My Style: Elizabeth Saltzman

Portrait of Elizabeth Saltzman

Portrait: Courtesy of Elizabeth Saltzman

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

Protect yourself from the sun, don't wear black all the time (it's too boring), and don't constantly worry about how you look. Style is all about personality; smiling will make people around you much happier than carrying a fancy clutch.

Please describe your style in three words.

Baby pink, classic with a twist, and timeless.

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

Being uncomfortable and not feeling like yourself in that particular moment. You should 'own' your outfit and feel confident. After all it is just armour.

Do you believe in role models?

Of course! I believe in fashion role models. Bianca Jagger in the 70’s, Audrey Hepburn (always), Brigitte Bardot for her beauty, Claudia Cardinale, Charlotte Rampling, Lauren Bacall...the list goes on and on, as I look up to so many people. In a nutshell: everybody that I wasn't! [laughs]

What are your favourite fabrics?

I love fabrics that move, that aren't stiff and that slide on your body. The obvious ones are silk crepe, double-face cashmere and chiffon (although I don't really wear it).

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

No, never! Everybody is different and although there are things I do not like or would not wear, there are people who look amazing in them. I don't really mind if you go out wearing a paper bag with chiffon details on it—if you can make it look good, I am open to everything. It's not easy in fashion to find anything new, as all we are doing is recreating and trying to break the mould. When designers like Raf Simons, Rei Kawakubo, John Galliano, Miuccia Prada, and Tom Ford come up with something fresh, it is so exciting.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

That's hard as I haven't been to all the cities [laughs]! Even though it's a cliché, French women are probably top of the list. Street style everywhere is exciting, but if you want the most classic, simple, no make-up (and no hips!) look, French women own that.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I am conservative for the fashion world and bold for a lot of others. I don't think conservatively, but I probably style conservatively. Although my dream is to be bold, because of Instagram and the paparazzi, people don't have the luxury of being as 'free' anymore with their style; they are instantly praised, slandered or judged. Unless they are in the privacy of their home, people don't have the freedom of taking risks anymore, and that makes the red carpet and any other event slightly less exciting.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

Rules? There simply are no rules… Well, with the exception of showing panty or spanx lines. Rules are made to be broken, so all you have to do is feel content with yourself before you walk out the door. Allow yourself to have fun and be free. As for my thought process, being simple with a hint of sexiness and having a modern look are important.

Celebrities and style...

Are a VERY big business.

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

Powerful jewellery from Verdura to David Webb to Tiffany to S. J. Phillips… Strong passionate pieces that can transform any look. You don't need too much, you just need a couple of greats. After all, I am not a gluttonous kind of person, with the exception of candy.

A woman should always look like…

She is an elegant, strong specimen with a feminine twist.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My amazing parents, Renny and Ellin Saltzman. I was extremely fortunate to have such warm, loving and extremely stylish parents.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

At 6.50am I think about the day ahead, what time I would be done with my day and decide how far my look has to take me. I give myself less than two minutes as I am on a pretty tight schedule with my family (hence all of my flaws!).

What is your biggest regret?

I am not sure I have any huge regrets. I wish I had taken more pictures of all the work that I've done and all the situations I've been in. It would have been great to have more photos to look back on...

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Early in the morning or late at night; never when there is a crowd.

We will never see you wearing...

A plastic see-through dress, ever again! I loved it but my body can't handle it. You also won't see me wearing a meat dress.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Simone Rocha, Erdem, Emilia Wickstead, J. W. Anderson, Mary Katrantzou, and Paul Andrew. There are so many! I admire all of them because it is such a tough business to break into.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

Jackie Kennedy was one of my favourites and I used to see her quite a bit. Also, all the young socialites out there that aren't trying to get Instagram followers but just want to look beautiful. I like people who aren't trying; looking effortless is the hardest thing to do.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

How she greets me.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

Things that I won't get rid of, ever…even though I have a very small wardrobe. A Calvin Klein dress that I have in many colours, a Tom Ford dress from his first collection at Gucci and a Tom Ford look from last season, an Azzedine Alaïa white shirt, a Chanel couture suit, and lots of Michael Kors along with some great Valentino, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta and my Yves Saint Laurent smoking tux from when Yves was the designer. Actually, I don't know, I love my clothes but I have a minimalist wardrobe! But probably my most treasured item is my long gold necklace, I won't leave home without it.

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

There are so many I couldn’t put my finger on it... lots and lots of movies, from Casablanca to Love Story, to Breakfast at Tiffany's...

Which designer never fails to impress you?

That's not possible [laughs]. Oscar de la Renta has been one of my favourites, as well as Azzedine Alaïa. But to impress? I would say Prada because she is never predictable. She is so creative and manages to be ahead of the times – you could say that she moves the times.

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

Her lingerie and her final layer, what you show to the world. The coat, the bag, the shoe...

Is comfort an enemy of style?

No, clothes should be comfortable if they are made well. You can wear a corset and still be comfortable…

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

I love Caroline Issa, Patricia Lansing, and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Stand tall and smile!

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