Everything about Beverley Perkin’s life has led her to this moment. Born and raised in South Africa, Beverley was surrounded by educated and cultured women who had impeccable taste. Her interest and background in Art History and English led to a successful career as a graphic designer. She was well on her to way to becoming an art director in her own right, having worked as a designer for Tina Brown’s The New Yorker as well as Sports Illustrated and School of Visual Arts – when she took stock of her life and realized that she wanted to have a family and be a mother. But her creative vision never left her, and with the recent closet cleanse of her friend and colleague, Kelli, she is on her way to taking her passion to the next level and a new career. Here is Beverley …
MKG: What is the role of fashion?
Beverley: I am a visual person. I think fashion incorporates everything – it’s the way you present yourself, the way the world sees you, the way you can disguise yourself and the way you package yourself. Fashion has tremendous power. Fashion is reflective of your mood. Personally, it depends on how I wish to represent myself in a particular environment and particular place. Sometimes I don’t want to have an impact when I enter a room, but sometimes I do.
MKG: How would you describe your personal style?
Beverley: Classical and timeless. I like the classics. I appreciate trends, but I am not interested in buying something that is trendy. I am a minimalist; I generally believe that less is more and I believe in quality over quantity. I don’t particularly like logos, and items that have bold, glaring labels – I think it is much more classy and sophisticated to have something subtle and obscure.
MKG: How did you curate and edit your own things, your own life?
Beverley: I have moved 10 times, including 2 international moves, in the last 17 years. Each time I have moved I’ve realized how much we have that we don’t need. Too much excess traps you, and holds you back from setting you free. As a result, I am very mindful and selective of my purchases that I add to my possessions. I’m also constantly editing down whatever is redundant and no longer has its use for me. There is a lot of hard work behind simplicity.
MKG: How did you turn your personal style and minimalist approach into a closet cleanse for your friend Kelli?
Beverley: My friend, Kelli, wanted to edit her clothes and was looking to rid herself of things that no longer gave her joy. I also helped Kelli beautify and edit her home and fill it with only the things that she loves. Kelli appreciated my style and visual eye so she asked me to help her. I first spent time watching and observing how Kelli dressed (you have to get to know a person’s body first; find out what she likes, what is her style, who are her favorite designers and why). Then, I shopped her closet to see what she had. What I found was that Kelli had pieces that were dated and no longer suited her. She was very excited to declutter and keep only the essential, timeless classics. We created three piles of her clothes: 1 to donate, 1 to consign, and 1 to keep. We kept only the most beautiful pieces in Kelli’s wardrobe and created looks for work and looks for casual. We created a uniform that is easy to put on, when Kelli is not working and wants ease with style. I also care very much about creating beautiful spaces blending functionality with a design aesthetic. I strongly believe that form follows function. Kelli told me that she loves Christian Dior and the display at Christian Dior. So I visited Christian Dior for inspiration and bought some pieces to create Kelli’s very own boutique in her own home!
MKG: And how did Kelli feel when her cleanse was completed?
Beverley: Kelli feels like a princess when entering her closet! She feels peaceful when selecting her outfit for the day. She loves shopping her closet now and is excited to look and feel her very best every time she gets dressed. After we did the decluttering, we then created room to purchase a few select things to round-out her wardrobe. I avoid splurging and spending money on designer items and regular items that are not timeless or redundant. There is Zara for that! Zara, by the way, is the hidden secret in Europe for its ability to copy high-end designers. I encouraged Kelli to purchase and splurge on a classic – a dress that will last for 30 years. I also value beautiful, fine quality, and classic accessories. You can never go wrong with a classic pearl necklace, diamond earrings, or a special pin, Cartier bracelet, belt, Hermes scarf, or designer handbags and shoes. If these purchases are too expensive you can always get excellent copies.
MKG: Why do you think we hold on to our clothes after they have served their time with us?
Beverley: We hold on for many reasons: sentimentality, difficulty letting go of hand-me-downs or gifts, having spent too much money on clothing and feeling guilty about purging, not realizing that our bodies have changed over the years, hoping that something may fit after we gain weight, and not really knowing how to declutter and simplify. What people don’t realize is that, the more carefully curated your closet is, the easier it is to function. You can’t see anything clearly if there is too much visual chaos.
MKG: What is the magic of a closet?
Beverley: There is a story behind a closet. It’s very personal. Some people are hoarders, some are minimalists, some are collectors – but no matter what, a closet represents your relationship with your clothes and with yourself.
MKG: And what about you and your dreams for your future?
Beverley: I really love giving happiness to someone and want to surround a woman’s life with joy and beauty. I have something personal to offer that particular woman who can benefit from my approach. I don’t do generic. I like originality, character, and imperfections. That’s what makes one’s individual style unique and interesting. I had cancer and my illness took almost a decade of my life from me. Now I am a survivor and healthy and well and I am ready to make my mark!
You can reach Beverley at: email@example.com; 908-514-3767