My Style: Claire Judge

Portrait of fashion designer Claire Judge of Aloe

Photo: Courtesy of Claire Judge

Which city has the best-dressed women?

London! I love the way London girls are cool and adventurous with their style. London fashion derives more from the street than from the catwalk. I love how English style mixes conservatism and eccentricity together.

Please describe your style in three words.

English, Chinese, vintage.

Do you believe in role models?

Not really, I think everyone should try to be their own role model instead of looking at others.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Good quality, washed silk. It’s so light, soft, supple and beautiful to wear. It feels like a second skin. I also love black silk velvet.

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

Starting with shoes. I always start with lingerie.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Isn't that what style is about? Creating your own combinations and individual style. Anything goes nowadays.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Conservative with a naughty edge.

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

Fabrics must be luxurious and the look should be effortless.

Celebrities and style...

Can inject real personality into a look, more so than models in shoots.

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

Silk camisoles to layer underneath garments. They keep you warm in winter, cool in the summer and a peek of camisole lace adds interest to a basic look.

A woman should always look like...

She's comfortable in her own skin.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My style is personal and instinctive.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

Depends on my mood, what I’m doing that day, and the weather!

What is your biggest regret?

My biggest fashion regret would be stupidly jumping into a swimming pool in my favourite pair of 1960s suede pants and ruining them!

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

Choose quality over quantity, style is not the same as fashion, don’t try too hard.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I could spend hours at flea markets and in vintage boutiques looking for hidden gems.

We will never see you wearing...

Onesies! Just horrible…

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Eudon Choi. I love his mix of masculine and feminine tailoring and his meticulous attention to detail.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

I once saw a beautiful, elderly woman in Saigon wearing white gloves pulled up to her elbows, wide-legged white pants, a white Vietnamese dress, and huge dark glasses being chauffeur driven in a Bentley! She was petty cool.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her confidence.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My mother’s 1950s tailor-made Chinese cheongsam dresses.

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

There wouldn’t be one unique image. As a child, I recall looking at old black and white photos of my mother, her sisters and her aunts during the 1950s and 1960s posing for the camera in Hong Kong wearing crisp, figure-hugging cheongsam dresses with cropped jackets, stiletto heels, and black winged sunglasses. It was a mix of traditional Chinese style and English mod style. I love that mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and it has influenced my style aesthetic enormously.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

I love Céline. Simple, chic, elegance created using unconventional shapes. There is a real strength about the Céline woman. I love femininity with a sense of power.

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

Lingerie! Sexy, luxurious lingerie and undergarments should be part of every woman’s every day wardrobe. You can be wearing slob gear and still feel gorgeous and womanly if you are wearing beautiful lingerie.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Certainly not. Hopefully, my designs make this point.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

To live with no regrets!

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