If you’re familiar with Barneys New York–one of the city’s, nay, the world’s, best department stores–then you ought to be familiar with Amanda Brooks. Ms. Brooks, the fashion director, is a somewhat new addition to Barneys, having joined in February. Prior to her position uptown, Ms. Brooks worked as brand consultant for everyone from DvF and Roger Vivier to Chanel and Tod’s. She’s most certainly wise in the ways of fashion. But if that’s not clear from her resume, then just take a look at her personal style–she’s got a closet that makes any editor jealous. Brooks has already done quite a few interesting things at Barneys–see Daphne Guinness, Carine Roitfeld for proof–and we’ll continue watching her work at the Madison Avenue landmark closely.
If you’ve ever read Advanced Style, one of my favorite blogs, then you’re probably familiar with Iris Apfel. Iris is without a doubt one of New York’s most treasured style icons, darting around the city in her trademark spectacles, decked out in accessories while remaining light and effortless. At Monday’s CFDA awards, Ms. Apfel told the story of how she once worked for WWD and earned a salary of $15 per week. True, that was a standard wage back then but we still shudder to think about it. After her time at WWD she began working in the textile industry where she further honed her style and sharp eye for prints, textures and patterns–it’s no wonder she has unmatched style. Before presenting Alexander Wang with his Accessories Designer of the Year award, Ms. Apfel proclaimed that she is indeed a fan of the accessory. All it takes is a Google image search to see that she wasn’t lying.
Back in the day, there were two women designers causing quite a stir at about the same time. One of them, easily a household name, was Coco Chanel and I think we all know how that turned out. The other is slightly more elusive, but equally as important to the industry. Her name was Elsa Schiaparelli and to say she had a flare for the dramatic is most definitely an understatement. While Ms. Chanel was freeing women from antiquated silhouettes, Elsa was making us look at fashion with a different lens–a surreal lens. She’s most known for teaming up with artists like Salvador Dalí: Consider it like the first version of the H&M collabs. Aside from rubbing elbows with some of the finest surrealists, she had a flair for innovation–to Elsa, a shoe could be a hat, a lobster was a perfect addition to a dress and a bow could be just as pretty if it were simply an illusion. So let’s give it up for master of pattern, print and all things hot pink, Elsa Schiaparelli.
Abbey Lee Kershaw is undoubtedly the blogging world’s favorite model. Indeed, her maxi skirts can be seen on dozens of street-style blogs on the web. If you’re not wise to Ms. Kershaw, permit us to enlighten you. She’s as much a supermodel now as any of the other top girls. Her trademark oh-so-coveted grin and gaze have earned her spots on nearly every top runway in New York, Milan, London and Paris. (Of course, it does help if you’re really tall too.) Off the runway, she sports a unique personal style and we give her credit for rolling in maxi skirts, power shoulder jackets and sweet shoes. Abbey Lee, we salute you: Model on Wayne, model on Garth.
Easily one of New York’s most famous icons, Edie Sedgwick made her name in the Warhol era. One of his favorites, she was often spotted at The Factory and starred in several of his short films. In truth, the early part of Edie’s New York life was pretty fantastic and people all over wanted to emulate her style: leotards, chandelier earrings and a generally excessive attitude. However, as her fame spiraled upward, Edie spiraled downward into drug and alcohol abuse. After a tumultuous relationship and her career on pause, she returned to her family in California for some semblance of health and control. Shortly after being married, her addictions got the better of her and she succumbed to an overdose. Still, she’s one of New York’s most cherished style icons. We recommend emulating her wardrobe, not her lifestyle.
Edith Beale, made famous by the Maysles Bros. documentary Grey Gardens, had quite the life before her time in the Hamptons. Like any young woman of a well born family, Edith was groomed to become a member of high society. She debuted at the Pierre Hotel in 1936. As Edith grew older, her family deteriorated and life became more difficult. She spent several years at the Barbizon, a sort of dormitory for women in Manhattan (it still exists in some form today on the Upper East Side) as her parents drifted apart. Her dreams of becoming an actress faded and eventually she joined her mother in their East Hampton estate. The Beales (both named Edie) shut themselves out from the outside world and descended into poverty. After an inspection by the county, Edith’s cousin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis repaired the home to make it livable shortly after the documentary was produced. It was in the documentary that the world got a glimpse of her trademark style–head scarves, an old-money accent and an enviable view on life.