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Blazing a style trail

By LISA JONES TOWNSEL

July 2014

Fashions by Calvin Klein
Not everyone can be a style maven, but who doesn’t appreciate those who can blend the trendy with classics, flawlessly?

We tapped a few of Milwaukee’s finest style minds to see who they admire when it comes to iconic style. Their choices ranged from the eclectic to the electric, politics to the art scene, and the runway to the red carpet.

Bold and Beautiful

Cindy Molloy, owner of Molloy’s in Fox Point, is all about simple, strong looks that define the person. "You have to wear it, it shouldn’t wear you," she says of fashion. Molloy points to veteran actresses Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon as examples of women who flaunt such verve. "They always choose things that are appropriate for them, not necessarily following a style," she says.

Molloy adds fashion designer Carolina Herrera to the list, too, for her boldly feminine sensibilities on and off the runway. Molloy says their fashion sense reflects personal taste and not what’s fashionable for the moment. "That’s what I enjoy about them most," she says. "Whatever they select, suits them."

Warhol’s Muse

Jordan Dechambre, style expert and blogger, dug into the archives to find her icon: Andy Warhol’s muse Edie Sedgwick.

While her name may have faded from the headlines, the late actress/model’s face — with the pouty lips and pixie cut — was often the focus of Warhol’s work.

Her silhouette was wiry and uninhibited. And Dechambre calls her the "epitome" of glamour. "Whether she was wearing a mod shift dress, opaque black tights and ballet flats, a boy-meets-girl newsboy cap with her signature shoulder-grazing chandelier earrings, or an ultra-glam statement fur coat, she wasn’t afraid to be the center of attention," she says.

The young socialite died in 1971, but her spirited style didn’t. "You’ll still find gals imitating this Warhol muse’s iconic style, complete with charcoal-rimmed eyes, plush fake eyelashes and blonde pixie cuts," Dechambre adds. "Her style was a reflection of her yearning for and celebration of the glamorous 1960s New York party scene."

First Lady of Style

Fashion and beauty consultant Florida Perry Smith went all the way to the White House for inspiration. Smith says it’s first lady Michelle Obama whose look is top-notch in her book.

Smith calls Obama’s style relatable and approachable. Moreover, she says she appreciates her fashionable mix from designers ranging from Jason Wu and Michael Kors to Zac Posen and Tracy Reese, and that she finds ways to make retail brands like J. Crew look chic.

Though a high-powered personality, Obama doesn’t shy away from the trendy, either. "She’s not afraid of wearing brights, prints and lace," Smith adds. "She has a great spin on wearing flats and cardigans, and she loves her belts and jewelry. She sets the tone for the world to say that you can wear what you want."

Style Setters

Patti Aversa of the upscale Aversa clothier in Bayshore Town Center says there’s no one person who defines iconic style for her. "Certain women throughout the decades have had a great sense of style and influence," she says, sure to include the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Julia Roberts on such a list. "No matter the age of the woman, she always has a way about her when she’s dressed in a classic manner."

But Aversa says the ’80s marked a defining moment in fashion, when designers like Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Armani inspired a generation to look their best. "They were pretty influential," she says. "They all stayed true to themselves and kept a piece of ‘tailored-ness’ throughout the years."

Sticking to that formula works in retail, too. "That’s what we do in our stores. It’s not so much about mimicking someone else," Aversa insists. "I think fashion is how women interpret it. Everyone has their own style."

 

 

 


This story ran in the June 2014 issue of: