Recently featured in the BBC documentary The Millionaire’s Gift Guide, Daniel Johnson was drawn to his profession seven years ago after dramatically transforming his own image from clueless scruffy student to dapper style influencer. “I learned the hard way at first,” he says, “by making lots of mistakes. Now I offer a unique service that makes finding and wearing the right clothes as simple as possible.” A specialist in luxury menswear, Johnson’s services start at £325 for personal styling, with his most requested service being a wardrobe consultation. “This is where we organise the wardrobe for the client and photograph the outfit combinations, so that they can spend less time deciding what to wear,” says Johnson. “We also place garments in the wardrobe according to the occasions the clients find themselves attending – and we may even suggest lighting and storage solutions.”
In the documentary, unflappable Johnson is seen showing an exquisite Vicuna suiting fabric to one moneyed client hoping to create a unique gift for her fiancé. Said to be the most expensive cloth on earth and costing £6,000 per metre, it came from revered Savile Row tailor, Scabal. With his eye for quality, Johnson is a big supporter of British-manufactured goods. “We have such skill and talent here but the costs often put people off,” he says. “Personally, I would rather pay more knowing jobs have been created as a result.”
Arguably, it’s never been more important to look good. From friends and colleagues posting impromptu snaps of us on Facebook and Instagram, to formal LinkedIn profiles, our image is captured and distributed more often and more widely than ever before. “How we dress can reflect everything – our work, our tastes, our aspirations and our status within society,” says Thea Lewis-Yates, IN London’s own fashion editor-at-large. “Looking a certain way is crucial for success, both in business and for pleasure,” she adds. Yet, at the same time, the range of choices, fabrics, fits and styles has never been quite so complex. Lewis-Yates continues, “Some major luxury houses now show in excess of 10 times a year. There’s Fall, Spring, Pre-Fall, Resort, plus bi-annual menswear shows, diffusion lines, etc. As the fashion seasons speed up, keeping track of trends, let alone pinpointing the ones that suit us, can become a full-time job. So it seems only natural to outsource to a professional.”
British former fashion editors, Petronella Stofberg and Laura Fantacci, have built a loyal following of fanatical fashionistas with their curated shopping site, Wardrobe Icons. The duo’s services range from ICONS Update – an accessible online style bible packed with essential tips – to their elite Personal Shopping consultancy offering bespoke guidance, where prices start at £1,000 for services such as home-wardrobe consultations and edits, personal styling and shopping expeditions. “The women we meet are no longer interested in buying pieces that don’t complement their wardrobe and they don’t get real use out of,” says Stofberg. “However, finding those building-block items – or ‘icons’, as we call them – and making your wardrobe work effectively can be a daunting task, especially if you have been collecting for 10 years. Having access to a service like ours means you get a fresh eye – to not only detox your existing wardrobe, but to also look at those key pieces that can make it work harder for you long-term.”
If you’ve already detoxed and your wardrobe is still pushed for space, you can avoid drowning in a sea of garments by using Vault Couture, an exclusive wardrobe storage and management service. Launched six years ago by Kazakhstan-born businesswoman and entrepreneur Mounissa Chodieva, it has dragged the walk-in wardrobe into the digital age. “Vault Couture was created in 2010,” says Chodieva, “and was formed out of a personal need, driven by lack of wardrobe space, lack of time and the heavy travel schedule required by a demanding corporate position and leisure travel. As a result it became increasingly difficult to balance a hectic lifestyle and a highly cultivated wardrobe.” Clients of the service not only have their fashion collection photographed, catalogued and stored in museum-quality conditions, but the images can be accessed online 24/7 and items can be shipped to wherever they happen to be working – or holidaying – in the world. Imagine the relief to regular travellers of being able to breeze through the security gates lugging nothing bulkier than a passport and phone. Additional services include a legion of seamstresses and tailors who are on hand for alterations and repairs, and expert stylists who can help put together a look or advise on future purchases.
For those now thinking of hiring a fashion consultant, Lewis-Yates offers these tips, “Rapport is key. Personal shopping is about finding what works for you. Do you travel frequently? How do you spend weekends and leisure time? What does your job entail? These are all questions that need to be asked. The more someone understands you, your life and your style, the better they can shop for you. Fashion editors on several major publications moonlight as ultra high-end personal shoppers and this makes perfect sense.” She adds, “Travelling to the shows, being on friendly terms with designers and building a database of the forthcoming trends make for the perfect skill-set. Who doesn’t want someone who sits in the front row at Dior curating their wardrobe?”
www.vaultcouture.com | www.wardrobeicons.com