Last Tuesday, Bloomingdale’s hosted an intimate panel with BravoTV’s “Girlfriends Guide To Divorce” featuring Lisa Edelstien, Lead Actress, Ramy Brook Sharp, Creative Director, Marti Noxon, Executive Producer, Cynthia Summers, Costume Designer and was moderated by Brooke Jaffe, Fashion Director at Bloomingdales. The Accessories Council got a chance to meet with Cynthia Summers and Ramy Brook Sharp, who gave us the dish on their must-have accessories, their work on the show and what it’s like to dress the stars.
AC: We are at Bloomingdales, so what brands or pieces should we walk out of here with that are Girlfriend Guide approved?
CS: Right off the top of my head, for dresses for sure, BCBG and Rebecca Minkoff. I can think of more but I can’t right now. Those two for sure.
AC: This show is all about women in their forties, how do you find age appropriate things that look wonderful and are still on trend?
CS: Every person, like all the characters, have to start from their core personality and what they’re doing for a living. And I think when you watch the show, or any character, there are ebbs and flows with what’s going on with them and their wardrobe tends to mirror that. For Abby, it’s easy. She started as a stay at home mom writer and we’re in LA so that also dictates what people are wearing and what they look like. We started her off in the first season in jeans and sky high heels because that’s sort of how we amped up her look, great tops, including Ramy’s, and then throw in a really great jacket, and the IT bag of the moment and that sort of gave her style but stayed within her comfort zone. As we see her character developing over the seasons, she starts to wear dresses, must of them are A line and Full because her character really needs to get around, she’s always on the move and it’s feminine, which fits her character because she is a feminine character and a feminine actress.
AC: You mentioned the “IT bag of the moment”, what is your IT bag? Both personal and for the show?
CS: My personal is a Stella McCartney, small navy backpack and it’s great because it’s all in and it’s back there and the Stella one is great because I try to use vegan when I can. Abby’s IT bag of the moment is not vegan, it’s the Chloe tote because she’s always shoving all her stuff in there. Her haul out top, her stuff, the kids’ stuff. And actually, she started using a New York bag, GUNAS. They have great vegan bags and I’ve used a lot of their bags on Delia because they suit her character and her wardrobe and they’re a little smaller, they’re not a tote. They’re beautiful and they’re vegan, so that helps out my cause. I’m trying to push that a little bit.
AC: What is a star’s biggest concern when you’re dressing them and giving them something to wear?
CS: I think that most of the time they want to know that I’ve done my homework and that I’m dressing their character, as opposed to dressing them. You really have to take into account the body that you’re given with an actor, that comes to the part, because, obviously, that is your canvas. But you really have to make sure you’re stepping away from that personality and taking their look into the character. In period film and TV, it’s much easier because you’re dictated by the fashion of the time, which seems to be a smaller range. Whereas here, with fashion, it’s global and it changes every second. You need to make sure you’re hanging on to, you’re reflecting, you’re staying true to the character and not going to far off on a tangent. You want to be fun and add freshness but you want to stay true to who that character really is.
AC: And do you have a favorite outfit from the show? Or a very distinct moment that you can name?
CS: There’s so many. I guess for Abby, this season, season 3, she’s trying to revamp her job, she’s trying rebrand her job, and herself in a way. So, she comes in with this great pitch to give to the company because she’s trying to save her job and she’s wearing this Dolce & Gabbana, it’s the leaf dress and it’s cinched in at the waist. And we added this amazing belt to go with it and this dragonfly pin. That was a great moment because it’s the beginning of the season, it’s super fresh, it’s like lime greens and kelly greens and whites. She stands out. And of course, she gets fired in that same outfit. So, it’s like “I’m here, it’s all good, I’m super confident, I’ve got this amazing outfit on and um what” she’s kind of knocked right down. So, that was kind of a stand out moment for me.
Ramy Brook Sharp
AC: I asked Cynthia this question but I want to know your answer as well. What is your IT handbag of the season?
