. Those would cost the price of two family cars if you got them on the runway. But again, you will see them at H&M and your affordable retailers. You should wear those at a comfort level that is good for you.

Another thing I saw I really like is the faux fur collar. Everything seems to have a faux fur collar this fall. I don’t really endorse fur anyway, so it’s better to wear faux fur. Faux fur is very consumer friendly in terms of being low-cost.  But it’s about that drama and that glamour and you know my whole life is devoted to drama and glamour.

What staples should every woman have in her closet?

I’m designing my own line now, so that’s what I do. I want women to have staples. I think a black blazer is so essential.  A well-cut, beautifully tailored black blazer will go with everything. I am very much of the concept of throwing things on that make you instantly dressed. A t-shirt and jeans are just a t-shirt and jeans until you throw on a beautifully tailored black blazer. All of a sudden, you are dressed.  It’s great for business, it’s great for casual dinners or it’s great for fancy too. You can wear a nice dress under it. A kind of new twist on that is dark navy.  Scan the racks at some of your bigger department stores and try to find it on sale.  Find a good quality jacket, that’s an investment piece.

A little black dress (LBD) or a navy dress. Just a dress that is so clean and fits you so well that you have never have that panic of, “oh my gosh I have nothing to wear.”  Anything that comes up, I have my good investment black dress, I spent a little more than I wanted on it but it’s a good investment piece that will last you forever.  It’s a canvas that you can just build on. Add a brooch to it, a chic scarf to it, a sequin scarf, and whatever shoe that may be in for the season.

The other staple I’ve done in my line is the cardigan. You can go from blah to wow in a second with a cardigan. You can be wearing sneakers and some jeans and throw on a cute little cardi and you are little bit more dressed. Invest in a good wool or cashmere one and you will have it forever.  A nice cardi, a good quality like a cashmere, can be worn to a cocktail party with a nice dress underneath. Keep a little black cardi in your car because you never know when you may need it. You can just throw it on and you’re good to go.

You have your own clothing line and are working on jewelry line and a book. You have a lot of projects going on, How is everything going?

It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s good. I’m working on a book. I’m writing a trashy Hollywood novel. It’s going to make 50 Shades of Grey look like Winnie the Pooh.  It’s just a smutty, dirty, trashy, gossipy, Hollywood novel. It’s very easy because all I’m doing is taking real stars and changing their names. It’s going to based on real things and real dirt. A book takes a long time, so I would say within the next year, it will be ready.

I have a whole collection, a fashion empire in [Montreal] Canada, that’s where I’m from.  I’ve got women’s collection and I’m about to celebrate my 1-year anniversary in October. Now we are expanding into jewelry. Jewelry is fun. I am going to devote it to my favorite divas past and present. So a little Marlene Dietrich, a little bit of Elizabeth Taylor, a little bit of Charlize [Theron.]  It will be available in the United States, I am just not sure when. I am perfecting it in Canada, I am a crazy perfectionist.  But it will be here pretty soon. I am happy now with the direction of the clothes. So I am working on it. But it’s definitely the plan to bring it here [the States.]

For those who want to stay connected to you and see what you are up to, how should they do so?

You can follow me on Twitter! @CojoStyle and I have a fan page on Facebook.

You can catch up with Cojo in person at Fashion’s Night Out VIP pre-party at Cinebistro on September 6 from 5:00 – 6: 30 p.m.  The event will feature a meet and greet as well as an autograph signing, goodie bags, valet parking and more. Tickets are only $35 and are available via the Junior League of Hampton Roads website.  After the party, stay for the fun as Cojo officially kicks off FNO at PTC’s Town Square, with fashion tips, shopping and a whole lot more. For complete information on Fashion’s Night Out at Peninsula Town Center, visit their official event page.


*Special thank you to Rubin Communications Group for coordinating the interview.