When it comes to style, nothing stands in Barbara’s way. With legs to kill, taste to spare, and an unabounding zest for life (she is a Leo – “we love life and people”), Barbara rules any age group when it comes to expressing herself with clothing. She wears anything and everything from her bottomless closet of YSL (given to her by the designer) to H&M and Zara if it suits her fancy, and still has clothes from high school and the body to wear it. On any given day, you could find Barbara exploring Topshop or leading a group through The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she is a docent and has worked for thirteen years. She says that she loves everything in fashion. Barbara was featured in Harper’s Bazaar in her teens and worked with Yves Saint Laurent on his knitwear collection from 1970 to 1981 – for her, his taste level was “beyond wonderful,” and one never gets tired of his designs. She claims that she lost her hearing in the front rows of all of the fashion shows in Paris she attended in her youth, which were held then mostly in the designers’ ateliers and mansions. She was personally friendly with Coco herself, who Barbara says was “tough,” Kenzo, who “wasn’t much of a swinger,” Sonia Rykiel, Adele Simpson, Maurice Rentner, Bill Blass (who worked for Maurice Rentner), and Norman Norell.
Some of her tips: Barbara only wears black jeans, only packs black and white for vacations, wears Charles Jourdan shoes for looks and comfort (although she still covets the current runway shoes), and when thinking about what she is going to wear each day, considers whether she feels frivolous or serious. Barbara does not have to shop for much – her closet is like a small car in the circus when hoards of people keep coming out of them, only instead of clowns it’s archival-level, beyond any vintage store’s dream of wearable art. The best part though is going through it all with her – I have never laughed so hard. She is a masterpiece of wisdom and humility to behold.