This week’s style diary guest is the internationally renowned jewelry designer Margo Manhattan. The famed designer is the daughter of New York City prima ballerina Karin Von Aroldingen and goddaughter to ballet master George Balanchine. Her jewelry line has adorned many celebrities from Selena Gomez to Beyoncé and is at the origin of the world famous Red Ribbon label pin for AIDS and the Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer awareness. She is bold, dynamic, and rock ‘n’ roll all the way!
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Margo Manhattan: Rock ‘n’ roll chic.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Manhattan: Loyal, loving, sensitive.
Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager?
Ms. Manhattan: It probably became a little more chic; all in all, I think I was rock ‘n’ roll back then as well.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Manhattan: For a benefit for Gael Greene’s Citymeals, I designed and made a gummy fish dress, and made the outfit look like a mermaid. I hot glue-gunned the fish to the dress and it was so heavy and tight I couldn’t move my legs, so I rolled around on my rollerblades.
Ms: Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Manhattan: I’m pretty true to my style, rock ‘n’ roll chic, for work and going out, and usually sporty-rock ‘n’ roll chic on the weekends when I’m with kids and friends since I’m very athletic and always active.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Manhattan: Can’t live without my jewelry and platforms. Jewelry is my armor that, for me, deflects evil and instantly makes me confident and whole, while the shoes give me the stride and strut to my confidence.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences?
Ms. Manhattan: Karl Lagerfeld, I worked on styling his collection when I was in Paris and if something wasn’t right he would just pull out the sheers cut it up and make it right. That was my inspiration as it made me less afraid of changing something if it was not perfect. Karl is an icon and inspired me with his talent and the way he created styles for different brands, all while maintaining their individual images. I would love to do that!
Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?
Ms. Manhattan: Madonna, I love the way she reinvents herself all the time and keeps it fresh and exciting!
Ms: Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Manhattan: Style is being true to who you are as an individual. Style means being able to put something together and have it work, look great, be who you are, look and feel fabulous in your body type. Style isn’t something you acquire, you either have it or you don’t. Style is being confident with who you are and being able to accentuate your assets. Anyone can just pick up a magazine or an outfit from a shop window and wear it, but style is when you can take those pieces and make it your own. Style is an individual creative process.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of?
Ms. Manhattan: My Chanel watch.
Ms. Eschapasse: What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Ms. Manhattan: I would pay a lot of money for fabulous gems to design incredible pieces of jewelry, adventure, and travel. I wouldn’t pay extravagant money for wines or expensive dinners.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel?
Ms. Manhattan: I want to feel confident and sexy.
Ms. Eschapasse: Which designers can achieve that?
Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?
Ms. Manhattan: You never serve anyone by being like everyone else. “To thine own self be true.”—Shakespeare. Dare to be who you are!
Favorite color: Hues of blue
Favorite perfume: Michael
Favorite restaurant in NY: Too many to choose from
Favorite drink: Sambuca for the moment
Favorite movie: “Sleepless in Seattle”
Favorite book: “Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho
Favorite quote: “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” —Coco Chanel
Sibylle’s “Style Diary” is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.
Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy!: a New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at [email protected]