Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Style Diary: The Glamorous Angie Barrett

Angie Barrett shining in Nameen Khan

by David Pedroza, Editor in Chief
Angie Barrett is one of the most glamorous women in Texas. She is a respected philanthropist, art patron, and TV personalities, who has become a social fixture in Dallas with a grand sense of style. Not only does she have a high voltage style, but a personality that is kind and welcoming; She supports several charities and serves on the board of directors for Genesis Women’s Shelter, Children's Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Foundation for AIDS Research (Am FAR), along with other organizations. Angie’s style extends into her Art collection and home in Dallas’s Arts District, which has been featured in magazines for its unique and modern sophistication. Angie shares with us the treasures in her closet and what makes her style so special….

DP: Who is Angie Barrett today?
AB: I am, and always will be, first and foremost a mom to my daughters, Alana and Whitney. That is a constant. Other than that I feel that I am ever evolving, inventing and re-inventing myself. Depending on my mood or what is needed on any given day I am a film editor, Dear Abby, art collector, dog walker, fashion aficionado, ballroom dancer, mediator…But at the end of the day, I’m the same girl from a small East Texas town who used to spend hours in my closet telling my grandmother I needed to “visit” my clothes. A quote from the Duchess of Windsor describes me best, “A woman’s life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience.”

DP: Most woman in Dallas are ruled by conservatism, you seem to have broken away from that train of thought… what inspires you to dress at the beat of your own drum?
AB: I gain inspiration from people, surroundings, travel, books, art, observing and keeping my mind open to receive the imprint. Also, I believe the way you share relationships with the people around you forms your character, personality and self confidence. I have through the years developed a keen sense of personal style that is very empowering. As time passes I feel more confident and happy, more at ease with who I am. I think it is fabulous to be a woman and celebrate our femininity by dressing up.
I am also influenced by the style icons of past decades who had a strong sense of self, represent the importance of personal style rather than temporary trends and enough confidence to break fashion rules rather than follow them. The common thread that runs through each of their lives is that they were groundbreaking in their style and attitude and changed the face of fashion forever, paving the way for others A perfect example is Millicent Rogers ( muse of Charles James) for being the first woman to collaborate with designers James, Mainbocher and Schiaparelli to invent unique pieces exactly as she wanted them…(LOVE that) and for pairing evening gowns by James with Navajo bracelets and gold jewelry or a white tailored blouse and black skirt by Valentina Schlee with pounds of turquoise and silver jewelry. Mona von Bismarck for being the first to be named the “best dressed woman in the world” by Jeanne Lanvin, Coco Chanel, Edward Molyneux, Madeleine Vionnet, and Lucien Lelong (for whom Christian Dior then worked), for oozing glamour and for being fiercely loyal to her favorite designers.(It is said that when Cristobal Balenciaga closed his design house in 1968, she spent three days in bed crying). Marisa Berenson (muse of Halston) for being the first to showcase a Pucci handbag by casually tossing three of them over her shoulder in a shoot for VOGUE, wore a Yves Saint Laurent tunic as a mini dress paired with flat suede boots, layers of cuff bracelets and a gold medallion necklace. Ines de la Fressange (Karl Lagerfeld’s muse until their falling out in 1990) for causing what ELLE magazine called the “French revolution” by pairing Levi’s 501 jeans with Chanel jackets, admitting to “jellybean binges” and for being the first model to engage the crowd. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy for her minimalist style, understated elegance and runway model’s poise. I love the fact that she wore her hair in a ponytail on her wedding day with her simple Narciso Rodriguez gown and showed such style. Kate Moss for wearing what she wants, mixing vintage with other styles of clothing and for breaking the fashion rules.

Angie Barrett making a grand appearance in Atelier Versace Haute Couture Leather and Taffeta Gown

DP: You are a celebrated Art collector… does art influence what you wear?
AB: Definitely. Clothing is an art form like other art forms. It is art that I wear. There are great and unequalled culturally and historically relevant pieces in major museums all over the world. I purchased a beautiful golden Galanos from the show GLAMOUR at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The entire collection was photographed and published under the same title as the show. Throughout history there have been collaborations between artists (or their estates) and designers: Basquiat and Valentino, Warhol and Halston, Schiaparelli and Dali, Takashi Murakami and Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Julian Schnabel and Rei Kawakubo. During NewYork Fashion Week this September there was a distinct melding of art and fashion. Nicholas Ghesquiere, creative director of Balenciaga, hosted the U.S. debut of “Cindy Sherman: Untitled” a series of six images featuring the artist dressed in head-to-toe Balenciaga. Ghesquiere’s runway collection included printed shirts and dresses with quotes from Sherman’s interviews and reviews. Thakoon Panichgul and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte even held their shows at major New York galleries. I use the same gauge for buying clothing that I do for buying art. I ask the same questions and use the same criterion. It’s the message, not the medium, that counts.

