When working at the New Yorker in its heyday, Christene remembers when Tina Brown complimented the horned-rim Giorgio Armani frames that she had saved up for. In that moment, Christene knew that Tina “understood.” In other words, Christene explains, “She was an amazing example to me of what a woman could really be, and the influence they could have– without doing it in a really flashy way.” Former Executive Editor of City Magazine and co-founder of the wildly successful Refinery29, Christene is right on about the power of understatement in her cream-colored Chanel trousers and a vintage red blouse with an embellished collar, a quiet but impacting backdrop to her resilient determination. Poised in chinos and the quintessential, color-blocked, Prada flat sandal, Christene is reminded of how far she has come and how deep you have to go to get beyond your doubts by a photo of herself, that hangs in her bathroom, at three years old, looking “very freaked out.” There were many years, she remembers, where she had to struggle to convince herself to keep going.
Christene grew up in the ’70s alongside the emergence of “sexy masculinity” for women, embodied by Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman and Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer, both of whom had a big influence on Christene. A vintage Jaeger polka dot top and Dries van Noten coat might read more “mannish classic” than the “ultimate cool” of one of her icons, Gloria Steinem (with her flair for mod), but Christene’s passion for thrifting is definitely “happening.” Independent-minded when it comes to her career choices, Christene has always favored the chance to have a voice – and is willing to fail in order to grow. She is polished, but not a victim of the retail cycle. Proud of an entire outfit she found at The Salvation Army – a Donna Karan tank dress under a sheer dashiki with one of her signature chunky necklaces and the same shoes that Robin Wright wore in a famous scene in Forrest Gump in which she nearly commits suicide – an eBay find. She lives for the excitement of the hunt and finding the unpredictable. A big believer in giving clothes away that don’t speak to her at the time despite her penchant for nostalgia, Christene’s present love for her Brian Atwood leopard-print stacked pumps reveal the part of her that is letting go and letting the more flamboyant, rock n’ roll in her emerge.