As a front row fixture at Fashion Week in London, Milan, Paris and here at home
in New York, Neiman Marcus’ Fashion Director Ken Downing plays a pivotal
role in bringing the latest trends to the streets of Long Island. We caught up with
him to talk about what makes fashion different from town to town, why women
need biker’s jackets and how confidence is the best accessory.
Long Island Press: What’s your style philosophy?
Ken Downing: My style philosophy has always been, and I imagine will always be, confidence is far more important than the clothes! When you feel good, you look good, it’s not about a designer, a label, a price tag, it’s about the attitude in which you wear clothes.
LIP: Some say “fashion” can be polarizing – an extravagance for the rich, the young and the thin – what do you say to that?
KD: I say, fashion is inclusive and uniting! Today what makes fashion relevant is the celebration of the individual, the great respect for personal style. I have long been an advocate of dressing for yourself, finding and developing your personal point of view.
There is no longer just one body type, no longer just one color, one height, one age, one style of hair, one religion or one gender. Fashion has embraced the importance of diversity and the celebration of individuality.
LIP: You talk to women of all ages and sizes. What’s the one thing you tell them about fashion?
KD: I am surrounded by women from all walks of life, of every age, size, every background. My message is clear: love yourself, love your body and love what you wear! It all goes back to confidence. When you feel good, you look good, you stand taller, you walk with swagger and there is always a sparkle in your eyes and in your smile.
LIP: What is your universal truth about fashion?
KD: My universal truth about fashion is simple: Dress for yourself, the world should see you first, not your clothes.
LIP: What are the top five pieces we need right now?
KD: Five things I think a woman should add to her wardrobe right now:
A velvet bootie! Wear them morning noon and night with everything.
Something covered in sequins! A skirt, a top, a boot, a bag. A disco inferno is inspiring every designer, add some personality with shimmer and shine, day and night!
A biker jacket! Punk rock/New Wave is all the rage, it will be your go to for everything from your favorite jeans to a ball gown…. and yes, I said ball gown!
Fish net tights! Add an edge to your favorite dress and skirts wearing this ‘80s attitude covered leg. I am obsessed!
Big, bold earrings! They’re better than Botox and immediately take off 10 years on everyone!
LIP: What hair and makeup trends are a must for this fall?
KD: Beauty for the Fall/Winter 2017 seasons takes inspiration from ‘80s influences of MTV Divas! Debbie Harry of Blondie, Madonna, Pat Benatar, the powerful voices and images that defined an era. Start with a bold lip, eyes are dark brooding and smoldering and, yes, blush is back. Nothing says ‘80s like contouring.