DP: Who are your favorite Artists?
AB: My favorite artists consist of the artists whose works I own and also the works I hope to own in the future. They are Dan Flavin, Andreas Gursky, Glenn Brown, Ed Ruscha, Juergen Teller, Lucian Freud, Jonah Freeman, Jack Pierson, Mark Rothko, Thomas Struth, Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, Justin Lowe, Teresita Fernandez, Michal Rovner, Adam McEwen, Stephen Rhodes, Shirazeh Houshiary, Matt Conners, Rivane Neuenschwander, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sol Lewitt and Ellsworth Kelly.

DP: Which designers create clothes that you find your self most comfortable wearing?
AB: My staple go-to designers for comfort and chic are The Row, vince., Carvan, Rick Owen Lillies, A.L.C. by Rodarte, Theory by OlivierTheyskens, Erdem, Matthew Ames, Marni underpinnings (wear them year round), and Yohji Yamomoto.

DP: You have received praise for your extravagant evening choices, such as the leather Atelier Versace gown and other haute couture pieces…What was your first haute couture purchase and what lead you to buy haute couture?
AB: My first piece of haute couture was the “Shipwrecked” gown by Alexander McQueen. I saw it in BAZAAR and was totally spellbound by the sheer beauty and obvious craftsmanship of this garment. I asked Todd Okerstrom (Couture Buyer for downtown Neiman’s) if he could ask Alexander to make the gown for me. He spoke with Alexander who said he would be delighted. When the gown arrived and I tried it on for the first time, I was officially hooked for life. (Do you think there’s couture re-hab)? I wore it to The Art Ball and had the best time and felt… I can’t think of a word to adequately describe the feeling. I have had many couture gowns since, but that will always stand out in my memory. It will be hard to top that experience.

Angie in her bespoke Alexander McQueen Gown, one of the many gems in her wardrobe

DP: Are you specific with what you want in your wardrobe?
AB: Very specific. It has everything to do with how I see myself and is always a reflection of my taste. Clothes are like ideas and opinions that are expressly ours. I try to buy, collect and own pieces that are unique and individual…pieces that others do not have. I NEVER shop with girlfriends and I don’t buy labels so much as looks…more obsessed with the artistic line rather than the bottom line. I do not use a personal shopper because I feel that doing so is tantamount to paying someone to buy their courage. I feel that confidence is very important and it is essential to look and feel at ease with your choices. I edit my closet rather brutally as I re-create and change my style and taste. I am of the same opinion as C.Z. Guest who said, “It’s important to not have too many clothes. Keep it simple. There’s only so much you can wear.” I have always told my daughters and their friends that you really only need to own six things to look chic on any budget. A black cashmere sweater, great fitting jeans, black boots and the best watch, sunglasses and handbag you can afford. (For summer the sweater would be replaced by a long-sleeved white tee and the boots by sandals or ballet flats).

DP: What are your favorite shopping destinations?
AB: Collette, Suite 114 and L’Eclaireur in Paris, Lily et Cie and Maxfield’s in L.A., Dover Street Market and Liberty in London, Bergdorf’s and Takashimaya in New York, Forty Five Ten and Barneys in Dallas

DP: What is the one piece you cannot live without?
AB: The Row leggings in every color they make.

DP: What is the best beauty advice you have?
AB: I’m going to run through what’s in my handbag in answer to this: Deborah Lippmann nail color in Just Walk Away Renee, Weleda Everon lip balm, Le Labo fragrances in Bergamote 22, Iris 39, Fleur d’ Orange 27 and Labdanum 18 (gel instead of the liquid version so you can throw them in your bag). You can layer a couple of them to create your own unique scent., Anthelios sunscreen, Anastasia Brow Gel in Clear, Mason Pearson Popular Mix hairbrush, Cle’ de Peau Beaute concealer in Ivory, Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Stain (makes your lips look like you just ate a cherry popsicle), Gypsy Water by Byredo Parfums, Marvis Jasmine Mint toothpaste, La Bella Donna Enriched Lash Enhancement, John Master Sea Mist (for back from the beach hair), Tarte Ten Natural Cheek Stain, Beauty is Life lipstick in Heavy Pink, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (great for chapped lips), Clinique High Length mascara and the new fragrance Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle. Of course, the basics of drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, exercise and wear sunscreen!

Angie's Closet. Photo by Paper City Dallas

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