If you have yet to spot street style icon Michelle Violy Harper on your favorite fashion blogs, look again! This avant-garde trend-setter, a board member of FIT’s Couture Council, Tata Harper Beauty, and Casita Maria, turned our heads at Uniqlo's opening party last week. Don't fear, we cozied up to the daring dame for a hot minute to chat with her about her style inspirations, highlights of her spring '12 fashion week, the blogosphere, and what makes someone an icon (she should know, right?).
What inspired your style?
“My inspiration for style has to do more with character than the way people look. I think it has a lot to do with what people have accomplished so it is really an attitude of working very hard, being kind and grateful. I think that when you work hard, and when you are kind and grateful, along with having a good eye, that’s what makes you an icon, that’s what makes you inspirational.”
What was one highlight from spring '12 fashion week?
“Honestly my highlight was seeing strong silhouettes. I prefer that over prints. I love prints but I don’t like prints that don’t have construction, silhouettes and volume, like just loose silky prints. So I was more excited by the construction and volume of the designs.”
Do you think the fashion scene is moving too fast? “I do. Everything is happening too fast. I don’t think you can fight it though. It’s naïve to think that you can just go back in time and stop the movement of the world. But there’s a price to pay for all that. Sometimes it has to do with artistry and quality. It also puts a lot of stress on the designers and I worry that they won’t have the needed time to really think and be at their highest creative capacity. They are rushing, they have to make money to survive and compete with companies that own factories that make things in five minutes. It created a very difficult environment for artistry.”
How do you feel about fashion blogging? “I like bloggers. I always have. There should always be a democracy. The only thing that I would say is that there are some blogs that I like better than others. Just like the way with magazines. It’s just a question of what’s right for you. There’s a big anti-blogger movement and I don’t believe in it. I understand the aspects of people not doing their research or maybe they use blogs to pick on people, and I don’t like that. But at the same time, there’s always something good and something bad.”
Do you think print magazines will stick around? “Yes. I just think that they have to think of new ways to set themselves apart. The magazines that I like to buy versus to read online are magazines that have a very high level of quality like an art object, with beautiful paper and exquisite content. Otherwise, it is just something you pick up and throw away.”
What are you wearing today?
“I am wearing Thom Browne, whom I adore, with Yves Saint Laurent shoes and an Hermès bag. A lot of people dislike wearing an entire look, but I don’t agree. There are no rules and you can wear whatever you want. Everyone’s unique. Just be you.”
Photographed by Viona Wang