It’s incredibly difficult to nail down more than 10 minutes with a celebrity in the throes of New York Fashion Week, but we managed to score an entire afternoon with “90210” star, budding style-setter and fashion blogger Shenae Grimes — a testament to her ability to remain down-to-earth despite her star wattage. The Canadian actress (who first honed her chops playing Shania Twain in a TV movie) has become a front row fixture in recent years, which has sparked some speculation as to her next career move.
Millions of viewers have watched Grimes grow up on the small screen through her “90210” character, Annie, but it seems most appropriate to capture her evolution through a different lens: fashion. Modeling a slew of fall’s biggest trends — from peplum to brocade — Shenae was able to leave behind the teenage archetype she plays on TV and embrace the perks of being a lady.
“In past years, I think sexy has been a lot of ‘less is more,’ and I don’t believe that. I think less skin is more,” she said. “I loved the peplum looks. I felt like such a woman.”
Given the subtle nod to the ’50s we’ve seen in the trends of the current season, iconic malt shop and burger joint Johnny Rockets seemed like the perfect setting for our shoot with the star. After all, it does bear a certain resemblance to The Peach Pit, so she felt right at home.
Check out the gallery above for a look at Grimes modeling Burberry, Carven, Sandro and more, and read on to see what she has to say about her future in fashion, the upcoming fifth season of “90210” (premiering October 8!), and more.
How has your style evolved over the years?
When I was younger, my favorite thing to do when I got dressed (and when I was shopping) was to always put something on that I wouldn’t see on anyone else. That’s still the case, but I think I was a lot more outrageous back then. I know that’s how you start trends, but these days, my style has gotten a lot less trend oriented and a lot more timeless. I have a pretty strict comfort zone that I don’t like to veer out of. I can appreciate it in magazines or on other girls, but as far as I incorporate things into my closet, I look for pieces that will stand the test of time.
Who are your style icons?
I find a lot of inspiration in men. Steven Tyler is a definite style icon of mine. I just went to my first Aerosmith show a little while ago, and to see that man come out on stage in his lavender velvet jumpsuit and matching silk coat with a top hat. He just always looks so badass. I can’t get enough of it. Sienna Miller is also an icon of mine. She always looks amazing. Everytime she leaves the house whether it’s a casual day out, going to dinner or a red carpet, she looks effortless and for me that’s the key. I don’t want to look like I spent hours getting into the clothes and, like, I can’t sit down.
How would you say that you and your boyfriend (model Josh Beech) shape each other’s style?
I think we appreciate each other’s style. I think I dress how he would if he were a chick, and he dresses how I would if I were a dude — if that makes any sense! I’ve always said I dress like the kind of guy I would want to date someday. We dress kind of similarly. We’re definitely kind of the male and female grungy versions of each other.
Where do you think you’re headed in terms of your career with fashion? Is designing a line the next step?
I feel like you have to really know your stuff before you delve into any new career path, which is why I’ve kind of spread my wings and tried to intern in different fields in fashion in the past couple of years. I would like to head in the direction of presenting more immediately and doing some type of hosting and series work that revolves around fashion, more specifically street style and what designers are doing now — and how women can translate that into their wardrobes, because it can be such an overwhelming topic for people who aren’t savvy to it and don’t really care to be educated on it. As far as design is concerned, if I were to ever head into that aspect of the industry, I’d definitely want to take a lot of classes. I’d want to sketch properly so I could translate my ideas correctly. I’d want to take sewing lessons and pattern making lessons, because I’m not the type of person who likes to attach my name to something that I don’t have full creative control over. I’ve never believed in putting my name behind something that I don’t believe in and know 100%.
If you had to name three designers to wear for the rest of your life, who would they be?
I love Helmut Lang. I can’t go on a trip without my Helmut Lang blazers, leather pants and this amazing black dress. It’s super simple, it’s a sleeveless black beautiful cut dress but it has one black lace sleeve, and it’s probably the most gorgeous thing that I have in my closet. I find Helmut Lang’s clothes slimming and put together with the perfect cut. I love Stella McCartney for that same reason. Her pantsuits are always amazing. I’m definitely more of a suit girl. I’d take a sick pair of pants and a blazer over a pretty dress any day. A more girly designer I like is Isabel Marant. Some of her skirts are a little too schoolgirl for me, but again, her blazers and jackets are amazing. The textures, prints and fabrics she uses make the pieces so special. There’s a brocade jacket that I just got by her but it’s silver metallic and it’s so stunning. I wore it during fashion week. It’s something that your boyfriend doesn’t understand, but every girl that passes you is like, “Oh my God! What is that?!” You know you’re doing well when the ladies love it.
The fifth season of “90210” starts on October 8. What can we expect from Annie and the show this season?
I know. I can’t believe how time has flown! Annie’s calming down a bit this year. She’s so naive at heart, but she’s finally toning it down. She’s trying to act as more of a support system to the people that are close to her, which I like. She’s a lot more grounded this year. Everyone’s growing up and dealing with real issues, which I think will be cool for our audience to see. Also, the guest stars and musical guests this season are insane. Our producers have gone all out.
What has been your favorite part about working on the show?
My favorite part is that we all have such different personalities and different quirks about all of us. “Beverly Hills, 90210″ was such a pivotal part of television when it launched, so to be on the next generation of such an iconic teen drama is a massive experience. It has brought the cast together in a way that many people don’t even understand. These people are my family for life. No matter where our lives go, where we end up living or what we end up working on, we’ll always be there for the highs and lows in each other’s lives — and that’s a pretty spectacular thing.
Photography by: Ben Fink Shapiro
Editorial Director: Marni Golden
Styling by: Rachel Wirkus
Hair by: Mitch Barry
Makeup by: Jordy Poon for Giorgio Armani Beauty
Styling Assistant: Gabrielle Marceca
Post-Production by: Eyescapes Labs