Derek Blasberg chats with us about doing a style show for CNN International, his minimal approach to traveling, and why he steers clear of fashion trends.
Starting this Saturday, Derek Blasberg will be making himself at home in your home. The bestselling author, fashion writer, and newly-minted TV host is launching a monthly show dubbed CNN Stylepremiering on Saturday, April 9. Alongside famed celebrity guests like singer Rita Ora and Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, Blasberg will be traversing the globe lending his singular perspective on topics like fashion, art, architecture, design, and automobiles.
Here, we talk with Blasberg about what viewers can expect to see on the premiere episode, what style means to him, and why he doesn’t follow fashion trends anymore.
Rita Ora and Derek Blasberg on his new show, CNN Style.
How did this show with CNN come about? Derek Blasberg: Elsa Klensch hosted the iconic monthly TV program CNN Style in the 1980s and 1990s, and on the back of style being reimagined for the digital age last year, a new CNN Style TV show was born. The legacy of that show very much informs what we’re doing, but this is a fresh, bold take on things. The CNN Style website is all about peeling back the layers of the worlds of art, architecture, and design, and taking hard looks at the fashion, luxury, and automotive industries to show how they affect the world at large, and now we’re going to bring those layers to CNN’s audience on TV, too. I don’t take for granted how fortunate I’ve been in my career to work with some of the people and brands that I’ve long admired. CNN is iconic, and to be a part of a show that speaks to a world I find inspiring is literally a dream come true.
What can viewers expect to see on the show? DB: It’s hard to imagine the scale, but the show will be seen by over 300 million CNN International viewers around the world, who can expect to see something different each month. The international angle is hugely exciting to me, as the events we’re covering and the people we’re meeting will be from all corners of the globe.
Your show covers more than fashion. Why did you decide to also incorporate topics like art and architecture? DB: I’ve never thought "style" is limited to the way that people get dressed. That word has always meant so much more to me—the way someone walks or holds a paintbrush. It runs deep through all that we do and much that we encounter in everyday life. Through our subject areas of style are art, fashion, design, luxury, autos, and architecture, and we will find inspiring stories, creativity, and meaning that will appeal to our global audience. The launch show on April 9 will be about contemporary art, with exclusive interviews and access at the inspiring Hong Kong Art Basel fair. One of the ways we approach the art fair is through Lewis Hamilton, a race car champion who is super fashion-conscious (even though he often turned up in fancier clothes than me!). In the coming months we’ll be at the Met Ball, Milan Design Week, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and many more exciting places.
Derek Blasberg and Lewis Hamilton eating in Hong Kong for CNN Style.
Which guests have you enjoyed having on the show the most? DB: We have some great guests coming up on the first show: the undisputed queen of the art world, Sheikha Al Mayassa, [sister of the] Emir of Qatar, who talks to us about her role preserving and growing her family’s extraordinary collection of art; the best of British art, Tracey Emin; pop star Rita Ora who is hugely fun; plus Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton, who has found a new passion away from the racing track—contemporary art. But what I’ve always said is that my favorite interview is the one I haven’t done yet. So, stay tuned.
You are always jetting off to amazing locales. What do you always carry with you on board? DB: The only things I’m ever worried about losing are my passport and my mobile phone. Everything else you can fudge.
What fashion items are you wearing this spring? DB: Oh no, when I get asked this question I feel like I’m getting old! In the past few years I’ve been veering toward more classic and traditional clothes. In my youth it was all about a seasonal trend, but now for me it’s about splurging on something bespoke that I will wear for a while… and drag all over the world with me.
The half-hour, monthly show premieres April 9 on CNN International. If you don’t get CNNI through your US cable/satellite subscription, you can watch the show using CNNgo, the network’s streaming service. Go to CNNi.com/go on desktop, CNN’s mobile apps, or through the CNNgo app on Apple TV.