Style Lessons From Our Creative Director

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Header_PGPhotographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
When those Fashion Week flashbulbs stop popping, you may think fashion editors put away their crazy-colorful ensembles and 6-inch statement heels. But Refinery29’s creative director Piera Gelardi is no part-time peacock.

Whether pairing a luxe dress with a leather baseball cap or a satin bomber jacket with vintage overalls, Piera’s our in-house master of quirky-cool — and her street-style-ready ensembles are a constant source of inspiration here at R29 headquarters. Fittingly enough, Piera is also the woman in charge of Refinery29’s visual language, making sure everything stays beautiful, ahead of the curve, and irreverent. If our words are food for thought, Piera brings the eye candy that ties it all together.

We tapped her for tips on everyday statement-dressing — and turns out, it’s all about accessorizing. For Piera, it’s walkable heels, her butter-soft Chloé Baylee bag, and all the stylish essentials that go in it, lending the outfits she wears from office to showroom to photo shoot — and maybe an after-party or two — style to spare. Hey, we never said it was all work.

Read on for a peek inside the most stylish bag in town.

Pierra-Vertival-CutPhotographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
Tell us a bit about your position at Refinery29.
“As R29’s creative director, I oversee three departments: photography, video, and design — which means my days are beyond action-packed!”

What’s a typical day like?
“Let’s just say it’s a constant whirlwind of activity. One moment, I’m providing feedback on a fashion shoot; the next, my team and I are dreaming up creative direction for an upcoming partnership. And in between, I’m checking the site to make sure everything looks beautiful and cohesive.”

Sounds like a total dream job. Does it feel that way day-to-day?
“Completely. I get to be creative 100% of the time, and I get to work with a brilliant team that has the most wild and magnificent ideas — they definitely keep me on my toes.”

Speaking of wild and magnificent, we’re big fans of your left-field style. What key pieces do you rely on?
“I’m all about bright colors, bold prints, and surprising patterns. I think life’s too short to wear boring clothes! I love having fun with what I’m wearing, letting my outfits serve as an expression of myself. And, of course, accessories are key — a bold piece or two can add so much life to a simple look.”

So, what are your go-to accessories right now?
“I always wear heels, even when I’m running around. I walk miles and miles in heels — I don’t think they’re intended for the amount of mileage I get out of them! And a great bag is so key.”

We’re sort of obsessed with your Chloé Baylee bag.
“So am I. The gray leather is just so soft and chic, and it’s versatile enough to work for whatever look I’m channeling that day. It can tone down a loud print or elevate a causal look — as a visual person, I’m always looking to strike that perfect sartorial balance.”

I’d imagine you live out of your bag on those busy days.
“You really do — and when you show up to a client meeting, it’s so important that you not look like you’re hauling around your wallet, your day planner, your bottle of water. It’s amazing what the Baylee can hold and still look chic. You can slip a pair of flats in there for the commute if you’re not a heels fan like me!”

So, tell us exactly what you keep in your Baylee bag to get you through your busiest days.
"My wood flash drive by Son of a Sailor. I’m always collaborating, sharing, and borrowing image and music files from people around me, so this little guy lets me do all that — and it looks good, too. I always have a Field Notes Memo Book handy, too. They're simply designed, beautiful, and keep me ready for whenever inspiration of the non-digital kind strikes! And my Chloé Eau de Parfum rollerball — it's the perfect size for touch-ups, and the scent takes me to my happy place on those really busy days.”

Where do you find the visual inspiration you bring to your job at R29?
“I’m a sponge — I find inspiration in absolutely everything. I’m a huge Instagram user, and I follow photographers, designers, illustrators, musicians, and models. It’s amazing to have this world of beauty at your fingertips. I also love getting in touch with my art-nerd roots by heading to galleries on the weekends…my favorite day is an art-crawl day.”

What advice would you give someone looking to get into the fashion industry?
“Don’t wait! It’s so important to find your own voice and to let that voice be heard through the creation, or even curation, of content. You can snap photos on your SLR or Instagram, create boards on Pinterest, design websites, write articles. In the creative world, it’s never too soon to start developing your point of view, and then work with it, play with it, and run with it.”

Hair and Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci.