Style Iconic: Be your own muse
Style is as style does. And, does the business of being stylish do well with our assembly of icons who are making a difference in the world. Here, we present some of the most stylishly iconic people we know… Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, Glenn O’Brien, Iris Apfel and Angie Dickinson. Their billion-dollar advice and insight will help you propel to dizzingly stylish heights in your own life, too.
Globetrotting Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is leading the style world with her approach to all things impeccable. Thanks to her intuition, world travels and highly successful company, Vivre, others can benefit from her treasure trove of knowledge. We recently caught up with her at Lake Austin Spa to dig deeper into the mind of this generation’s foremost trendsetting guru.
By Lance Avery Morgan
Photography By SEE CREDITS
If fashion and style purveyor Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti was a movie star, she would be constantly flocked by fans for her autograph. Instead, her fame is a simpler one; one lead by her succinct and personal style approach that affects how millions live. And, people still ask for her autograph.
On a quiet afternoon at Lake Austin Spa, Lorenzotti has just breathlessly arrived back from scouting Austin stores for things she can’t find anywhere else. She quickly popped into the requisite stretch of SoCo shops and scored a few finds she may not find in her home of New York. Her pristine eye is honed to quickly capture, absorb and interpret style that most mere mortals would not know how to begin to deduce. That’s part of her appeal – she creates and markets trends so that others can weave them into their lives that can be referred to as a life well lived.
This quest for the best has transpired into a style kingdom led by the company she founded, Vivre, an online marketplace of irrefutable soignée’, as the French call it. “The beauty of life is that you create your own stories. Find it and stick to what you think makes you look great. Style is like great architecture. It just works,” reveals Lorenzotti.
No bigger than a minute, clothed in New York black from head to toe, the woman exudes chic from just about every pore. Here carriage and presence are both seductive and practical and her personality fills a room like a sweet, French-perfumed fragrance. She is very sure of herself, her style and her point of view on the world and no matter how stylish one thinks one is, a thing, or two, or one hundred can be learned from this woman who enthusiastically shares her talents with the world every waking second.
Her continental style can perhaps, in part, be contributed her birth of Swiss extraction. So, it all began early on. She confides that her father was stylish in manners (“very important”) and his thoughtfulness (“also very important)”. Her mother, she says, “had rules, like many women of her generation. And, she was interested in things around her. So was my grandmother, who was the first to tell me if something was either too tight or looked uncomfortable. She would say, ‘it won’t look good if it doesn’t fit well and the same goes for the home.”
Lorenzotti’s highly sharpened “get it” factor has helped pave the way for success with her many magazine editorial styling credits, founding Vivre.com, her own jewelry line; V By Eva for HSN, and recently, co-starring in Lifetime’s Project Accessory, a spin-off of the hugely successful Project Runway. She has parlayed her own sense of style into a growing empire with Vivre’s well-chosen clothing, accessories and objects d’ art that are available to anyone desiring that extra “oomph” into their personal style portfolio.
“I think consumers are confused now – there’s just too much me-too-ism. Brands are being too safe and really, very few brands have a real voice. Without a voice it becomes simply another product – at a rapid pace. The few, little creative companies manage to make a difference and then… they get bought and automated. Steve Jobs said ‘Create for one and appeal to millions. Create for millions and appeal to none.’ I am big believer of that. That’s why I love doing what I do,” emphatically states Lorenzotti.
She’s taken that creativity for a spin in Central Texas, because as she says, “For me, a city is about its soul. It’s the vibe. To me, Austin has an interesting soul because New York’s tough – it is a difficult city to penetrate because there has been so much money and run by the financial realm, you know? It can be sometimes be difficult to be creative there, but your area here is different.” She goes on to day, “I went to the Kendra Scott’s store, and to a candy store on Congress, the Big Top Candy Shop. It’s not at all like Dylan’s Candy Bar that I know in Manhattan. I loved it and it’s a concept that I’d love to take and bottle. It has every candy you can imagine. The way it is presented with the cigar boxes, with the crystal boxes being so interesting and no matter how old you are, you can’t help but love it. Then, we went to Lambert’s and had a drink at the San Jose Hotel afterward. It’s very chic here.”
And, Lorenzotti knows from chic. Life is much more fun when it’s not perfect because nobody’s perfect, she feels. She references, and it reverential, to designer Jean-Michel Frank who says, “Perfection is measured in millimeters not centimeters.” Lorenzotti feels that it is the millimeter that makes the difference between good to great. “It should look easy and natural. The reality is that it is never natural because of the work that goes into it… because it’s passion. Anyone who creates something that looks easy is because they’ve done the work to make it look effortless and it never was.”
