The power of a great outfit to turn that frown upside down cannot be underestimated. Here, six people with a strong sense of style share how fashion gives them all the feels
Six stylish folk on how fashion makes them feel
What items of clothing always put a smile on your face? I can’t go past a beautiful tailored blazer and my favourite denim jeans. It’s my go-to outfit for so many different occasions and always makes me feel my absolute best. I pair this look with gold jewellery that I have a personal connection with, either a gift from family or friends, or a special piece that brings back memories. If we were to open your wardrobe right now, what would we find? My wardrobe is very minimal and understated — I’m all about chic staples that are timeless. It’s full of denim, and black, white and neutral items in an array of different textures: silk, linen, cotton, wool…
What’s been your most fulfilling fashion moment? In the past few years, I’ve really perfected my personal style, and I think that’s such an important thing in any woman’s life. Staying true to my style gives me the confidence to live each day to the fullest, rather than being worried that I’m not on trend.
Who embodies happiness for you? Anyone who makes the most of every day and pushes themselves to live their best life. It’s all about embracing the moment and trying to see the positive in a situation. Is there something of cultural significance that has inspired and stuck with you? Paris has always had a special place in my heart for its culture, history, food, language and architecture. Seeing photographs of this beautiful city influenced me from a young age, and now when I’m lucky enough to visit, I feel overwhelmed with inspiration.
Where do you feel most at peace? With my family in
Marlborough — always.
What items of clothing always put a smile on your face? Virtually everything I own gives me some joy and pleasure. Many of my pieces are connected to memories, so every time I wear them, that experience is brought to mind. I say if something doesn’t make you smile, don’t buy it. Shop happy, with people you love, and only buy things that inspire something personal in you. If we were to open your wardrobe right now, what would we find? One hundred percent comedy.
It’s like a waterfall of fabric and concept on the cusp of exploding — your headline could read ‘Fashion designer found dead, drowned in his own clothing’. The vista is confused, with violent juxtapositions of colour and texture, like a Max Ernst decalcomania painting in that there’s a randomness in its symmetry of madness. I like it a little too much — busy wardrobe, busy mind.
What’s been your most fulfilling fashion moment? I’m not sure if this was fulfilling, but World was selling at Paris Fashion Week and we had a gorgeous showroom in a château off the Champs Élysées, across the road from Dior. Every afternoon, I’d walk through the store, and especially the dress room filled with gowns and cocktail dresses priced anywhere between €10,000 and €100,000. It crossed my mind that maybe these pieces were just for show and no one was actually buying them — until the Saturday when I stepped into the dress room to find a virtual shit-fight among some of the most glamorous women I’ve ever seen. I realised then and there that price was not the point. We live in a culture here in New Zealand where the judgement of money is specific and masculine, but there should be no judgement on how you spend your money — enjoy your wealth whatever the level, in the way that suits you best, not in the way that our preconceived convictions and judgements allow. Why buy a bach in Omaha with a mortgage when you can have a freehold Dior gown?!
How does fashion affect your mood? Clothes maketh the man — nude people have little or no influence on society. Fashion does not exist by itself, it only comes to life with a personality in it, and the aim of fashion is to best represent the strongest side of your personality. I use my wardrobe and my practice as a designer to dress and identify the multitude of characters in my personality. Some days I play the role of the bashful librarian, some days the domineering designer and some days the intellectual clown. I find clothing can add a strength of conviction, a confidence or whatever it is you might need to be at your most individual. Is there something of cultural significance that has inspired and stuck with you? Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is something that has continued to plague my imagination, and once I realised that I shouldn’t be trying to see Proust’s world with my eyes but rather see my world with Proust’s eyes, it became infinitely rewarding and infectious across everything.
Where do you feel most at peace? In my wardrobe. The study of my own madness and avarice as a way to dress myself to be an active member of a sane society is the kind of self-flagellation and dark comedy only I can enjoy. Peace can also be a little mad.
What item of clothing always puts a smile on your face? The coat I’m wearing in this photo makes me happy. It’s warm, stylish and made from recycled materials — Scottish wool, paisley shawl and Central Otago rabbit. It was made by Dunedin designer Jane Avery for her brand Lapin, which is French for rabbit.
If we were to open your wardrobe right now, what would we find? When opening my wardrobes — plural — you must be prepared for a bit of everything. You’ll find pieces by
New Zealand and international designers, all in very good condition, vintage, colourful and classic, and made from pure products like wool, silk, cashmere, linen and cotton.
What’s been your most fulfilling fashion moment? I was invited to Wellington in 2014 to attend a film at the City Gallery called Advanced Style, at a screening arranged by Cuba Street vintage stores Hunters & Collectors and Ziggurat. There was a prize for the best dressed, and I won! What a thrill. I was wearing Yohji Yamamoto.
How does fashion affect your mood? Fashion is part of life and positively influences my mood. I think being well-dressed and appropriately dressed makes life easier. My daily dress code is based on warmth and ease, depending on the occasion.
Who embodies happiness for you? My family and friends. My life with Michael, my husband of 27 years before his untimely death 30 years ago, and our children, Andrew and Harriet, was very fulfilling, and my work as a nurse for 55 years brought me great satisfaction too. Maintaining good health also embodies happiness for me.
Is there something of cultural significance that has inspired and stuck with you? Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, which I saw in London in 1963. Art is one thing that makes me very happy and to be on the art advisory committee of the Dunedin public hospital with its magnificent art collection is very rewarding. Ars longa, vita brevis: art is long, life is short.
Where do you feel most at peace? At home with my art, fashion, books, garden and cat called Pinot Gris. There’s so much to enjoy in my own environment and I like reminiscing about the places I’ve seen and the travel I’ve done. Enjoying the present gives me a sense of peace. I’m thankful for all of life’s adventures and experiences.
Beck Wadworth says defining her personal style was a milestonesartorial moment.
“Clothes maketh the man,” says Benny Castles, and we couldn’tagree more.
Pieces that put Kanoa Lloyd in her comfort zone are just the ticket inher downtime.
Style icon Barbara Brinsleygets great pleasure from a wardrobe well stocked and a life well lived.