My Style: Barbara Bonner

Portrait of fashion designer Barbara Bonner

Photo: Morgan White — Courtesy of Barbara Boner

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

I’m quite democratic when it comes to fashion — as long as you wear it with confidence, anything goes!

Please describe your style in three words.

Rebel, regal, and romantic.

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

Not checking the mirror before leaving the house!

Do you believe in role models?

I do — and many of the pieces in my collections have been inspired by strong women. For example, the last bag I designed was inspired by Tura Satana, an exotic dancer-turned actress who starred in the film Faster, Pussycat. Kill! Kill!

What are your favourite fabrics?

Lambskin leather (because it’s softer) and python (because it’s wilder)!

Which city has the best-dressed women?

That’s a difficult one! Globalville?

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

It might surprise you that I consider myself quite conservative (but in a bold way).

What are the rules in the way you dress?

My motto is “The best thing you can wear is your skin.”

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Shoes!

A woman should always look like...

A beautiful animal.

Who taught you what you know about style?

The women of my family taught me about style. My maternal grandmother was a circus performer who rode a bicycle around the ring of fire, and the other was a jewellery designer in Verona. My mother was very free-spirited, and all of these women have uniquely inspired my sense of style.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I’m a little bit of an insomniac, so I tend to work out the next day’s outfit in my mind the night before.

What is your biggest regret?

That it took me so long to realise that design was my true passion.

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

How to mix sexiness, elegance, and personality.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I love to shop when I’m on holiday. I’m much more relaxed and can browse in a leisurely style.

We will never see you wearing...

Open-toed shoes with stockings!

Which new designers do you follow and why?

L.G.B. — Nobuhiko Sato draws his inspiration from tribal cultures, and his work can be primitive yet beautiful. I also love We Are Owls scarves for their prints and Eddie Borgo too.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

I’m a big fan of Kate (not Middleton!).

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her attitude.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

I don’t know, there are so many! I have a Valentino trench coat from the fifties, trimmed with antique lace that I love — it belonged to my grandmother.

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

A Mario Testino image of Kate Moss in British Vogue, October 2008, where she’s wearing a Union Jack coat.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Alexander McQueen and Phoebe Philo.

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

Her bra. It really helps to define the shape of the body. Every woman should be fitted properly at least once in her life.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Not necessarily.

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

Thuy Duong Nguyen, the designer of the emerging London brand THU THU. She has such a unique heritage and approach to design.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Modesty won’t get you anywhere.

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