Working with over 500 brands by now in her career, she has both brought back talent to popularity and discovered them, too. “I will always do that. I want to be able to create for people that sense of confidence where individuality is style,” she states. “Fashion is not style. Fashion is a moment. Style is forever. I feel that good fashion becomes style, so find your confidence in great people who inspire. Make it all encompassing. Focus on the home, table, gift, objects, so that it will be a process.” Lorenzotti’s mission is clear: make this world a more substantially stylish place in which to live.
For Eva Jeanbart- Lorenzotti, life is truly quite simple: either it is interesting or it is not… and the lines are never blurred. “Two woman walk into a room and they are both beautiful and well-dressed. One you look at from head to toe and you know exactly where she bought everything, and the other one you don’t. You think, hmmm, what does one have that the other does not? Who are you going to be more captivated by? Of course it is the woman where you don’t know how she pieced her look together. The reason you can’t quite figure it out is because of its subtly. These are pieces that are not part of the “It” factor. If it is in an ad, I say don’t buy it as you see it. Instead, find a way to make it your own.”
She brings this entire point of view with everything she pursues. “My whole philosophy rests on a life of collection versus a life of buying. My holding company is called Voyager Spirit, which has nothing to do with traveling, but is a state of mind,” states Lorenzotti. “I am about reaching that person you want to know because they expose themselves all the time to new circumstances and experiences. Sure, they are going to make mistakes and they’ll get up from them and that creates layers. It’s those layers that make people interesting. It’s the same thing in your home and the same thing in yourself.” Whew, it sure seems simple, but how does one execute more style into one’s own world?
“If you are somebody who spends your life collecting pieces, amassing pieces, automatically you are going to stand out because of the way you mix things. You’ll have a story to tell,” answers Lorenzotti. “It’s the same thing with your home so that it won’t feel like it is decorated. Some call it eclectic – I hate that word. It is really style. I love to go to someone’s home and my eyes start wandering because there are objects and things you want to ask about – there is a curiosity. Those people have stories about everything.” Which brings us to Lorenzotti’s personal style preferences.
“My favorite accessory? Either a cuff or a ring. With the way I dress and live, I like to have “good architecture” – good bones with things that I own,’ she muses. “I like simple clothes, of one palette. if a garment is well made, then everything becomes a perfect accessory. There is always one piece that anchors my look for whatever occasion. It could be a great vest one day, or an amazing coat. I like to build around one significant piece. Great style comes from the confidence in what you wear. And, what you wear becomes you. If you carry a handbag that everyone in the world also carries, it’s simply not interesting.”
When I try to convince Lorenzotti, as our chat winds through an afternoon, that style could be as Darwinian as nature versus nurture – that being born with it is so much easier that cultivating, she is quick to reply that “I think style can totally be cultivated. I think that style is an ongoing process. Style starts with good manners. A stylish woman is someone who has a great smile, is gracious, knows how to say thank you. If she doesn’t like something, you’ll never know it. She will still send you a hand-written note. It’s a personal presence and a state of mind.”
How, how, how to pursue that discipline if you are a DIY stylemaker, tastemaker and trendsetter hybrid just beginning on that path? “See, steal borrow and make it your own consistently, she infuses. “Picasso said that good artists borrow. Great artists steal. I’m a big believer that someone who has great style is someone who can walk into a beautiful room like this, pick something up, and then go find something similar and make it their own. She continues, “Because life is an evolution, everything that is good redoes itself. The question is how do you re-see it? I think that’s why we are looking at magazines, reading books, and studying things. It’s that curiosity that consistently looking for more,” exudes Lorenzotti. “That is the process for creating true style. Liberate yourself to have fun.”
FiVE EASY PIECES
I like to add my own aesthetic to pieces like these and am a believer in taking things and making them your own. You can do it, too.
- Pants – Buy three pair of the same pants that you love in button up and cotton styles. If they are well made, they will always work. Try black.
- Great white shirt –Button up and well tailored. A trim white shirt, shoes, pants and your choice of accessories can create the perfect outfit.
- Blazer – Make sure it’s Navy or Black with a classic fit.
- The Little Black Dress – Wear it with heels, flats, belt, and accessories since it is all-seasonal.
- A great statement over piece – that can be a jacket, vest, or coat or anything that can be layered to call your own.
In the realm of home entertaining, Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti believes that a life well-lived is a home well lived. “I do not believe in perfection – I think perfection is boring. Interesting people have imperfections. Interesting objects have imperfections and I love to have people over to get to know them better.”
1. I love Mercury glass tumblers. They are perfect to serve champagne, wine, and tequila.
2. Serve cold soup in glasses. It’s unique and memorable.
3. I enjoy place different types of flowers in glasses of varying sizes and shapes gathered together to form one visual piece instead of a singular vase.
4. Keep cooking what you are good at. For me, that’s pasta with crab or lobster.
5. I always serve ice cream for dessert. With it, we all become kids again. Ice cream served in silver dishes, with toppings, etc. gives your guests a colorful set of choices.