My new intern Danielle Dewar recently spent some time in Manhattan. Instead of following up with pretty young things that made the pilgrimage from Wilmington to New York, she decided to profile her latest style icon, which happens to be her best friend’s grandmother. Since Closet Confessions originally debuted with a style profile on my own Nana and I’m an enthusiastic champion for all young-at-heart women with “Advanced Style,” I was all about it!
Take it away, Danielle –
Just four years ago I met my best friend Caitlin, in which a friendship was born over a pair of Coach shoes. She had the flats, while I had the pumps. To be completely honest, I was a little less than thrilled to know that someone owned what I believed to be unique to me, but nevertheless we clicked.
With my recent trip to New York City to visit her, I realized this affinity towards exclusivity was not that unique after all, once we stopped by her grandmother’s home in the Upper West Side.
Clad in a navy and white polka dot Ralph Lauren Black Label button-up dress and Peter Fox oxford-inspired heels, Carol Ferranti is no exception to the aspiration for inimitableness. “I definitely don’t like to do what everyone else does,” she says. “I don’t like to be the same. I like to stand out. That’s just how I operate—if someone else is doing it, I stop.”
This mentality has proved true in more ways than just one. Whether through fashion or life in general, Ferranti has always aspired to be none other than simply herself.
“I graduated from the High School of Music and Art just two years ago,” she laughs. “They encouraged you to be individual. You could wear anything you wanted and I graduated as Best Dressed.”
It should come as no surprise the noted fashionista still receives compliments on her garments. Thus, she offers women everywhere a bit of timeless advice that has kept her fabulous throughout the years: “The most important thing about fashion is to know what looks good on you. If you have good taste, you can go anywhere and find something smart—it doesn’t have to be from Bergdorf Goodman. With discretion and a good eye, you can buy something stunning.”
Aside from fashion and style, her love for antiques has also stemmed from smart shopping and “a good eye”. The talent has enabled her lifelong success in the antique business, which began in an antique center among 40 or 50 other dealers. However, that was just the beginning for the savvy businesswoman.“I went from that shop to my own shop on Madison Avenue,” she recalls. “It was there for 12 years—I opened in 1975 and closed in 1987 due to the burglaries and robberies my shop experienced.”
While her shop may have closed, consolation is unnecessary to say the least. She now works with Skinner, one of the world’s leading auction houses. As a representative, her sole purpose is to bring them business. Well, what has she brought to the table, might you ask? (Don’t worry, I posed the same question.) “I recently got a really good call from a friend of mine who recommended her friend’s college roommate who has major paintings [she is willing to sell] from Gustave Klimt and Egon Schiele,” she explains calmly.
It turns out, [Carol] Ferranti has always been a major patron of the arts. Studying Art History at Syracuse University has given her an undeniable advantage over most. Besides looking for the perfect find, she also frequents museums around the city and not just for the artwork.
“I recently upgraded my membership at the Museum of Modern Art so I’ve been attending openings with my friend and her husband,” she explains. “We spend the first 40 minutes or so just looking at what everyone is wearing, and seeing how individuals put themselves together. It’s very interesting.”
While attempting to decode others’ inspiration, her fashion sense has been acquired entirely through one person—her mother. “She was always elegant, tasteful, and conservative. My mother believed very firmly that you should buy one good thing, instead of many.” While Ferranti may have indulged previously, this mantra has inspired her to make an effort to pull herself away purchasing excess items. In fact, a peek into her closet could potentially cause a designer overdose. Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Anna Sui, Yves Saint Laurent, Manolo Blahnik, Miu Miu—you name it, she’s got it.
It’s cliché, but you can take the girl out of the designer, but you can’t take the designer out of the girl. So recently giving in to the fashion urge, Ferranti purchased her most coveted piece of clothing thus far. “I purchased my swing-length Fendi sable fur coat last year” she says. “It was a present to myself. It’s exquisite and absolutely beautiful.”And while the thought of a Fendi coat may make my heart happy and possibly make my mouth water (just a little), the reality is that the caliber of stores that carry such items are simply not available in our radius.
However, according to Ferranti this doesn’t matter. In other words, you don’t have to spend your month’s rent to love the way you look and what you wear. She advises people to “browse everywhere to see the possibility of selections out there. Find what you like and develop a look you feel comfortable in.”
Ferranti emphasizes the importance of timelessness in fashion, stating that once she likes something, she always does. Fashion is about exuding yourself as an individual, and in the words of Carol Ferranti: “Wear what you feel good in, not necessarily what someone else thinks (you should wear).”
Q&A – Some Style Musings from Carol’s granddaughters, Caitlin and Julia Ferranti:
FF: Describe your style and inspiration.
Julia: “I would say I am laid back and preppy. But my inspiration comes from my friends and people I see walking around the city.”
Caitlin: “My style is definitely laid-back casual. And as someone who fluctuates in weight, I try to find clothing that is both comfortable and flattering.”
FF: Where are your favorite places to shop? And why?
Julia: “I like to shop at Forever 21 and H&M for the affordability and selection. I also love Free People (as well as We the Free) and smaller boutiques in the city. They all have affordable clothing that fits my individual style.”
Caitlin: “My favorite places to shop are Lord & Taylor, BCBG, Anthropologie, as well as specialty boutiques. I believe price should not be a factor as long the clothes are durable and attractive, of course.”
FF: What are some of your current must-haves?
Julia: “Handbags! I love them all. I love the over-the-shoulder bags, clutches, satchels…everything.
Caitlin: “My eye is drawn towards bright colors and funky designs right now. I’ve always been into the tasteful floral patterns as well.”
FF: What’s one style tip you believe to be applicable to everyone?
Caitlin: “More is not always better. A simple outfit can be tasteful and classy, as well as interesting.”
Julia: “Always wear what makes you feel good.” (sound familiar?)