Years and years ago, the concept of a personal shopper was someone you went to who had access to manufacturers at a wholesale level or someone who was employed by a store who personally helped you with wardrobe selections according to your specific needs and lifestyles. The former required cash only and the latter required more than a single item purchase.
|.art by Marc-Antoine Coulon
As the business of fashion has morphed and evolved so has this concept of having another person assist you with sartorial choices. Today we are faced with “the stylist” who is most often associated with those who are celebrities or those who only think they are celebrities and prefer to borrow rather than buy clothes. Along with the new meaning to the phrase “personal shopper” comes a new breed of talent that honestly can help men and women select the correct options for his or her wardrobe. No longer is this a business of women dragging women from showroom to showroom and trying on clothes behind racks ; today the real professionals use the major fashion capitals, retail stores or manufacturers as their resource base.
Today’s new generation of fashion professional now garners respect rather than disdain, is a treasured asset rather than a secret and further more shows us that this sector of the business is no longer reserved for ladies only. Please do not construe Daniel Lombardi as some vapid personality such as the talentless and self-anointed Brad Goreski as Mr. Lombardi has equal parts taste, charm, talent and humanity, not to mention good looks, experience and great authority.
So as a change of pace, today we explore another point of view or aspect when it comes to fashion as the usual M O for me is from the designer’s or retailer’s angles rather than the consumer. Insterad of me blathering on and on about this, you need to listen to Daniel Lombardi and hear what he has to say as you might find it useful or you might even seek him out for advice… judge for yourself!!!...................
1-What are your go to brands in clothing, shoes & accessories and why?
Although I have my favorites for my personal shopping, I believe all brands have hits and miss depending on the season and some collections are better that others, be it designer brands or not.
That said, I’m not “married” to any brand when it comes to selecting for clients. I look at the collection for that season and then decide. I work with all brands and collections that suit my clientele’s needs, taste and fit at the time of the buy and compliment their existing wardrobe.
2-do you have a screening process when accepting a client? By that I mean, must they possess any special requirements? Men? Women only? Financial requirements?
I work with both men and women clients. I always have a consultation with my clients first, where I have a one-on-one conversation, followed by an in-depth profile questionnaire about their needs, likes, lifestyle, budgets, etc. I do have to feel a personal connection with the client before taking him/her as a client.
3-when working with a specific client, do you shop with or do you shop for... meaning are they always with you or are you are to “charge and send” to them without issue?
All clients are different. Some clients love the shopping experience (and they travel to NY, Miami or Europe to meet with me and make it a fun shopping trip) and others prefer that I shop for them and have it sent on “consignment” at home, and have the pleasure of trying on and selecting at their ease.
4-has a store every approached you to frequent them as opposed to their competition and in doing so offered you additional compensation? Would you do it?
Yes, most stores offer an additional compensation to shop with them but, I have NEVER accepted it. I believe that goes against the best interest of the client and in detriment of your work. I always think of the clients and their needs first.
5-how would you characterize your current roster of clients? Size? Particular needs? Geographic locale?
Through the years I have built a pyramidal structure, where now after 15 years in the business I currently work only with top clients from Latin America, USA and Europe.
6- In an ideal situation what would a typical day be if you and a client are working together for the day?
I like to make it fun for the clients. Shopping should always be an adventure where while going from store to store the clients learn more about the different brands, the collections, the fit of each designer and about themselves (what looks best on them and why). A stop for a lunch break at Bergdorf’s or Barneys is always a must while in NY, at Michaels if in Miami Design District or La Goulue in Bal Harbour Shops, at L’Avenue in Paris... etc, etc…
7-do you ever get involved with made to measure for your clients?
Made to measure is a must for male clients. And, one of a kind creations for brides (have been dressing brides and their entourage for 10 years now)
8-have you ever worked abroad with a client such as during collection in Paris or Milan? And which shows do you attend? Do you find Europe to be an essential part of your job?
I have worked with numerous clients in Europe. Me and my clients do get invited to a lot of the shows -although these days you can see ALL the shows live online which saves you a lot of time and energy!! Europe is essential during market, where you have a chance to touch and feel the collection and pre-order some of the special pieces for clients.
