style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
Today, I’m sharing my recent interview with a very special lady.
She's an icon in the Couture Department at Neiman Marcus in
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where she has been helping women look fabulous for almost 20 years. She has incredible style and is one of
the loveliest women I know. I've had the sincere pleasure of being her
co-worker and also have the honor of calling her my friend.
I'm so pleased to introduce…
Loro Piana Brand Ambassador and Personal Stylist.
I asked Robin to tell us a bit about her background…
I've been with Neiman Marcus for just about 20 years. I was hired as a brand manager for Giorgio Armani black label which I loved for 15 years.
I was responsible for buying for our store, merchandising our shop, and making sure the product was sold by all of the associates, myself included.
About five years ago, I became disenchanted with Armani (the quality
and product were not what they once were) and took over the Loro Piana brand. I'm responsible for much of the same. As the Loro Piana brand ambassador, I'm proud to say that our business has grow consistently and substantially.
Kristen: When did you know that you wanted a career in fashion?
Robin: My mother says I came out of her womb asking for a new outfit. So that probably gives you a good idea. As a child I was always creating outfits out of bath towels, scarfs, blankets... anything I could find in our home. I was also sketching dresses and outfit ideas all of the time. In high school, I got a job working in a very cute boutique and became quite a successful salesperson.
It was at my next job in a boutique called "Elegance by Edythe" that
my boss "saw something" in me. One day, he handed me a piece of paper with a very large number on it and explained that he wanted me
to go to New York and select merchandise to make his store "cool" and "young" and "hip". The number on the paper was to be my budget and I must say it was quite large number! I spent almost 11 years at this boutique and became his top salesperson along with being his buyer.
Later, I began to receive phone calls from several vendors and from Saks Fifth Avenue trying to recruit me. While in the King of Prussia Mall one Christmas with my mother and I noticed that Neiman Marcus would be opening a store there soon. I knew I had peaked at the boutique and decided to throw my name into the Neiman Marcus hat.
Unbeknownst to me, the couture director from Saks who’d been offering me "the moon and the stars" to join her team had left and gone to Neiman Marcus. When she saw my name, I did not even have to interview... I was hired instantly.
Kristen: What is the most rewarding part of your job as a stylist?
Robin: Nothing makes me happier than when I see a woman delighted, surprised and sometimes a bit in shock at how she can look and feel. It is
so much fun for me...not to change someone but to take them a little bit left or right of their comfort zone while still maintaining who they are at the core. When I hear that their husbands, friends and family love the way that they look and they tell me they have never felt so good or confident...
this is what inspires me.
And lastly, I'll say that watching people over time become more confident, self-assured and comfortable in their own skin is the most rewarding piece. I guess that goes along with the fact that I build relationships not just wardrobes... I truly love the women that I work with:-)
Kristen: What do you find that women struggle with when getting dressed and building a wardrobe?
Robin: I think it is very intimidating to walk into a large store or even a small store and see an array of merchandise that you are completely unfamiliar with... having no idea about size, cut, designer, etc.
The idea of having to pick pieces, put them together and make them
look like something wonderful is not an easy task. I suppose this is where someone like a personal shopper comes in handy. A good personal shopper will know cut, designer, how the sizes run and what works on
what body shape.
I'll speak for myself right now... I happen to love size-spatial relations,
color mixing, pattern, texture and so I have the most fun with mixing elements and pulling an extraordinary look together.
I think women could become better at this through either using a personal shopper/stylist or just being more confident.. be a little artistic, look in magazines and experiment a bit.
Kristen: What five things should every woman have in her wardrobe?
1- White jeans
2- Fabulous well cut jacket/blazer
3- Fabulous, fitted, crisp, white shirt
4- Leather pants – black, to be safe
5- An awesome pair of boots
And I know you only asked for five but, I have to say if you don't have great lip gloss and fantastic mascara to complete this picture you're doomed:-)
Kristen: Okay, so please share your favorite mascara
and lip gloss…
Robin: Mascara- Chantecaille Longest Lash. I've tried every brand; this
is by far the best! I cannot get enough! Lip gloss- Here are some of my favorites... Chantecaille in Patience and Sari Rose, Guerlain Kiss Kiss in
Chic Pink. Everyone looks great in these colors. They are similar to lip gloss, but are actually sheer lipsticks.
Kristen: How would you describe you own style?
Robin: I like so many different things but overall I would say clean cut, classic with a big twist... I like a little bit sexy...a little bit romantic and at times, VERY bohemian.
Kristen: What has influenced you the most with regards to fashion?
Robin: I think the biggest fashion influences on me were trips at an early age to Brazil and Paris. I found women to be flawless. They seemed to be born with a sense of style, not trying too hard like we Americans.
Kristen: Who are some fashion superstars you would love to meet in person?
Robin: I would love to meet Carine Roitfeld because she is absolutely stunning. does her own thing and is reported to be very nice. You should watch the documentary about her, it's called Mademoiselle C.
Kristen’s note: if you are unfamiliar with Carine Roitfeld, she is the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. She held the position from 2001-2011. Carine Roitfeld was born in 1954...at 61 years old she is still so chic.
In addition, even though he has made some very anti-semitic, nasty comments, I still think John Galliano is one of the most interesting people
in fashion and one of my all-time favorites...so I probably would like to meet him.
Kristen: Who is your style icon?
Robin: I don't have many style icons. However, if I had to pick one it
would be Carine Roitfeld. And...another person who knows how to style clothing absolutely brilliantly is Neiman Marcus's national fashion director,
Ken Downing. I'm happy to say I've met him several times.
Kristen: Please share your tips for looking great on a beach vacation?
Robin: I think in order to look chic on vacation you should have really clean, simple pieces packed. Absolutely have white: t-shirts, tank tops, jeans. Also, great beads/jewelry, a big beach tote, great sandals, a fun floppy hat and a gauzy sundress. Plus, good skincare products. Lip gloss...
Kristen: What is your ‘go-to’ outfit?
Robin: My go-to outfit is definitely a pair of super skinny jeans, awesome boots, a fitted T-shirt, one of my fitted Loro Piana cashmere jackets, a Loro Piana scarf and a great, large handbag (of which I have several favorites, but my newest favorite is from The Row).
Kristen: What one item should women add to their wardrobes this season to keep their look current?
Robin: A big, amazing (preferably fringed at the ends) lightweight cashmere scarf.
I hope you enjoyed this change of pace during 31 Days of Simple Style.
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If you happen to be in King of Prussia...make a stop on the third floor of Neiman Marcus and say 'Hello' to my friend Robin. She's sure to call you 'Love' and you'll leave feeling more beautiful as a result of just being near her.
Thanks for reading.