Women of Style 2018

Phebe Wahl | August 28, 2018 | Feature Features National

Five Manhattan mavens share their sartorial secrets—and prove that style is a deeply personal pursuit.

YVONNE FORCE VILLAREAL
The founding partner of Culture Corps and co-founder of Art Production Fund views fashion as a fine art.

My most empowering fashion moments have been... participating in Burning Man for the last 11 years. In the Black Rock Desert, I become my fantasy version of myself. Some of my designer friends (Lucy Barnes, Bonnie Young) have collaborated with me to make unique outfits. This has turned into me now making my own garb.
I feel fashion and art intersect because... fashion is my self-made uniform—an armor, a frame and, at times, just sheer entertainment. Both great fashion and art have an element of magic that is indescribable.
I wish my closet was... the Halston archive: sexy, sophisticated, with a pinch of sleaze.
The best style advice I ever got was... DO NOT tone down as you age: Be a pro-ager and further develop your unique style. Get more extreme, not less.

Dress BY Bonnie Young,Spring/Summer 2019; Yoko Ono “DOORS” (2011) Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery; Robin F. Williams “In the Gutter” (2015) courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W, New York

MAYE MUSK
The mogul mom and CoverGirl model proves age is merely a mindset.

I knew I first fell in love with fashion because... I’ve always wanted to dress nicely. [When I was] 15 years of age, my mom sent me to pattern cutting, so I could make my own clothes in the latest styles, like bell-bottoms and tent dresses. These weren’t in the stores yet, but they were in the magazines.
My signature look... changes all the time. I walk my dog in comfortable sweatpants or jeans. When I go out, I dress up a bit. When I’m on the red carpet, my look can be very exciting.
Fashion has played a role in my career because... by remaining fashionable, I continue to work as a model. Who knew I would be the busiest at 70?
I feel most empowered when I wear... clothes that are fashionable and fit me well. They give me a lot of confidence. I have a new Mantu trench. When I wear it, even over workout clothes, I feel fabulous. Also, heels make me walk tall and confident.

JUNE AMBROSE
The fashion stylist to the biggest stars in music and entertainment always hits the high notes.

I started developing my own unique sense of style... from a very early age of 6; I would wear my grandmother’s big ’70s Pierre Cardin glasses to school.
My first major fashion moment was... when I was in kindergarten and I organized my first fashion show.
I would describe my style as... sporty glam.
My signature look is all about... hats and big glasses. What others may use to hide I use to punctuate.
My sense of style has impacted my career because... it’s been my calling card. Clients love my fearless approach to fashion. I like taking things out of context and creating a dialogue with my look. You have to be pretty sure about yourself to play with clothes the way I do. My career in the music and fashion world has afforded me that confidence.
My power wardrobe move is... a cocky suit with a strong shoulder.
Best style advice I ever got was... [to] always show up in character and be prepared to make a statement without uttering one word.

Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

ASHLEY STARK KENNER
From fabrics to fashion, the creative director of Stark Carpet weaves style into all she touches.

I developed my unique sense of style... from a young age. I always picked my own clothing and decorated my rooms.
I would describe my style as... classic with an edge. I love to mix high and low. I love Gucci and the new collections, Prada’s classic nylon [and] Chloé for my bohemian side, and recently I have been loving Miu Miu.
My signature look... is turquoise; I never leave home without one piece of turquoise jewlery.
My style mantra is... to never follow the trends. I use them more as an accent or influence.
My current passion project is... building my dream town house. I bought a very old house that used to belong to FAO Schwarz, and I am gutting it. It has been a dream to do a town house, and I have been loving the process!

WHITNEY CASEY
The Finery founder offers a different spin on fast fashion.

I find it amazing that... in a woman’s lifetime she will spend 10 years of her life getting dressed and shopping. So that’s two years deciding what to wear and eight years shopping. Half a trillion dollars of her clothing will remain unworn.
We are trying to fix that. For me, fashion is... a way to express youself, but it is also a huge time-suck. It should be an expression of your personality and should say a bit about you. But it can say way too much about you if you are spending too much time on it and putting yourself in a debt of time and money because of it.
When I go shopping... I make outfits on the app. Before I buy anything, my minimum is that it has to go with three outfits.
Sometimes I wonder what if... we were not having to do our hair and makeup and spend time getting dressed. How much further ahead would women be? Before an interview, you should spend time preparing what you are going to say, not what you are going to wear.



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