No trend gets the best of Christene Barberich. With a sharp editorial eye, she cuts trends down to size and sets the example for owning your look. For the grand finale in our holiday DIY series we catch up with the impeccably styled Refinery 29 Editor-In-Chief for her tips on holiday dressing and how to choose the perfect one-of-a-kind gift. An expert at making vintage look modern, Christene takes us on a treasure hunt to her favorite neighborhood shops, Mafalda and Bright Lyons (Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn) where she never has to dig to find gold.
Our last giveway of the season is a good one - you can enter for the chance to win Christene's hand-picked vintage gifts (pictured below), including a set of Alexander Girard printed pillows (from Bright Lyons) and a rich burgundy eel skin clutch (from Mafalda) along with a $50 Loeffler Randall Gift Card. Just enter your email address on our facebook page.
Photos by Anna Moller
Job: Editor-in-Chief, Refinery29
Lives in: Brooklyn, NY (Boerum Hill, to be exact)
Star sign: Sagittarius
Wearing: LR Edith platform pump in yellow snake along with vintage Celine pants, a vintage silk button-down, and the first black coat is by Dries van Noten, the second fur-collared coat is vintage from Mafalda.
What do you like best about your Edith pumps?
Christene Barberich: They are high AND super comfortable. I am just not one of those girls who can forfeit walking...I always just have too much running around to do!
Describe your style philosophy.
CB: I wouldn't say I really have one. My style is so dependent on my mood, one day it can be very pared back and minimal, the next a bit over-the-top. I suppose the one thing that connects everything I wear is vintage. I am very selective in the vintage that I buy...it's never tatty or old-looking. It has to be impeccable quality and feel very modern. I think that's the trick to integrating good vintage into your wardrobe without looking like you're stuck in the past.
What is your favorite decade for design?
CB: Hands-down, the early '70s. Everything from that period really speaks to me, from the music and the high-waisted flares to the cars and modernist houses. If I could wear long flowing maxi "hostess" dresses every day of my life, I'd be a very happy girl.
Do you venture out to places like Mafalda or Bright Lyons looking for specific items or do you like to keep an open mind?
CB: Always keep an open mind. I find that when I go in search of something specific like the perfect denim vest or an Arts + Crafts book, I never find it. I love to be surprised...for me, that's what makes shopping at vintage and second-hand stores so much fun.
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Your impossible dream — any specific item that you would kill to get your hands on?
CB: Well Paul Bright from Bright Lyons has got me newly obsessed with vintage Alexander Girard wall hangings, so I've been searching for one of those but in the right red/orange/pink/colorway. And as far as fashion goes, I'm currently hunting down the perfect pair of black leather loafers. But I will probably buy those new since I plan on wearing them for a long, long time.
Junk vs. Gem — what are your rules for assessing vintage?
CB: It's really important to inspect an item inside and out. I never buy anything that seems to be falling apart or disintegrating in any critical area, like a lining or interior frame. If a repair seems simple, and I really love the piece, I'll buy it. If I'm on the fence about something, usually with price, I always ask myself, "Will I never find this piece again?" If the answer is yes, I always buy it. I can't bare to have regret later on that I missed out on something epic like a Rudi Gernreich bra and let it slip through my fingers.
Any tips for festive dressing?
CB: You know, I read a quote from Chris Benz in a women's magazine recently where he was saying it was really predictable to wear a party dress to a party. And I couldn't agree more. Holiday dressing is all about FEELING festive through your makeup, accessories, the details. You just trim yourself and keep the outfit part simple and elegant. My idea of the perfect holiday outfit is a pair of killer palazzo pants, a shimmery tank-top, very high-heels, a bright red lip and maybe some vintage rhinestone earrings or a wide gold cuff. Divine.
Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
CB: Home. Going out of town during the holidays is much too stressful for me...I like to be quiet, clean and organize from the year passed, and get ready to start the new year on fresh footing...that's generally my holiday M.O.
Personal slogan, words to live by, daily mantra?
CB: "Even in dreams, good works are not wasted." A quote from Pedro Calderon de la Barca. It reminds me that I must always be trying to be a better me, a better friend, a better creative person and leader, a better partner. I never want to rest on my laurels. Ever.
Christene's Gift Guide:
What kinds of gifts do you like to give?
CB: Gifts that take someone by surprise and offer something they didn't even know they wanted. I am also partial to small and sentimental, too.
What kind of gifts do you like to receive?
CB: All of the above. And I love homemade cards. My fiance is really good at those.
What is your critereia for choosing a gift?
CB: If I feel like I would love to get it, then I know I'm on the right track. And I try never to be lazy in gift-giving. I get out there and make the effort to price compare and really find the GEM.
Your best gift-giving tip?
CB: For me, it's really fun to go to M + J Trimmings and find special ribbons and things for wrapping gifts. I have a short list of people who get gifts that are very specially wrapped, and I think making that little extra effort really makes a difference and warms the heart.
Fail-safe secret Santa gift?
CB: A vintage-but-mint book focused on a topic of interest. And I love an amazing vintage rhinestone broach or bracelet.
CB: Makeup sets (unopened, of course), wine and anything else that seems like it just might not have found the right home (yet).
Charities or service-minded gifts?
CB: I always donate to Mercy Corps and the ASPCA...all those beautiful animals out there need some hope for the holidays, too.