Eva Chen's April Editor's Letter: The Ties That Bind

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Started from the bottom…

…now we’re here (and by “here” I mean in my office, taking selfies).

From left: Susan Cernek, me, Leigh Belz Ray and Jane Herman Bishop.

Click through the slideshow to see some of Eva Chen's snapshots through the years, where her friends are now plus some of her favorite items for spring.

Photo Credit: Mimi Ritzen Crawford

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Recently at a work dinner, a publicist asked me whether I still had time for friends. Yes, I sputtered, of course! A writer interjected (rather chillily, might I add): “Well I don’t really have time for friends—especially at work. Who has the energy?” I stared at her like she had seven heads.

Honestly, it’s hard to write about friendship without it sounding sappy. But in my case, it’s impossible to separate my career from the people I met at the start of it. Over a decade ago, when I first began in the industry as a beauty assistant at Elle, I found my spirit animals in five girls in the office.

We worked hard, we worked late and, even when it was maddening, we loved every second of it. There was Danielle Nussbaum, the entertainment assistant, a fellow Harry Potter–phile and general arbiter of all things tasteful in pop culture; Leigh Belz, the editor in chief’s assistant, who is simply one of the best human beings ever; and Hillary Kerr, the executive editor’s assistant, who always manages to make any situation eight million times more fun. And there was also Susan Cernek, the fashion assistant, who seemed to know all the secrets of effortless style, and Jane Herman, the features assistant, who I was deeply intimidated by because she was—and still is—one of the coolest people I know.

In the years since we met, we’ve moved from East Coast to West Coast (and back again), gotten married, started businesses, had adorable babies (here’s looking at you, Riley Ray) and hopscotched jobs. But without fail, on the first Friday of fashion week, we always get together for a reunion dinner at Rubirosa in Nolita. We consume unspeakable amounts of pizza. We drink a glass (or three) of red wine. And we toast our friendship and how far we’ve come.

It’s not an easy task, this friendship business. But you set your own priorities, and for me, relationships—family, friends—make everything else temporal and fleeting.

I’ve been thinking so much about my original gang recently because this issue is all about girls as unique as each of them. Since the launch of this magazine in 2000, we’ve used the term “Lucky Girl” to describe stylish, cool, uncommon and not-afraid-to-be-yourself-even-if-it’s-slightly-awkward personalities. This issue is our ode to Lucky Girls, and Lily Collins, our cover star, just might be one of the ringleaders of this fashionable pack.

Now, I’ve always thought she was beautiful. Then she stepped out in September at the Givenchy show in a Bambi sweatshirt and the deepest burgundy lips and, shortly after, cut her hair into a soft shob (shoulder-length bob, for you beauty neophytes). And that was it—she skyrocketed to the top of my Lucky Girl list.

Another uniquely Lucky feature is the street-style/model-style story “Sports Center.” Inspired by some of the chicest-ever real-girl looks, we pulled together over 16 bold, varsity pieces and asked some of our favorite new models and It Girls to wear them. And this month’s Fashion Addict is Rachel Bilson, who was a trendsetter as Summer Roberts in The O.C. (still one of my favorite shows ever) and is one just as much today in real life, with her epic collection of backpacks.

I do hope you love this issue—and are reading it with your own group of Lucky Girls.

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