Michelle Violy HarperMuse and Entrepreneur
“I always say that trends are the garnish not the main course.”
[Ed. Note: Michelle Violy Harper is an entrepreneur and modern fashion muse. Her elaborate ensembles can be seen on any style site and inspire designers and fashion fans alike.]
“A lot of people feel like I am an enigma, and maybe it’s because I want it to be that way. … If you want to know who I am and what I’m about then you are going to have to get to know me. I feel like these things should be discovered through relationships over time or through having experiences with someone.
I’m half-Colombian and half-Scottish with some Native American heritage too. I’ve been living in New York on and off my whole life, moving to other countries and then coming back. I always come back because I love it–it’s as crazy and energetic as I am. I feel right at home. It doesn’t define who I am but we fit together.
My outfit today must have come from an old movie I saw somewhere. I think we have all these visual references that are in our lives, and for me, they all just swim around in my head like a big fish bowl. I just wake up and I reach my hand into the closet and start grabbing things, then throw them on. Sometimes it works better than other times, but it’s always true to my emotions and my vision for that day. If I don’t wear what I feel in the morning, I feel off all day.
Today, I am wearing a number of old slips from various flea markets in France. I am also wearing a hat from the 19th century. When I bought it, they told me to take the stains out with hydrogen peroxide and I said, ‘no way!’, the stains are the best ever. My shoes are from one of my absolutely favorite shoe designers, Charlotte Olympia. I feel like she also lives in a world of fantasy and imagination, which I adore. She also makes shoes that are really tall; I’m not a flats kind of girl. I love a nice ridiculously sky-high heel. Then I’m wearing a vintage rabbit ring from a flea market in Venice and a set of rose gold rings that look like mechanical bolts from a machine. I wear them everyday, they come from someone I care a lot about and like to have them with me.
I have an ideal vision for my outfit, which can be really frustrating sometimes because I will try to make an outfit and not have or be able to find all the pieces I see clearly in my imagination. It’s absurd. My mom said when I was a child I was the same way; I would just have these ideas these fantasies in my mind of the way of how a whole outfit should be put together, if it wasn’t happening I would be disappointed at not fulfilling the sometimes outlandish vision. I did my best.
My personal style is totally schizophrenic. It’s changing all the time. I always say that trends are the garnish not the main course. I am all for trends, but they are not the main course. Your mind is the main course, your soul is the main course, your heart is the main course. Your personal style is the main course and then you can throw things on and around that.
My grandmother was always super-fashionable and I would go into her closet and just go crazy. My grandmothers red Balenciaga cape is my most beloved piece. It’s red silk and it’s just so modern, classic, and timeless. Every stitch, every clip, every eye, every hook, every button is a masterpiece in form, and the shape is perfect geometric simplicity and elegance. I also like quite complex things like Mary Katrantzou; she is one of my favorite designers. I love Haider Ackerman; he is very much about the silhouette. I love Marni, which is absolutely not body-con, and then I love Azzedine Alaia, so I love contrast change and flexibility for the imagination to bloom.” – Michelle Violy Harper to Shop Ghost
Michelle Violy Harper photographed in New York by Stevie Dance.
Michelle’s Five Must-Haves for Living Right NOW
“I’d love a little church in the countryside. Is that too much to ask for? Or maybe a really charming little place in the countryside that’s churchlike. I have a farm in Vermont with my family but I always wanted to have a little church. I think they have really powerful energy.”
“I’ve been asking my friend who is an emerald miner to mine me an amazing emerald because I’m from Columbia. I’m very proud that is our natural product. In terms of the emerald I would really love for him to find a beautiful, incredibly colorful, raw emerald. I wouldn’t cut it or polish it I would just keep it green and raw, like a big piece of fantastic Columbia!”
Stephen Jones Hats
“The man is an absolute genius. Stephen Jones can outfit my head any day of the week.”
“For sunglasses, I’d love to have a little radar in my mind to find all the most eccentric, beautifully made, wonderfully crafted sunglasses in the world. I love collecting sunglasses. I’ve got a pair called ‘Sudan’ that are on my list, which are made in England in the 60’s.”
“I always wish for peace more than happiness. Peace is the ultimate goal, then everything else trickles down.”