We all have this idea that fashion is ephemeral. And in some regards it absolutely is. We buy something that catches our eye in a magazine, in a store, on style.com, we wear it a few times, and then it goes into fashion purgatory never to be worn again. Or never to be worn until it gains some vintage cred or stages a comeback a decade later.
But when I was working at Barneys I knew I would be spending a large proportion of my disposable income on clothes, and I wanted to be smart about it. If I was going to splurge, it had to be on things I would wear for a long time, not just a season. And so I trained my eyes to look for classic pieces. And suddenly I saw them everywhere - a perfect army green safari jacket at Givenchy, a navy crew neck sweater at Celine, a black wool a-line skirt at Alaia, brown leather jodhpur boots at Balenciaga. Eighteen months later, I still wear nearly every single piece of clothing I bought during that time, despite living on a farm in the middle of the English countryside.
In fact, this method of buying great quality classic pieces made by the world's best designers has stuck with me. When I look at runway shows, or fashion magazines, or racks of clothes in boutiques now, my eye starts scanning right away for the timeless pieces in the collection. I tend to skip right over the prints and the ruffles, and look for that perfectly simple piece that will last a lifetime.
|Carolyn Murphy by Mario Testino for Vogue. I love the 70's vibe.|
|Natalia Vodianova channeling Lauren Hutton's classic American look for Vogue. All she's missing is the gap between her teeth.|
|Tonne and Grace, the fashion makers, keep it simple in chic, black silhouettes.|
|Here I am at Paris fashion week two years ago. Of all the clothes I have been photographed in over the years, this simple, classic outfit got the most coverage and commentary.|
|This photograph that Vanessa Traina brilliantly styled for T Magazine really caught my attention. The clothes are so straightforward, but the slightly edgy hair and jewellery makes it new and interesting, yet still classic.|
|Daria for Celine. She kills me every time.|
|Sofia is my classic fashion muse - she wears Vuitton, Celine, Alaia, Marc Jacobs, all in the most timeless way.|
|I liked Claiborne Swanson's portraits for Ferragamo. This one of Lauren Santo Domingo stood out. I love that she could make my grandmother's favourite shoes look cool, but still classic.|