A Caramelized Conversation with Fashion Writer Zoey Goto

Bringing a new-age feel to vintage style is no simple task, but its ease is contagious when spotting style expert and Londonite Zoey Goto on the street. Zoey's new book, Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits, follows suit. The pages share a fresh new look at the King of Rock n Roll’s style and his impact on the world of music—but more importantly fashion—today.

I can barely contain my excitement for Zoey's book signing here in Memphis! Mark your calendars for Zoey's event on April 12 at the world-renowned Lansky Bros. store in the Peabody Hotel from 5-6pm. And until then, join us for our Caramelized Conversation with the international trailblazer in the fashion world.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like anything with an Americana vibe, especially baseball jackets, peddle pushers and pumps or Converse. I mostly buy vintage from eBay. I like to keep my fringe sharp and go to a great Japanese hairdresser in London called BHC as they do very precise cuts.

At the moment I am five months pregnant, so it is a becoming a matter of ‘whatever fits’ to be honest! I’m sure there’s a gap in the market for maternity wear that’s a little more unique.

Your most unforgettable restaurant experience?

My husband and I visited Southern India a couple of years ago and hired a private boat to explore the backwaters of Kerala. The chefs on-board were amazing and served up delicious fish curry, okra (which the chef called Ladies Fingers), a dish called Pachadi made from yoghurt and coconut and chapatti flatbread. It was amazing to have this beautifully cooked meal while sat on the deck of an old wooden houseboat, drifting through the backwaters of India.

What inspired your latest book? Why Elvis?

I first became interested in Elvis around 15 years ago, when I was flicking though a magazine and was stopped in my tracks by a photo of Presley - who was, and still is, the most visually stunning person I have ever seen! From that point onwards I was hooked and I speedily booked a ticket to Memphis to write an academic paper on Elvis and his Graceland home. This was the starting point for my Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits book, which looks at the way Elvis styled his homes, the clothes he wore, cars he drove and, of course, his iconic hairstyles.

Elvis really appealed as his influence on contemporary culture and style is still so apparent. You can see it everywhere, from the rockabilly street styles right up to the catwalks of the high-end fashion houses.  There have been many great dressers throughout history, but very few that still continue to have the relevance that Elvis maintains.

What are you most excited to experience in Memphis?

I’m really excited to be returning to stay in the apartment that Elvis lived in as a teenager in Lauderdale Courts (now called Uptown Square Apartments). The two bedroom apartment can be rented overnight and the owners have done a good job of recreating the style of décor that would have been used when Elvis’ family lived there in the late ‘40s/early ‘50s. We stayed there previously while I was researching Elvis Style - waking up in Elvis’ teenage bedroom was incredible and very surreal! Last time I was in Memphis I also wrote a magazine feature on the best places to eat Barbeque and discovered Cozy Corner, which we’ll definitely be returning to.

I’m also really looking forward to my Elvis Style book signing at Lansky Bros in the Peabody Hotel. It’s the first time I’ve done a signing outside of my London hometown and it feels like a privilege to be hosted by Lansky Bros, who had such an impact on Elvis’ own style, inside the Peabody Hotel, where Elvis signed his first contract with RCA.

Every home cook needs ____.

A Magimix. I was recently given one as a gift and it makes pastry in about three minutes, so I’m currently going through a phase of making fruit pies. It also chops up a pretty professional looking salad in seconds.


How does your work fuel your fashion and design outlook?

That’s a funny one actually! I’ll often become so engrossed in what I’m writing about, that I start to morph into my subject. For example, when I was researching the chapter on Elvis’ style in the 1950s, I started wearing more rockabilly clothing and brought a couple of lovely swing dresses. I’m currently researching a book on country music fashion and have built up a whole wardrobe of country & western shirts. It’s quite comical to see – people will soon not even have to ask what I’m working on as they’ll be able to spot it a mile off! I love writing and being able to really immerse myself in a subject and that comes through in my personal style.

I think in a strange way my fashion journalism work has made me want to steer clear of anything too on-trend. Maybe seeing the breakneck speed with which trends come and go has made me want to cut back on my own shopping. I like the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood’s philosophy to “buy less, choose well, make it last."

How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences (the mantra of Caramelized)?

I try to do something for myself everyday such as a yoga, swimming or spending some time practicing playing the banjo. I also love cooking with my five-year-old daughter – she does a mean fruit nest meringue! As she gets older I hope I can pass on recipes from my grandma and stepmother. I like that sense of lineage that family cooking provides.