My Style: Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

Photo: Leigh Keily — Courtesy of Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Hermès for their technique and beautiful pieces and COS for doing the best affordable clothing — but I also hate COS for not selling online and having such limited distribution. Damn you!

Please describe your style in three words.

Sometimes I feel like I have a double life. My professional life’s style in three words would be “black & architectural shoes”. My personal life’s style would be “black & heavy metal”. I need to work on combining the two.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Not feeling confident in their choice of outfit.

Do you believe in role models?

Yes — it is great to have role models, providing you’ve chosen the right ones.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Cotton, cashmere, leather, and fur.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Any combination involving Ugg boots or wearing leggings as pants.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

I am going to say Stockholm for the under 40’s and Paris for the over 40’s.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

A bit of both; a lot of the clothes I have are conservative but my shoes are bold.

What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?

Start with the shoes, and make sure you FEEL good about what you wear.

Celebrities and style...

Have completely destroyed the perception of the fashion industry. The public’s obsession with celebrity fashion is ridiculous, and the fact that they “design” so many collections now has completely devalued the art of fashion design.

One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Shoes… especially shoes by Finsk.

A woman should always look like...

She feels confident in what she is wearing, and her outfit is effortless.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My mother, Sonia Rykiel (I worked for her), and some of my friends, the rock chicks I used to hang out with in London.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I look at the weather, think about where I am going, and choose something that will look good on me and suit the purpose of my day. And I make sure my shoes are pretty cool.

Your biggest regret...

Starting to smoke. But I’ve quit now, so maybe it is not buying that Lanvin dress with the fin on the back when it was on sale at Harvey Nichols for 500 pounds.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are...

You must be confident with the outfit you’ve chosen in order to pull it off. Don’t copy someone else’s style; figure out what works for you. Invest in good shoes, bags, coats, and jewellery.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Checking out the Finsk footwear collection and deciding how many pairs I am going to buy.

We will never see you wearing...

Uggs, Crocs, leggings as pants, and yoga clothing (unless I am going to the gym).

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Well, Finsk, although she is not that new. I love what Aoi Kotsuhiroi does, although each piece is unique and I am not sure I’ll ever get my hands on any. And I am really looking forward to seeing Palmer Harding’s first proper collection very soon.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

Can I be boring and say Audrey Hepburn? I mean, after all these years, there is still no one who comes even close to looking as perfect as her.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her confidence.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My Hermès bag (which has been handed down to me and is over 40 years old), my Hermès jewellery (a present from my husband), and there are a few pairs of shoes: a studded pair from Sonia Rykiel and the Roger Vivier platforms I wore when I got married.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

Ironically, it would be a photo of women wearing no clothes: Helmut Newton’s Big Nudes. His work is my first go-to when I need fashion inspiration, and his big nudes show that you can be wearing anything — or in this case, nothing — and still exude power and confidence.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is...

Her shoes. Shoes are very important.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

It doesn’t have to be, but unfortunately it is. A well-designed pair of shoes will not only be beautiful but will be comfortable too. Being uncomfortable does not look good but that doesn’t mean it is okay to wear yoga pants to work.

Who would you like to see next in €œMy Style€?

Suzy Menkes.

The best word of advice you have ever heard?

“Make it look effortless”, from Sonia Rykiel. I need to make myself look effortless more often.

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