RBS: A Valentino with this guitar strap. I bought the little one so I can wear it out at night and now I take off the guitar strap and put it on all my bags, if I can. That’s my favorite. It’s colorful and it’s thick and I refer to it as a guitar strap because that’s where I think it came from and it’s the Valentino with the little studs. I don’t love Valentino bags but this one in particular, I love. I also like anything that is cross body, that’s one of my favorite things to wear. So, the Chloe cross body, the Valentino cross body, I like to keep my hands free. I love my Chanel backpack and Chanel messenger bag.
AC: One of the other questions I asked Cynthia was if you had a wardrobe or accessories moment in the show that was a favorite or a defining moment?
RBS: For me, I started my company 6 years ago. I wanted just plain solid tops because I love jewelry so much, so for me it was all about my accessories and it was almost like my clothes are a canvas, like a piece of art, so my jewelry could just compliment it. My closet, when we do photo shoots, the girls come over and go through all the drawers because I’ve been collecting it over years and years. And I was never that into jewelry until I got pregnant and then when I couldn’t really buy clothes anymore, or shoes, because you just get big all over, it was like I had to buy something, so I bought jewelry. And it lasts through your pregnancy and it has some value, I can pass it down. I’m just a huge fan of all accessories
AC: Amazing, we love fellow accessories fans! In the context of the show, can you name a specific piece that you love?
RBS: So, we have this top, it’s called the Harriet top, it’s one of the first tops I designed. It’s a silk top, you can wear it 6 different ways. I like to wear it just tied behind my neck, like a halter and wear it really low and have just a simple gold necklace. I love gold hoops. I’m also really into these ring bracelets right now. People always ask if I’m in the jewelry business and I’m like I’d go broke if I was, so no!
AC: What advice would you have for women who are stylish and want to wear trends of the moment, but still want to look age appropriate?
RBS: I think it’s interesting because forty year olds can dress like twenty year olds but I do think there is a certain fine line that should be appropriate. So, you could still wear something low, or show your shoulders, or wear a crop top if you’re wearing high waisted pants. I feel like all the styles could be the same in many ways. You just have to make sure you wear it appropriately, then it’s fine. Like maybe it’s wearing a little jacket or a little shrug, or something that doesn’t make it seem like you’re trying to go back in time. Women really care about their bodies and how they look and want to look and feel great, and the clothing and the accessories help them do that.
AC: This show follows a woman who has gone through a divorce, she’s gotten fired from her job, she’s been through a lot. We are big believers that accessories and clothing add a dimension to you and your confidence. How do you think clothing and accessories can add to that?
RBS: I think it’s important. You know growing up, my Mother always made us dress up, even like on an airplane or if we went out to dinner. She just felt we should be dressed a certain way so people treated us a certain way. I think there’s a time and a place to dress down and there’s a time and place to dress up but the most important thing is that however you dress, make sure you’re confident and you feel good because people will be able to see right through you. And the accessories as well, like it may not make sense to wear big earrings and a big necklace and a big bracelet, you don’t have to add it all up. If you put on those special pieces that sparkle and make you shine, I think that’s all you need.
AC: Any designers we should be on the lookout for?
RBS: Some of my favorite designers are Loree Rodkin, I think her stuff is very cool. Jacquie Aiche, her things that are a little more feminine but if you layer it up it’s pretty sexy. And I’m a big fan of Jennifer Fisher. She really is so cool and so talented and just a nice girl. She’s one of the people I went to for advice when I started my company and she’s still really helpful.
The interviews were followed by a panel discussion, in which the four women talked about approaching the uncomfortable topic of divorce, Ramy and Cynthia’s artistic influences and impact on the show and Lisa’s experience with looking and embodying Abby. Attendees left with great swag bags, filled with mini bottle of champagne, monogramed “Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce” champagne glasses and a Jo Malone + Ramy Brook candle. Thank you again to Bloomingdales for a great evening and getting us excited to tune in for Season 3 on BravoTV!