This week’s style diary guest is Billboard recording artist Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin. The singer, who is releasing a jewelry line via the Home Shopping Network, is no stranger to being stylish. Ms. Vanderbilt Costin, seventh generation descendant of shipping and railroad tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and great-great-great niece of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlborough, has carved her own path through her ventures in music and business.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin: I would have to describe my style as a “work-in-progress.” I’m still trying to nail down a look that works for my career as a singer-songwriter as well as my entrepreneurial endeavors. Depending on what I’m doing in a given day, it ranges from conservative and feminine to outrageous and glamorous.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: Self-deprecating, quirky, and warmhearted.
Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: I’ve come a long way from my teenage years in Mickey Mouse hoodies. I became much more fashion conscious when my music career began, and started dressing with much more of an edge to fit my music … a whole lot of tight jeans and spiked heels. The evolution continues, as lately I find myself leaning toward the elegant and sophisticated—but I haven’t lost my edge!
Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: I once opened up for Asia at the Roxy in LA and wore nothing but chains and a pair of knee-high leather boots.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: For me, style doesn’t live by a calendar. I have days where I dress like a school teacher for an afternoon meeting, and then switch to a “femme fatale” motif for cocktails with producers at night.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: I can’t live without my double-strand graduated pearl necklace, my silver wrist cuff, and my “Flying Pearl” engagement ring. The item that makes me instantly more confident would have to be my interchangeable pearl and diamond ring. It’s a show-stopping conversation piece that could easily double as a weapon.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: Some of my greatest fashion influences range from Madonna to Audrey Hepburn, and from Daphne Guinness to Anna Wintour.
My style icon would have to be Heidi Klum.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: For me, style is an outer representation of one’s inner personality. It’s a calling card to tell the world what makes a person unique.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of? What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: My proudest purchase is definitely my wedding dress. I still look at photos and say, “Wow. … Did I really pick that?” I would pay a lot of money for a stunning evening gown. That’s something you just don’t cheap out on, and the right gown can do wonders for a girl’s ego. I wouldn’t pay much for a hat. Don’t get me wrong, I love hats, but they don’t travel well in my suitcase, and so spending a lot on something destined to be destroyed just seems like a waste.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? Which designers can achieve that?
Ms. Vanderbilt Costin: I want an outfit that makes me feel confident, powerful, and sexy. I think a lot of designers can do that. I personally love Alice & Olivia, Douglas Hannant, Zac Posen, and Oscar de la Renta.
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. Vanderbilt Costin: I like people who dress with a strong sense of themselves and their body types, and make a statement about their personalities through their individual style. As for advice, I would say don’t try to fit into a trend. Better to really get to know your body’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to draw attention to the strengths and divert from the weaknesses.
Favorite color: Baby Blue
Favorite perfume: Eternity Summer (though I’m currently designing my own perfume!)
Favorite restaurant in NY: Yefsi Estiatorio
Favorite drink: Vodka Soda
Favorite movie: “When Harry Met Sally”
Favorite book: “The Alchemist”
Favorite quote: “Dance as though no one is watching, live as though you’ve never been hurt, sing as though no one can hear you, love as though heaven is on earth.”
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 Sibylle.Eschapasse@gmail.com