This week’s style diary is the very glamorous Joy Marks. The entrepreneur whose family owns an international mail order company is mostly known in the city for wearing the most amazing outfits on the social and philanthropic scene. From dramatic headpieces to magnificent gowns, she is very unique in her way of dressing. A real femme fatale that turns the heads of many.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Joy Marks: My style would definitely be defined as Old Hollywood Glamour in the ’40s and ’50s and very feminine.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Marks: A passionate, kindhearted, Barbie Doll.
Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager?
Ms. Marks: While it was already glamorous as my mother was a professional dancer and singer and was also on Broadway, and very taken with the movie star look, it evolved into an even more glam look, but I also loved wearing jeans, which my mother would never wear, but with a bit more flair and fashion. I was voted best-dressed in high school but still in keeping with the look of the time.
I, too, studied professional dance and our costumes were very ornate for professional performances. In college and graduate school I was in uniform a good deal of the time with my course of study being in psychology, nursing, public health, and business. Many times the lab coat would go over a beautiful dress and I did get to wear some couture while I did internships for Restaurant Associates and Bank Leumi.
When I married in college and soon began a family, my everyday look changed to accommodate my growing family, but at night I would emerge in something beautiful and feminine. My favorite at the time was North Beach Leather anything!
Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Marks: The wildest thing I ever wore was designed by Victor de Souza. He was creating many looks for me for theme parties besides the usual formal attire designed for charity events. He took a vintage red Dior gown and refitted it to perfection and created huge red wings that hit the floor with a red crystal hat with veil. It was a version of the red devil for a spectacular Robert Wilson event in Water Mill that he holds every year. Fashion can be serious but this was so much fun to create and wear.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Marks: The weekends after the summer are more relaxing and spent with my family and my everyday attire would be leggings with Christian Louboutin boots, leather jackets and pants, turtleneck cashmere sweaters, and jeans but with an edge. For dinners out I prefer classic Dior cocktail dresses, Maggie Norris jackets with pants or a skirt, and my many Victor de Souza outfits. My shoes are almost always Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Olympia, and Saint Laurent, and perhaps an Hèrmes clutch or Dior evening bags, and of course Judith Leiber! For an everyday look going into the city I would prefer a great suit that might go into evening. They are perfect for luncheons and cocktail parties. I love vintage Chanel, Dior, Maggie Norris, and Victor de Souza, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Marks: My three items I cannot live without would be my many hats and hair accessories, especially by Maggie Norris, Victor de Souza, Ellen Christine Couture, and Suzanne of Madison Avenue. I almost always carry a Hèrmes Birkin as I go into the city almost everyday and it enables me to carry almost everything I will need for the day. I can never leave the house without a pair of Classic Tribute Saint Laurent sandals as they are the most comfortable shoes and very beautiful. I change into them for total comfort and the height of the shoes makes me instantly more confident!
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences?
Ms. Marks: My mother for sure! She loved the look of Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor, Bridgette Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and it definitely impacted my style.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?
Ms. Marks: My style icon is Rita Hayworth. I loved her flowing tresses, flawless ivory skin, red lips, and fashion sense. Gilda was a favorite!
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Marks: While I love the many looks I see, a sense of style is what you envision on yourself and how you create that special look and aura and allure, that makes you look your very best. It is the creative and individuality that you design for your own persona. That sense of style can encompass a feeling at that moment, that spontaneity, of how you want to look that day, or that evening. That sense of style has room to play!
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. Marks: I am most proud of the purchase I made and envisioned on myself, while watching the movie “Basic Instinct.” While everyone was entrenched in the drama, I was making plans to purchase the Basic Instinct necklace at Bergdorf Goodman the following day. I was the first to have it of my friends, and have enjoyed it immensely. I later purchased the diamond heart.
I would pay a lot of money for something that I feel is a one-of-a-kind piece that possibly can’t be duplicated. I saw at the Whitney Museum a sable stole that I had never seen before. The luster over her Oscar de la Renta gown was too much to take. I was at Bergdorf Goodman in the morning to purchase both. I would not spend a lot of money on something that everyone had. It would devalue it in my eyes. I love unique and unusual pieces, whether it be jewelry, evening gowns, or a special hat.
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. Marks: For the most part I plan my ensembles way in advance with the jewelry, hat, and accessories, although if something comes up suddenly I can yank something out of the closet, which is spur-of-the-moment sensational! Victor de Souza, Maggie Norris, Oscar de la Renta, Dior, and Zuhair Murad are red carpet wonders for me. Maggie Norris and Victor de Souza have made outfits for me within a few days and Maggie has ordered couture hats, which are done over a weekend for a Monday night event!
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. Marks: I actually give advice to many but only for those who ask and I don’t judge anyone’s sense of style as it is so individual. I do try to help many of my friends develop a sense of style by emulating someone that they admire. It may only be suggesting a scarf or a bag that might work for them. I am usually asked to help someone chose a wedding gown or evening gown, as I have tremendous patience and want to see them look their very best. I also encourage them, only if they ask, to use designers who might help them look amazing.
Favorite color: Pale green, emerald green, and blues
Favorite perfume: V by Clive Christian
Favorite restaurant in New York: Le Cirque
Favorite drink: Champagne by Verve Cliquot
Favorite movie: “The Godfather”
Favorite book: “Jane Eyre”
Favorite quote: By Coco Chanel: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
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