Friday, 25 July 2008

Stylish evening at Barbican

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!!


  1. It's such a simple idea, to love what you wear and to wear clothes that are a reflection of you but I think it's simply the key to looking your absolute best. It's really the best "beauty secret".

  2. Hi kate-wow, what a wonderful opportunity to have been there yesterday-lucky girl!! Thanks for sharing all the information as well-its true as you get older, you dress more for yourself rather than what others dictate or inform-ie, magazines, designers, friends, other halfs, etc-being true to yourself is the key to owning your own style and shaping it- a really great post!! Trinny and Susannah, take note on what women really want!!

  3. Oh I really wanted to go to that but I completely forgot! Glad you enjoyed it

  4. You both look beautiful!

    What a nice account of a great experience. I really need to remember simple themes when I get dressed. I usually feel I "should" be wearing something else, trying harder, etc. Reading this was really freeing.

  5. You know I'm all about wearing what you want!

  6. What? You look lovely in that last pic, silly girl! Glad you did a nice in-depth post, what a great event.

  7. It sounds really interesting. I think I read about it a while ago, now I wish I had gone. And I still need to go see V&R.

  8. You look beautiful, i'm jealous that you go to go to such an event!

    Thank you for sharing, love your blog as always.


  9. I'm so glad Rebecca gave a good talk.... you both look lovely!

  10. Thank you for all you nice comments - I'm quite an easy going person when it comes to looks but I do think my attack of bird nest hair (thankfully helped by Frizz ease) coupled with 10 days of French wine does come back to haunt you! I'm over it now...

  11. Ack, kicking myself for missing it!
    Sounds like a great night. xx

  12. Sounds like an amazing and empowering lecture. Kudos to Rebekah for staying earthbound, and to you for recognizing and sharing her wisdom!

  13. I feel inspired by your account of the talk! Thanks for the recap and inspiration.

  14. Loved this blog...very inspirational and nicely written. congrats!


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