The Marie Claire Fashion Director and American Express invited a select group of cardholders to the Hearst building yesterday for an American Express Platinum Cardmember event. The occasion? Celebrating the release of her fourth book, Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What To Wear For Every Occasion.
I got to chat with Nina for a few minutes before she went to mingle with everyone. In a nutshell:
1) She’s not going to write a book about maternity style. (She should, because she looked great. She’s having a second boy.)
2) Her one rule of personal style? Stay true to yourself and don’t follow trends just because they’re trendy.
3) Ruben Toledo did the illustrations for her book, and they are really whimsical and beautiful. Nina thought photos would start to look dated, and luckily Ruben is a good friend and agreed to do the book. (He’s done her other books as well.)
4) She absolutely, unconditionally refused to tell me who the Project Runway winner is. I sulked briefly.
The all-female crowd was decked out in their finest. I saw lots of sparkle, lots of Chanel bags, and lots of ladylike shoes. Linda and Debbie, two sisters from Memphis, were very charming and excited to be there. Linda was wearing a classic camel sheath dress, brown pumps, and a handbag screen printed with the NYC skyline, all of which her mother had worn 50 years ago. Very Mad Men, and very chic.
In addition to plenty of photo ops, a signed book, and Bergdorf Goodman gift card to take home, Nina presented the audience with a mini fashion show featuring ten occasion-specific looks. (Everything was from Bergdorf.)
The job interview look was a modern charcoal suit. Nina said even if you’re applying for a fashion job, keep it neutral and don’t go too over the top. (So apparently the knock-off Balenciaga booties I wore for my Fashionista interview were ill-advised. I just recently learned that Lauren noticed them, too. Thank goodness I was not judged harshly.)
Next we moved on to a concert. The outfit was a leather jacket and waxed skinnies, which elicited some grumpiness from the audience. When Nina said that “big angry heels” were on their way out, the room erupted with cheers. (Really? They’d rather have kitten heels? Not me.)
When it comes to a baby shower: pastels and ruffles.
Shopping? A fabulous trench, J.Brand cargos, and simple ballerina flats will do.
Hosting Thanksgiving was next, and it included an impossibly chic gold dress and Miu Miu jeweled flats.
Herve Leger was the choice for a night out on the town.
A gorgeous Chloe camel sweater and The Row white leather jeans were suggested for brunch. The white pants also threw the audience for a bit of a loop.
For a court appearance (!!): creams and ladylike Valentino shoes.
Divorce or breakup: hot pink Roland Mouret, and NEVER wear any jewelry that he’s given you.
New Year’s Eve: you get a free ticket to go crazy with the bedazzler.
Some of my favorite audience questions:
Q: What is REALLY the correct way to pronounce Marie Claire?
A: They will accept either pronunciation.
Q: Did Heidi’s accent get less pronounced when she moved to Lifetime?
A: It had nothing to do with the move.
Q: Did Nina really want to do Project Runway?
A: She was skeptical at first, and thought it was risky, because the fashion business “can be snotty and clique-y.”
Q: How does Nina feel about magazines v. the internet?
A: She doesn’t think magazines are going anywhere, and thinks the internet gives fashion a bigger playing field.
Q: Can you mix silver and gold jewelry?
I’m happy to report that Nina was a lovely, warm, and charismatic speaker, and had a genuine connection with the audience. There was none of the haughty imperiousness that sometimes comes out in her TV persona. I left the event confident that I could choose a courtroom-appropriate outfit, and easily move on to a nightclub later in the evening.