Three weeks ago when I was in Chicago I got to join great colleagues and go to the opening of the exhibit “Making Mainbocher, the First American Couturier” at the Chicago History Museum. It’s there until August 20, 2017 so you can still make a point to see it if you’re near Chicago. I recommend it!
I always look at things through image consulting eyes. Through those eyes, I particularly loved this sentence in the Making Mainbocher plaque in the exhibit: “He was an artist, musician, fashion illustrator, magazine editor, and couturier–each step taken supported his mastery of the next.”
Likening our career path to Mainbocher’s
I’ve had the deep pleasure of knowing lots of people in our industry and it’s always amazing to see what got them to image consulting or personal styling.
I’m thinking of one person in the Monthly Marketing Bundle program (where I get the most ongoing contact with image consultants on our monthly calls). This member came from the corporate world in Silicon Valley. She was always the best dressed person in the office so when she went moved into image consulting, it came as no surprise. In fact her work mates all wanted to be her first clients!
Other image consultants are called to service, to making people feel great about themselves. They come from the world of therapy or social services. They have a love for fashion but their primary goal is to help others. They find the right fit in image consulting.
My route came through making wearable art that was shown in art galleries, in gallery fashion shows, and commissioned by private customers. When I learned about image consulting it seemed like the next smart step: I could make art using people as the canvas.
Mainbocher should be an inspiration to anyone who comes from one area of interest and wants to explore another, like image consulting. We hop and skip around until we land where we’re meant to be: in this creative and feel-good profession.
What’s true for Mainbocher can be true for us, too
Take a look at these quotes above from the exhibit. Talk about facing a future that didn’t look bright and going for it anyway! Mainbocher went where other Americans hadn’t gone. He was the first to be a couturier in the United States.
I feel our industry is still so young. When we explain what we do, people will still look at us and say, “And you get paid for doing t-h-a-t?” It’s as if we just made this profession up on the spot. But the answer is yes; we do get paid for changing people’s lives and creating ease for them. We transform people who have had such difficulty with clothes and dressing appropriately for the things they do in life. Yes, we get paid for that! Our Exacting Vision keeps us growing in our business; it keeps our industry growing!
And in Against the Grain his reaction to the “rapid changes in fashion” is very relatable.
We kind of go against the grain of fashion trends, don’t we? We don’t have to connect with the flurry of fashion trends in order to do great work with clients and be busy with them month after month. We use fashion as a way to tell our client’s story but our livelihood doesn’t go up and down with trends.
We have loyal clientele working the way we do. He stayed true to himself and we can too.
Yesterday I was with a client who said, “I hardly spent any money shopping this year yet you’ve made me so many new outfits, it’s as if I did spend a lot of money!”
Can you relate to Mainbocher’s point of view or his career path? What were the stepping stones that got you into image consulting? Would love to hear from you!