"Who is your style icon?" Cue *Heavy groan and eyes rolling back into the head* I always feel like I'm being deliberately difficult when I answer that question by saying that I think the words 'icon' and 'iconic' are carelessly overused and that in a fashion context so often the same tried and tested answers are hauled out. Yes we all absolutely must swoon at every image of Audrey Hepburn/Jackie Onassis/Grace Kelly and study their past attire as though it were an act of worship.
When pressed by the wonderful folks at Barney's though I decided to give the question more thought and less derision. I do look up to people's style but for some reason, I find it intrinsically difficult to look "up" to women as style role models. Rather it's easier for me to think of people's specific attitude and actions, which is far more interesting than simply seeing them as mere images of style idolatry. They don't necessarily even need to be 'real' as is the case with two of my 'icons' when they manage to spark imagination in their sartorial prowess and possibilities.
Therefore I went ahead and chose the always-awesome Claudia Kishi from The Babysitter's Club books, the deliciously witty author Nancy Mitford and the shrill and strange presence of Bubble (played by Jane Horrocks) in Ab Fab for reasons stated below alongside some supporting quotes/clips and product selections using Barney's vast array of product. I'm never going to be truly into the act of idolising icons but at least I can definitely acknowledge at lease attribute some roots as to why my wardrobe is the eclectic explosion that it is.
Love this cartoon strip on Sadie Magazine in homage to Claudia Kishi.
Claudia Kishi was one of the first style heroines, which I physically remember reading about, folding down every page that mentioned her outfits in those Babysitter’s Club books. I blame Claudia for all my failed DIY attempts at tie-dyed t-shirts and patchwork overalls. I also hold her responsible for my obsession with all things neon, very high and lopsided ponytails and strange silhouette combinations. I feel like Claudia would appreciate the fact that I managed to combine Lahssan x Façonnable stripes, Marc Jacobs florals and a whimsical Current/Elliottcloud print all into one outfit. Claudia normally rocks a side ponytail with a neon scrunch but she’d probably appreciate the Kenzo x New Era baseball cap, turned to the side. She’s also in some comfy and practical Stella McCartney neon espadrilles and socks for her art assignments. And of course, she has enough ear holes to accommodate both the Loren Stewartsafety pin earrings in one ear and the Jennifer Meyer “C” stud in the other.
A quote from The Babysitter's Club: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls:
“I think clothes make a statement about the person inside them. Also, since you have to get dressed every day, why not at least make it fun? Traditional clothes look boring and are boring to put on. So I never wear them. I like bright colors and big patterns and funny touches, such as earrings made from feathers. Maybe this is because I’m an artist. I don’t know. Today, for instance, I’m wearing purple pants that stop just below my knees and are held up with suspenders, whit tights with clocks on them, a purple-plaid shirt with a matching hat, my high-top sneakers, and lobster earrings. Clothes like these are my trademark."
On rainy days, I like to whizz through all of Nancy Mitford’s deliciously witty, guilty pleasure novels. I’m really drawn to her matter-of-fact haughtiness and her wry sense of humour. She peppered her letters and novels with references to Dior and the wonders of the New Look so I’ve given her something equally elegant to entertain her marvellous “set” in the shape of aBalenciaga ruffled skirt and a Lanvin vest with a Haider Ackermann shirt. I feel like she might have thought jewelry needed to be either really, really ostentatious or quite discreet, so I’ve gone for the latter with a pair of Finn diamond studs and a Cathy Waterman collar. Naturally she has a Smythson bag and notebook. I also like the idea of the pair of delicate Manolo Blahnik lace flats. All the better to help her run like her flighty “Bolter” character.
A quote from Nancy Mitford's letter to her sister Diana, written from Paris on 4th September 1947:
"Yesterday I stood at Dior for two hours while they moulded me with great wadges of cotton wool & built a coat over the result. I look exactlylike Queen Mary -- think how warm though! Ad [a cousin of the Mitfords] says all the English newspapers are on to the long skirts, & sneer. They may, but all I can think of now one will be able to have knickers over the knee. Now I'm nearly fifty I've decided to choose a style & stick to it, & I choose Dior's present collection [Christian Dior's second collection, which kept the nipped waist of the New Look, but had longer and fuller skirts.] Simply, to my mind, perfect..."
No, my nickname Susie Bubble was not in fact derived from Ab Fab’s character by the same name although I can see why people think that. That said, it doesn’t stop me from naturally gravitating towards the zany Bubble, played so brilliantly by Jane Horrocks. Nu-rave pixie, Napoleonic chic and errr… Teletubbies—she’s tackled a plethora of themes making her the ultimate fashion schizophrenic. I’ve put her in her natural candy floss palette with a Rhiédaisy print jacket, a bit of wafty white Comme des Garçons, a swingy Antipodium silver skirt and a ditzy Marni top. I thought she might appreciate the poodles on the Adidas x Jeremy Scott shoes or the flat bow Pradas, worn with silver socks of course. Eddy keeps Bubble mostly locked away in her Holland Park basement but should she venture out, she might want to pop on the Karen Walker sunnies and take with her the pearlised Edie Parker clutch. Pink tutu optional.
All products shoppable on Barney's