I’m very happy to interview Kate Schelter, a fellow illustrator and author about her gorgeously illustrated book, Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out. Kate’s book is a guide to “the classics”: the essential clothes, accessories, beauty products, and timeless everyday objects that define your personal style. We’re excited to announce that Kate is our summer artist in residence and this amazing book is featured in our summer Fiction and Aesthete boxes along with her whimsical watercolor bikini, limited edition print.
In her book, Kate “curates a collection of more than 150 iconic, essential classics– clothes, accessories, beauty products, objects, and travel items that exemplify great design, simplicity, and timeless style. Balancing the trend toward minimalism with a dose of charm and personality, Kate shows you how to develop (and celebrate!) your own style by following an easy mantra: buy less, buy better, reinvent what you already have, and own your look. Now in her first book, she guides readers through these principles in a mix of stunning watercolor illustrations, stories, memories, quotes, and advice from a collection of friends and mentors in the fashion world.” Photos by Christine Han. Read on…
QL: Kate, we’re very excited to feature Classic Style in our Aesthete box and also as a gift in our Fiction box this summer (+ your adorable bikini illustration as a limited edition print in summer boxes). The book is such a visual gem. What inspired you to create it and how did you define your personal style?
KS: Simple. The book stemmed from my work. I do what I’m passionate about, I paint what I love. I use the same muscle I use as a fashion stylist and creative director: my gut. Personal style is about making every decision based on what you truly love. Don’t try to impress anyone except yourself. And remember to leave room for joy!
QL: Tell us a little bit about your luxury brand consultancy and passion for helping others tell their story whether it be a big brand or the girl next door?
KS: I like to collaborate with brands that I feel a natural connection with. I enjoy helping people project their beauty, or furthering it to a new place.
QL: I’m obsessed with your timeline on your about page that delineates your incredible career history and presents a longitudinal study of your passion for style. You are definitely a renaissance woman who never seems to allow herself to be pigeon-holed into one category: author, illustrator, brand consultant, muralist…and the list goes on. What compels you to explore all of these areas? Do you feel that each area fuels passion for another?
KS: I talk about my career in my new book. I have an uncanny parallel pattern for reinvention in my wardrobe and my profession. I let things morph. It just feels right. Work leads to work and people lead to people. Each relationship and project is a jumping off point into the next project, the next medium, the next collaboration. You just have to be willing to dive in and try. Choose courage. Reward needs risk and play (and a lot of failures too.)
QL: What prompted you to add “author” to your impressive list of pursuits?
KS: The book found me. I had always thought it would be cool to do a book and, when I finally had the opportunity, I chose my editor Brittany because I could see she believed in me and got it. She allowed me the space to let the format emerge organically from my work and my process, and she carefully helped shape it and guide me. It was a fantastic collaboration. Incredible teamwork.
QL: What are your go-to genres when reading for pleasure?
KS: What I like to call “Applicable Knowledge” (aka nonfiction)—books that have tips and images to use and refer to often. I’m very picky about which fiction I read (Jonathan Franzen and Donna Tarte are favorites) and I’m a big believer in taking novels out of your local library or lending them to friends when you’re done. I only keep applicable knowledge around. Books love to be cracked open and read.
QL: I’m sure you have some fabulous art, design and photography books. What are some favorites?
KS: My collection of books on Matisse and Bonnard; Alexander Girard Designs for Herman Miller; David Hicks Living With Design (I found the first edition at an estate sale.)
QL: You have a little one, what do you love reading with her and what are some of your favorite stories from childhood?
KS: She loves all the classics: Goodnight Moon; Madeline; Maurice Sendak; Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?; The Ladybug Girl—reading to her is a great joy. Books are magic.
QL: Lastly, please share 3 tips from your book that we can do today to enhance our personal style?
KS: 1) Edit, edit, edit. 2) Wear what fits you, your body and your life 3) Wear you favorite pieces every day—don’t wait.