Barbara Louis

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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.

  • lauren

    love her so much!

  • Elle

    What an inspiration! I wish she was my grandmother.

  • Sara


  • Alicia

    She is amazing. What a life!

  • lou-anne

    i LOVE her…one of my SLU allstars 4sho

  • Ami Jo

    Loved seeing the desk and closet–it runs in the family. Barbara is a light who shines wherever she goes. LOVE HER–fantastic attitude and style!

  • gina

    ohmygod – barbara is stunning! she looks like a movie star. i love her sexy dramatic style. she is one of the few people i know who can pull off big and bold without being loud. her taste and sense of fashion is contagious. who wouldn’t want to look like her? truly eye-catching.

  • Dion

    WOW!!! She is absoluely a STAR!!!!
    Plan on redoing my whole wardrobe to look like her!!!

  • Will

    seeing this was like going to a matinee movie as a kid, forbidden — and glamourous – my, how it took me back – when the name Ann Sheridan meant something. Fun, absolutely. Oh, those were the days.

  • penny

    A glamour girl for all seasons. And it is said, she is as nice as she is good-looking-kind, generous and caring. A truly lovely woman.

  • lou-anne

    Barbera Louis for President! Can we get some uncut footage of the interview? pretty priceless.

  • sam

    An open Letter to Barbra Lewis.

    Dear Barbra,
    You are my effing fave. If Stylelikeu was a fashion bible, you would be Jesus. You epitomize everything I was hoping to come in contact with when I first sighed on to work for Stylelikeu. Talking with you, I realized is kind of like that moment when I spot a piece of art I love. I stop, stare at it, and for a moment, my mind goes black, my eyes water up, and I know ive truly been insprired. I will never forget our talks about the old guard, Hiede Slimane, and Balenciaga. I love your dry humor, you really send me on a LOLicoster. You are one Crayfish. I love when you complain about your hearing aide, or send me on stealth scouting missions, you sly dog you. I would have sent this to you in the mail, but I could never beat one of those YSL Christmas cards you showed me. So go on with your bad self, you leggy thing. Lets get around to that lunch sometime, so drop me a line, or lets do one.


    Ps. Its too bad I already came out of the closet because I could spend a lifetime living in yours.

  • MARY

    Dear Barbara,

    You are a delight! You light up a room with your positive energy and smile. You are an inspiration to all age groups. Keep up the good work.


    What a stylish inspiration Barbara is! It’s refreshing to see that she has kept her clothing and accessories, accumulated through the years, because she can STILL wear them, even from high school. I’m sure there are great memories attached to many items in her wardrobe.

  • helizabeth

    Wow she is so amazing! She is so beautiful and I love her style! Her and her husband Herb are so cute! This is my favorite post.

  • Heidi Rigney

    What a fashionista! Love the legs and the raincoat YSL photo-op. You are a truly gorgeous person with stunning shoulders. I love your closet and your relationship. Your husband is an adorable accessory, its even better than the chic hats and smashing earrings. Your figure “still the same as in high school” that isn’t fair you know. I think you can still be in Harper’s Bazaar. Love your pink room–it looks great with your beautiful red hair.

  • Ellen K.

    Wow, Barbara! I am so glad Heidi found you here and told me to watch your incredible closet-rummaging-cum-fashion-and-life-philosophy video. It reminded me of why I miss you! By the way, my desk is messier than yours, lol!!! And my personal favorites on you (don’t ask me why) were those loooong geometric earrings — if you can wear them over your hearing aids YOU SHOULD!!! PS When I read of your haute couture background, I realized that I should have known all along. You are one of a kind and fabulous and I still want to go to the Frick with you.

  • Dean & Richard

    In an age of mediocrity Barbara is as refreshing as a chilled flute of Dom Perignon.

  • patrick from forty carrots at Bloomingdales

    Barbara Barbara Barbara…you are GORGEOUS,and I enjoy you and Herb so much when you light-up our entire restaurant at Bloomingdales. I have a feeling that you could wear an old sheet and make it look spectacular…you are an artist -who puts the Bling in Bling Bling…you go girl!!!!

  • BJ

    Barbara and Herb are unstoppable forces of fashion and love. I have been shopping with them for years and it’s always an enlightening experience. Being able to see them talk about this other side of their personalities and life was wonderful and thrilling. I love you both!

  • Beverly

    Barbara is beautiful inside and out. What a treat, and those legs!

  • Diane

    B – Beautiful Barbara
    A- Artfully dressed
    R – Rare and real person
    B – Bikini-type body
    A- Appreciated by all
    R – Revered partygoer
    A – Amazingly wonderful friend.

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  • Cindy Lawlor

    What an inspiration…your charm, wit and beauty!! I watched your video with Heidi R. during a girl getaway week and you were part of our joy! Everyone should take their cue from you and find pleasure in the simple things..or even not so simple things and cherish the memories of each wonderful accessory…like the hungarian brooch taken from a curtain in Parisienne walk up!! Keep stylin’ girl! ox

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  • Angela

    She’s Greta Garbo inside!

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  • lela

    I think this one is my favorite! I look forward to getting older.

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  • Daniel Johansson

    NOW THAT’S A REAL LADY. Wonderful!

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  • MauiMs

    A real New Yorker (me, too!).

  • Trilla

    I have a new icon! Love the black jeans and black and white. Barbara, I’m your girl.