One of our own graduated yesterday!!
Libby, daughter of Jane (owner of SS) graduated from London College of Fashion yesterday, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Honours Upper Second Class Degree in Fashion Promotion (PR).
The ceremony took place at The Royal Festival Hall, a beautiful river front setting… and we were even graced with blue skies for a while!
The University welcomed Carmen Dell’Orefice and Jane Shepherdson as guest speakers for the ceremony, two women who have shaped the fashion world.
Carmen Dell’Orefice, at 80, is the world’s longest running and oldest model. The style icon has been modelling ever since she got on the cover of Vogue in 1946 at 15 years old.
The grey-haired beauty is still in demand and this year walked at Alberta Ferretti’s Pitti Uomo show and Adrienne Vittadini’s Lincoln Center presentation. In her 66 year career, Ms Dell’Orefice has graced the cover of Vogue six times and been the face of 14 cosmetic campaigns. Carmen worked with the defining fashion photographers of the era: Cecil Beaton, who introduced her to Dali, Irving Penn, who dubbed her ‘Little Carmen’ and shot her as Snow White, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood, Erwin Blumenfeld who saluted her talents as a “great actress” and Horst P. Horst who rhapsodized over her “American beauty of another, antique age”. Today Carmen views life with equanimity and has the air of someone who is unlikely to be surprised by much. Oh, and she won’t be retiring any time soon. She may have “earned the right to work part time,” as she recently told an interviewer, but she remains steadfast in her resolve to “die with my high heels on”.
Jane Shepherdson is the chief executive of UK clothing brand, Whistles and was previously the brand director for high-street women’s wear store TopShop. Over a decade ago Jane Shepherdson had a brainwave, the kind of revelation that was unnerving in its simplicity, too sensible, almost, to actually work. The retail guru, and CEO of Whistles, decided, while working as the brand director at Topshop, that she would never again sell a piece of clothing that she didn’t like, no matter how many units of that tacky dress or ill-fitting top were being shifted every week. The stalk came, and the TopShop that we know…. and LOVE… arrived on our doorsteps, with thanks to Shepherdson’s determination and passion for excellently sourced and designed clothes.
Her beginnings in the industry were humble, though. The daughter of a maths professor and a biologist, she knew she was never going to pursue a life of academia. She loved fashion and, aged 21, got a job as a warehouse picker for Topshop. She was soon promoted to buyer and spent nearly two decades with the company, smashing through the glass ceiling to become head buyer within seven years and brand director soon after. In 2006, however, she surprised the industry by parting with the company she had transformed and going in search of a new project.
Clearly unafraid of a challenge, she took on Whistles in 2008. An upmarket high-street brand, in its 1970s heyday Whistles championed cutting-edge designers such as Dries Van Noten, but latterly fell into a fashion rut, selling half-hearted frumpy faux boho attire, and with Libby sporting the Mandy Skater dress from Whistles for her graduation, we’re already loving the changes! It’s fair to say that Shepherdson has brought Whistles into the forefront of the consumer mind, the brand is now a massive player on the high street, and a favourite of our favourite Kate Middleton!
We, at Stuart’s Shoes, feel extremely privileged to have been in the company of two massive fashions icons! Hearing them speak was very inspirational and heart warming….
A very special day all round!!
Love SS <3 xxx