Wirkus, a New York based celebrity stylist, fashion entrepreneur
and wardrobe organisation aficionado. Discover her East Coast
essentials, her fashion week favourites and her new line of
swimwear, made for real women.
What made you want to be a stylist when you were
I knew I
wanted to work in fashion since I was nine years old. Watching
Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and the other supermodels of the
time on TV, made me realise it would be the best way to channel my
creative side. Once I finished high school, I went on to pursue a
degree in Fashion Design. It wasn't until my first internship,
working with the band Angels and Airwaves, that I realised
I wanted to be a stylist.
What three qualities do you think every stylist needs to
I think a
stylist needs to be creative, outgoing and very patient!
You moved from sunny LA to NYC, how do you think fashion
varies from West to East coast?
matter where you are going in NYC, you can be as dressed up as you
want whereas dressing in LA is definitely more casual; I think both
are effortless. I remember when I moved to NYC I was used to
wearing workout apparel during the day and nobody was doing that
here at the time. Now, active wear is in style and I am very happy
about that. I definitely am a jeans and tee girl and now that I
live in NYC I do the same look just in all black, paired with a
great heel and jacket. You never can go wrong with all black and
You work with a loyal and diverse range of A-listers,
many of whom call New York home. What are the 'East Coast
essentials' you recommend for dressing like a star in New
key in NYC, not only because of the weather but because accessories
can make your look. A lush black cashmere coat, a great pair of
oversized black sunglasses, a thigh-high suede flat boot, and a
classic leather bag are key essentials for Winter. For Summer I
would say that a flat sandal, a fun colourful bag, a pair of
aviator sunglasses and a floral print vintage style dress are great
You have everyone from supermodels to company CEO's
singing your praises for organising their wardrobes. What are your
tips for keeping a streamlined closet, especially in confined New
When you have
smaller spaces, I think it's essential to separate your Fall/Winter
clothing from your Spring/Summer clothing. Keep only the clothing
for the appropriate season out. This will not only allow for more
space, but you will have forgotten what you have stored and it will
be like shopping your own wardrobe when you do the switch
Rachel Wirkus captured overlooking the New York Stock
The iconic Fiji bracelet with featuring pavé-set diamonds,
styled by Rachel.
What is your favourite red carpet event in New York and
what does it take to get a client gala ready?
There are many
places to go in NYC if you want to rent high-end designer gowns. My
two favourites are Cloak Wardrobe and Armarium.
You can rent beautiful, off-the-runway dresses for a fraction of
the price. One can also go to the numerous vintage and consignment
stores and find designer clothing in great shape for small
Speaking of tight New York closets - can you share your
local tips for consigning? What should we look for when selling and
non-designer items or pieces that are more worn in, Buffalo
Exchange is a fast, easy place to trade in clothing for cash.
For high-end designer items there are great companies to send your
pieces, companies that will upload and manage your items on eBay.
Helper Girls is one that I would recommend for this, they
are based in San Diego, California.
When you are
buying designer items, especially handbags, you make sure it comes
with an authenticity card. If you are spending money on something,
you want to make sure you are getting the real deal. When you are
selling, include original cards, dust bags and boxes and you will
get more money for your item.
What role does jewellery play in styling and do you
follow any rules?
make or break the look. I'm a huge fan of layering delicate pieces.
Tiny chokers, multiple thin rings and tiny earrings can complement
almost any look! When I go for statement pieces I usually pick a
beautiful earring and ring combination or a necklace, ring or
bracelet combo. Too much becomes distracting.
Rachel styles the Naida Thin Cuff with iconic Fiji and Signature
pieces for an elegant everyday look.
Do you have a sentimental piece of jewellery or a piece
with a fabulous story?
I recently got
engaged, so I would have to say my engagement ring is my favourite
piece of jewellery. It is classic and very special to me. Another
sentimental piece is a necklace that was passed down to me from my
great-grandmother, it is something I will cherish forever. It is a
long thin gold chain with coloured heart stone charms; it makes for
a great layering piece.
You recently launched Formes, your own line of
swimwear for real women. What has New York taught you about being
I did! It's
been a long time coming and I'm so happy I decided to finally do
it. I have to say it is a lot harder than I thought. Things come up
on a daily basis that make me adjust my business model, but I know
that's part of starting your own business. If it were easy then
everyone would do it. Being an entrepreneur is extremely
challenging, but so rewarding. I feel lucky to be able to do what I
Where can we buy our Formes swimwear in New
York and abroad?
Right now we
are selling online on our website. We will start trunk shows at the end
of next month through the Summer in a few cities in the US and also
in London. I want to keep the brand exclusive, but we will be
coming into select stores and online shops soon.
Rachel pictured at her apartment in the New York Financial
If a beach vacation is not on the agenda anytime soon,
can you share a New York spa tip for a stay-cation?
One of my
favourite spa days is spent at Aire Ancient Baths in
Tribeca. When you arrive, you feel like you are in another time and
place. There are multiple different pools, saunas and you can
schedule for massages as well. It's a real escape from the hustle
and bustle of the city!
What are your must-see shows at New York Fashion Week
and how will you spend your week?
I will attend
all the shows I can fit in around styling my clients. My favourite
shows are Cushnie et Ochs, Michael Kors,Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Proenza
Schouler, to name a few. I'm always excited to see what the
newer brands are showing. New York City is full of amazing young
Tell us a New York fashion secret…
coat can make everything better. It doesn't matter what you have
underneath, add a great big coat and no one will ever
If you could have anything engraved on a Monica Vinader
bracelet, what would it be?
FORMES"- Formes meaning 'shape' or 'curves' in French. Always
remember to love yourself, love your body and know that you are