Last night stylist Rebekah Roy of Stylist Stuff gave an outstanding talk on personal style as part of the current The House of Viktor & Rolf exhibition.
It took place in a workshop area sectioned off from the main exhibition and one thing is for sure - The Barbican doesn't know fashion. Rebekah's talk was a clear crowd puller. I luckily got there ahead of the crowd to get a seat with a great view to appreciate her talk.
During the talk by Rebekah many quotes flashed up behind her on the wall. The first one was a choice remark by Style Bubble of which I failed to capture on paper but Stylist Stuff will be posting the quotes used during the talk.
The essence of Rebekah's talk was love what you wear. Wear what you love and wear clothes that are a reflection of you. Rebekah really nailed the fact that personal style is an expression of the things you like and hang what anyone else thinks.
But she conveyed it so well, full of enthusiasm for getting the individual to trust their own judgement mixed with attitude. The crowd were led down a path that told them to use fashion or clothes to tell a story, for the choices to be a language and a tool to convey your personality to the world and also to have fun.
It was refreshing to step away from the popular dictates of wear this if you are this shape, avoid X and only do Y. The more structured advice was given to free the individual from imposing any constraints. Basically, firstly ignore celebrities and the world of celebrity fashion. Rebekah rightly pointed out the fact that most often they get paid to wear items (ref Kate Moss interview in US Vogue - perfect product placement regarding her Ray Bans comments - how much did they pay her to say that!).
Equally, try to avoid the pitfalls of archetypes and stereotypes of different looks. Some people use this to define them and Rebekah gave a few examples such as Daphne Guinness and that then becomes a brand identity - a whole other area to talk about!
It was lovely how Rebekah spoke of the body changing as you age and how to adapt with the quality of the cloth to reflect the change in your life stage. All throughout the audience was treated to look changes based on the canvas of jeans and a white t-shirt. Rebekah also picked out items from her rail to tantalise us all with. Some veritable gems were passed before our eyes.
I loved that Rebekah could laugh about fashion but also give credit to it's place in life with some beautiful examples of voluntary work she undertook one of which was with female ex offenders. The fact that someone was given nice clothes and shown their potential by being styled was heartfelt.
I've enjoyed Rebekah's blog for eons, most notably for her handy hints on how to iron shirts - one of my most disliked tasks. Selfishly I needed her talk as when you work on your own as a stylist it can often be hard to give yourself a talking to! Most of my work is personal styling due to the demands of the petit garcon. I don't get to do the editorial and commercial stuff much anymore as a part timer. Rebekah's event gave me some much needed enthusiasm and re-clarification of all I feel and think. A fresh perspective is wonderful.
My only inward smile was her perfect advice of looking at your wardrobe and checking what you've got. Often it is just a matter of re examining items rather than buying new. You see make do style is growing!
I can't stress enough what a pleasurable talk it was. I've hardly done it justice. Rebekah gave so much more. It was lovely to meet her in person not just in the blogosphere. I made a real effort to go as was rather tired after France and mightily glad I did.
The only downside was the photos - not only do I take a dreadful photo, I really need to learn to pose properly. But Susie Bubbles comments of nice food in Normandy came back to haunt me. Forget vintage clothes darlings I'm looking to a vintage diet - cabbage soup!!