9-when shopping for a client, are you or they only interested in name designers or do you widen the playing field by shopping newer lesser known designers as long as they fit the bill? Can you name some of these designers? The same goes for stores?
Most clients tend to ask for name designers pieces at the beginning of our work relationship but, once they feel confident with me and trust me, they can easily rock a Zara piece mixed with a Louboutin shoe and a vintage YSL clutch. I like to take them to the “edge” always. I want them to experience what it is to be “outside the box and their comfort zone”. And I like to bring vintage to their lives as well since, those finds are the ones which make a difference at the end of the day. They learn that it is not about the clothes or the designer, it’s about them -how they project themselves and how they feel and see themselves in the mirror, whether in an Alexander McQueen gown or an Alexander Wang for H&M piece. “Wear something appropriate and they will notice the person, wear something inappropriate and they will notice the outfit”, Coco Chanel.
Zara to Club Monaco, from Top Shop/Man to H&M, All Saints to The Kooples and many more …
10-when shopping with a client do you also act as image consultant or do you segment that area of your job?
Even when shopping I’m acting as an image consultant. I’m not just a stylist; I’m beyond the personal shopper role. I work from the inside out. I work on making them feel good about themselves with the ultimate goal of “walking into a room and having everyone turn around to see them being the center of attention because of their inner glow”. You can wear the most expensive and beautiful piece of clothing but, if you don’t believe in your inner self you will never project it.
11-in a perfect world, what are your favorite brands and why? Who would be your ideal client? Here you can name names if you wish...
I believe there is a good array of brands in the market for all type of clients, tastes and likes. I do love most brands but, as I said before I look at their “collection for the season” independent of their name in the industry. My current clients are the ideal client, men and women who love to travel, dress up and have fun with it.
12- As a fashion professional, how to you “show yourself” to a client? Meaning what do you personally wear? What is your go to look for Daniel Lombardi?
My presentation card and conversation starter is my own image. I don’t have a specific look. I like to keep it edgy but, classy and chic. I always wear a detail that would be the focal point of attention that would give people a chance to comment on it and for me to introduce myself and my line of business. I am bold and will wear anything that no one else would dare to wear, from my grandma’s diamond brooch to a mix of patterns, fabrics and colors. People always say “if anyone can pull it off it’s you” but, I say “you can also pull it off; it’s all in the attitude with which you carry yourself and wear it”.
13-let’s talk about how you see fashion? Good? Bad? Changes you would make?
Fashion is a form of art, and as such it has evolved. It used to be for the connoisseurs and those who had a specific love for it and interest but, in the last decade thanks to social media and the cyberspace it has become a social experience. Designers get immediate feedback on their collections and they can adapt it to the needs, likes and taste of the audiences and the different demographics.
Changes I would make? Not sure, even if I like to break the rules of fashion for myself, I would like to go back to the days where guidelines were respected and a black tie was strict black tie and not whatever you feel like wearing that night. I also miss the days where a fedora was part of a man’s wardrobe and matching gloves, shoes and purses were a must for women.
14-how did you get into this area of fashion? Who were your style icons or mentors? Do you have an end game or are you content with your present situation and want no more?
At 30 years old, and while in the corporate world, I realized that although I had achieved my goals in life I was not following my passion so, I decided to move to the US and do what I’m best at, make people feel good about themselves and look good and, be an image consultant. My grandma and my mother were great mentors in my life, socialites that taught me everything I know about fashion and style. As for icons, I grew up watching Hollywood movies from the golden area where it was all about glamour. Audrey Hepburn will always be the icon of perfection, class and style.
15-how do you shop for yourself? Online? In store? Where? Brands or just items that you love?
I don’t really shop brands but, items that I really love. I hardly shop online since I like to try things on and feel the quality and fit of the garments. I do get invited to a lot of sample sales and friends & family sales which makes it easier to shop. Just realized that I never “go shopping” for myself, shopping comes to me J.
PS ..if you are in need of further information about Mr. Lombardi, please let me know