Saturday, October 27, 2012

Style Diary: Stephanie Kaufman, Young Couture Muse

Street Style: Stephanie Kaufman captured during Paris Couture Week
in Miu Miu suit for the New York Times (photo NY Times)
By David Pedroza, Editor in Chief
Now in her mid-twenties, Stephanie Kaufman represents the new generation of young, modern haute couture clients. As one of the youngs clients from the U.S., Stephanie Kaufman supports the fresh, new names of nouveau couture, favoring the visions of Alexis Mabille and Alexandre Vauthier. Stepahnie recently launched, The Collecte, along with business partner, Maria DeLisi-Minichiello. The site is a platform for new designers from all over the globe. Her passion for fashion has led to the building of an impressive wardrobe (which includes rare, vintage couture pieces from Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent), and the acolate of having great style, at such a young age.
The Young Client Front Row (Far Right) Stephanie Kaufman at
Stephane Rolland Couture Fall 2012 (Photo LA Society News)

MTAOS: How would you describe your personal style, and has your style evolved?

SK: Feminine, ladylike, clean lines with a bit of edge. My style is constantly evolving but I’m slowly learning what works for me. When you’re young I think it’s important to experiment with your style, it’s the only way it will evolve and become something that truly represents you.

MTAOS: Who inspires your personal style?

SK: There’s no one person in particular. It could be a vintage photo of a nameless face or a stylish girl in a blog. I love reading street style blogs. If I’m in a rut it will refresh my mind and inspire me to experiment in new ways.

MTAOS:  What was the very first thing that interested you about fashion and made you pursue a career in this industry?

SK: When I left Catholic school I finally had the freedom to choose my outfits.  I went crazy! Experimenting with wild colors combinations, piling on every necklace I owned. I cringe at some of the things I used to wear but it was all part of my process of discovering fashion. I became obsessed long before I even knew it was possible to study design. When I learned that there were amazing programs out there I knew I found what I should be doing.
 Kaufman front row at Julien Fournie Couture

MTAOS: How did you come about in creating The Collecte along with your Co-founder, Maria DeLisi-Minichiello?

SK: We always wanted to work together and create something unique.  We were bouncing back ideas for years and finally came up with a combination of all of our passions. We recognized a lack of opportunity for new designers and wanted to offer a platform for all kinds of designers and artisans.

MTAOS: Do you believe fashion plays an important role in society and culture?

SK: Yes, very much. Fashion can completely change the way you look and feel about yourself and that in turn changes the way you act and how people treat you.
The Red Stunner: Kaufman's first couture purchase
from Alexandre Vauthier  Fall 2011

MTAOS: What was your first haute couture purchase and has haute couture change the way you buy clothes?

My first haute couture purchase was a red knit dress from Alexandre Vauthier’s red collection.  Becoming involved with couture has given me a newfound appreciating for workmanship. It’s really incredible the amount of work and detail that go into these garments. I have to say it has spoiled me.

MTAOS: Is craftsmanship and fit the fore most important thing you look for when you buy clothes?

SK: Fit is so important to me. If it doesn’t fit properly you’ll never feel completely comfortable. The older I get the more I look for and appreciate fine craftsmanship. I’ve started investing in pieces that are classic and well made. I want to build a collection of pieces that I can save and have for years. Although craftsmanship and fit are of utmost importance it won’t completely limit me. If I find a piece that I love then I love! Fashion shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Fitting Time: Kaufman tries on her share of the Alexandre Vauthier
Spring 2012 couture, at the designers' atelier.

MTAOS: You are becoming a familiar face in the haute couture scene, and also the youngest American couture client; has it become important to you to support the art of couture or is it important for a new generation of clients to become supporters of haute couture?

SK: I consider it is a privilege to be supporting couture in any way. It’s such an incredible art form and often misunderstood or underestimated by the general public. They think how on earth could a dress be worth this amount but they don’t realize the amount of work, time and talent that goes into these pieces. I think it’s very important for the next generation to learn about, appreciate and support couture. Without continued support there’s no way couture will continue.

MTAOS: Any beauty tips for young ladies in their 20’s?

SK: Keep your product use to a minimum. Learn what works and stick to it. Also always be sure to wash your face before bed.

Captured Moment: Stephanie Kaufman, as she leaves the Fall 2011,
Dior Haute Couture show. (Photo New York Times)

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