When I first moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan I feared I would be terribly lonely as I would be so far from the maddening crowd of my city friends. Nobody traveled to Brooklyn. Not even me! My poor darling friend Jana had moved to Park Slope a few years before, and I'd only been there twice. But our space was getting small, the children were getting big. We had not planned on having twins. We planned on staying in our cute little apartment. Life just sort of took us by surprise. So we took a big gulp of air, and we hopped the Brooklyn Bridge and dove in to the wonderful surprises of Brooklyn. That was 2003.
What I didn't count on was all the new friendships I would make. And fast. Here in Brooklyn I found friends from around the world. A lovely blend of Europeans; Danish, Dutch, German, Canadian, Spanish and The English. The last of which brings us to the subject of this post, the charismatic, joyful and always a pleasure to visit for a cup of tea, the lovely Victoria Sullivan.
Stevie Nicks floral gypsy Dress from 1ofaFind, Boots from (GEOX, the breathing shoe)
Military Shirt, vintage( hsuband's ebay find)
Victoria has an amazing sense of style. I love going through her closet to see what she's found. In fact, when I needed to go out to a very fancy dinner last year I found myself dressing up in her lovely vintage pieces. I thought it most appropriate to share with you some of Victoria's secret finds, and inspired thoughts on how she ticks…
1. Victoria, you are this amazing person who manages to run a household, from top to bottom, chauffeur your children around, do the shopping, have the most scrumptious meals cooked and ready to go by 6… and at the same time run a business with your sister, Charlotte (they run White Rabbit England, where they sell children's nightlights), not to mention.. but I will, renovate a turn of the century brownstone into an amazing showcase of personal style that reflects yours and your husbands (Nick Sullivan of Esquire Magazine) interests in history, military, travel and just plain impeccable taste. Oh and if you couldn't be even more inspiring with all that, half of the furniture in the house, are pieces that you've found, stripped and renovated all by yourself! All this and you always, ALWAYS, look quite stylish. How do you manage it all!!???
Oh stop it.. your going to make me vomit. I don't know.. I make lists. I'm a list queen, and I make notes on my iPhone… it's called the to-do list..
But How do you stay motivated?
I'm a control freak, I have to be in control, so I make lists, and I think about it the night before, organizing my list and prioritizing it, so the next morning, I just go through the checklist.
But I am giving my self a break.. now for the first time in a while, I have a cleaner… That just opens it up a little more for me.
2. To me, your look is effortless, mixing old with new, expensive with bargains, and merging tradition with pop-culture. Where does this all come from? The inspiration.
It came down to not having any money. How to do something because you don't have the cash to buy it. Comes down to cash flow. Because we bought a house, and the renovation. You want it, you can't have it, so you have to find a better way besides stealing… It gives a sense of achievement.
3. I've seen you walk into places, and you pick things up, try them on, put them back.. moving systematically, finding things I wouldn't have even noticed. Things that don't look like they would work, but then you adjust it here and there, throw on a belt, pair it with boots, and then you have this great outfit. Have you always been like this?
No I don't think so. Those fashion and hair disasters. You are not getting any images of me from the 80s'. I always "f" up at weddings. The bigger the event the worse it is.
4. Who or what inspires you the most?
British Vogue.. I look through it, and see what's in… and do my own take. No particular designer or person. Just all fashion, models, and photography. My sister bought be a subscription for Christmas when I was young, and I cut out pictures and put it in a book.
1980's collarless tuxedo jacket: Issey Miyake, from 1ofaFind (prospect Heights, Brooklyn). Top: H&M, last season.
Pants: TopShop: this season. Purse: Pierre Cardin, from 1ofaFind.
black fishnet stilleto booties from Dolce & Gabbana (2 season ago)
5. What is your favorite store to shop in? Or do you have more than one.
When it comes to cheap; Target, H&M, Zara, Top Shop.. But I like my vintage.. oh and stoop sales.
6. What are your favorite designers?
Isabel Marant (http://www.isabelmarant.tm.fr/), Bottega Veneta (http://www.bottegaveneta.com/us/en/), Elizabeth and James, Helmut Lang, Valentino… the old classics… Lanvin
7. What items do you splurge on, and what are the better items to save on.
Shoes and boots, coats and diamonds: splurge.
Fashion statements, don't spend a lot of money on… go cheap. H&M.
I only buy vintage handbags. I hate designer handbags, and labels showing.
8. What are your favorite trends this season.. what do you have already, and what do you still want?
Fur, fur and fur! Have it. Don't need any more right now. I have an old brown mink, my grannies ocelot, a grey rabbit, a big fur Mongolian lambs wool millet.. (all vintage), a rabbit millet, an astrocan, lambs wool… I think that's it. All vintage.
As for Leopard, I do accessories rather than wearing it. The purse I have is vintage, from my mother.
..and hats. For me it will bet he bowler.. a take on the British bowler hat.
I would love a vintage Chanel handbag. And A vintage YSL black tuxedo.
9. What trends would you like to see disappear?
Kilts, tartan, and plaids. I want to get Florence (her daughter) a plaid skirt, but not for me.
Oh, Ugh boots.. the old ones. They have to die. Good for the house, not outside.
Yea, I agree. I don't think I'll wear mine out in public anymore, even with the DIY studs. I'm over studs too... not completely, but mostly. It's got to be special.
10. So you know in the back of the magazines, when they interview someone, they ask "What do you carry in your purse?" Well...
I don't normally carry a bag, and I don't put much in it.. Things like tic-tacs, my mason and Pierson hair brush, smith's rosebud salve, Dr. Feelgood from benefit, Stila convertible color in peony, and a pen. oh and yes of course my iPhone. That's it.
11. What are your favorite magazines? I know you love magazines!
Vogue, elle décor, vogue, elle, Harpers, domino…
12. What would be your best style tip for a young girl trying to figure out her look.
13. What are some of your favorite items in your closet.. ones that you will go back to forever.
The Fur! Sequins. A floaty flowery Marni dress. Love floaty dresses. My Philip Lim sequin jacket will always be a classic.
Glitter evening jacket Jacket: Philip Lim
Top as dress, from H&M. Lovely pointy sleeves
Pleather leggings: Target 29.99
Crocodile kitten stilettos: Dolce & Gabanna, 3 or 4 years old.
14. Tell us what you did before you settled down (LOL) got married, and had kids? Before White Rabbit England.
I had my own production company called the Factory producing high end fashion shoots, for people like photographer, Tim walker, who does all the vogue shoots now, and Mario Testino.
15. What do you most miss about England
My mother and my sister, and my friends...
And walkers crisps, pickled cockles, fish and chips, mushy peas, the style times magazine.
16. What couldn't you give up about Brooklyn & Manhattan?
17. What do you think are the biggest differences between New York style and English style?
The difference is that, here anything goes. You can go OTT, in top hat and veil and fur, and no one blinks an eye. Where as in London, you will be looked down upon as being a wanna-be… you'd be judged for being too fashiony. Here people like that.
Like if I went back home in my leather trousers and fur coat… I don't know. But I will… I might be wrong. Haven't been home in 4 years.
18. Whose closet would you most like to raid?
Gayle (she has a closet stuffed with goodies that she refuses to bring to the clothes swap) and Daniela, (she's a stylist, so she always has the most amazing treats). Diane Von Furstenburg, for her kaftans…. Mary Kate for her furs.. and Daryl K for her skinny pants.
Yeah, it would be nice if Gayle could come to our annual clothes swap. Hopefully Daniela will!
19. Ok, last question. Whose your best friend now?
You are, you nutter.
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