spotlight: fe noel

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There is nothing more inspiring to me than an ambitious young woman who’s pursuing her dreams.  Someone who radiates with creative energy and has the courage to bring their art to life.  Felisha Noel, owner and designer of the clothing line, Simply Intricate, is exactly that girl and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her for a feature post.  Fe (pronounced “Fee”) is a born and bred Brooklynite who came into the fashion industry in a pure and organic way – her skills were learned through application and hands on experience.  While going to school and working towards her degree in finance, she began by opening up a clothing boutique in Crown Heights, Brooklyn called “The Wagon”, which carried high end vintage mixed with some trendy pieces.  The shop remained open for four years and after closing its door, Fe took with her a desire to develop her own line, one that would combine the beat of New York City streets with high end luxury.  Simply Intricate was born in 2011.  “Defined by simple silhouettes, plunging necklines and comfortable fabrics, each design exudes an innovative mix of sensibility and sensuality. Created for the uptown downtown gal who is not afraid to be chic and daring, the brand also curates a lifestyle for the young and fearless.”  Fe is dedicated to not only the pieces that she designs, but the emotional experience she can provide for her clients.  Just like Your Soul Style’s philosophy, her goal is is to enhance what’s already inside of you.  Through the lens of Fe’s vision, the line continues to grow and evolve, keeping things feminine and classic while also staying true to it’s foundation of refined sexuality.  The Spring 2014 collection is inspired by old school mob movies – think menswear pastel suits, tailored to the silhouette of a women.  I visited her studio out in Brooklyn and we had a chat about Simply Intricate and personal style too since they are one in the same.  Here’s what she had to say about hers…

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Fe, what is your soul style?

My soul is alive and curious.  I’m always yearning for something different, something new.  For me, monotony is a nightmare.  This reflects in my ever-changing and evolving style.

How do you describe your style?

My style is very feminine, fearless, and sexy.  I love everything about being a woman, especially one that takes risks.  I’m such a dreamer so what I wear depends on how I feel and the role I want to play for the day. Ever since I can remember playing dress up has always been my thing.

What does your style say about you?

My style says, “You see that girl? She has personality and oomph!”  To stand as an individual and create your own style takes courage.  I like to have fun and be daring, but I have high regards for class.

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Where do you draw inspiration from?  Do you have a style icon?

My inspiration comes from sultry, classy women both fiction and non-fiction.  I love old school movies where the women are irresistible and powerful.  One of my all time favorite characters is Elvira played my Michele Pfeiffer in Scarface.  I also take inspiration from the men in my life – my male family figures are very tailored suit and tie type of guys and my boyfriend and his group of friends are really into that Brooklyn high fashion street culture.  For me, mixing those two together is perfection, best of both worlds.  Ultimately I feel like inspiration is all around, it’s just that some days I take the time to actually notice and acknowledge it.  I wouldn’t say I have one particular style icon, but rather a full pot that I mix together.

Did your style evolve over time or has it stayed consistent?

My style is continuously evolving.  When I sit down each season to design for Simply Intricate, I realize how much my tastes have changed.  The older I get, the more refined I’m becoming.  I’m into dressing for the occasion and making sure the fit is right for me.  My look always has to reflect how I’m feeling.  I’ve learned over time how to appreciate quality fabrics and well-made pieces and to skip the trends.  My ideal closet will start with Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren and end with Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford.  Crazy, right?  Sounds like two different women.  I guess you can say I’m the epitome of a Gemini woman.

Do you have any style challenges?

I love fashion, but I’m very aware that it is also a very expensive habit.  I have to keep myself balanced and focus on being a creator and not a consumer.

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Do you have a favorite fashion/style moment?

My favorite style moment is when everything it just right from my outfit, shoes, makeup, accessories even down to the event.  I hate feeling like I’ve wasted an outfit, so the event I’m attending has to be perfect as well.  There is nothing more exciting than walking into the perfect place with the perfect outfit.  That feeling that overcomes a woman when she knows she looks good.

And your worst?

My awkward teenage years.  I definitely grew into my look.  Actually my favorite story is the ugly duckling, and of course my favorite part of that story is when she turns into a beautiful swan.

Must have item in your wardrobe?

Everything! (just kidding).  My Chanel riding boots and vintage army green coats with my fur stole. I can survive with just those two items if I had to!

Three things people don’t know about you?

I’m obsessed with Mob Movies
I’m afraid of the dark and still sleep with my lights on
I hate the word “diva” & “fashionista”

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Be sure to check out Simply Intricate’s online shop here and follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

spotlight: patrice batson

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I met Patrice Batson by way of instagram.  Yes – instagram!  We became fast friends via our common ground of fashion and I’m pleasantly surprised by this modern, unexpected 21st century relationship.  At 27, this Bajan beauty quickly impressed me, which I now know is thematic.  While interning during Merecedes Benz Fashion Week at 17, she caught the eye of a Fashion Editor from Seventeen magazine and impressed her too.  Poached right out of the mix and asked to come on board at the publication, this was the beginning of her beginning.  After a few more years of paying her dues and learning the ropes at companies like Donna Karan, IMG Models, Chanel and Versace, Patrice landed her first “real job” at InStyle magazine in Advertising Sales.  It wasn’t until her work at Digital Brand Architects though, that she discovered her interest in branding and strategy.  She currently holds the position of Marketing Manager of Brand Development (for products and services) at ELLE Magazine.  It is here where she has found her groove, engaged in creative strategizing, problem solving and understanding the consumer on a deeper level.  She coins herself part anthropologist.  Outside the corporate walls, Patrice co-founded Cup of Tea, an interior design service.  She is passionate about helping others create a home that is personal and inviting.  Like Your Soul Style, she believes in authentic expression and feeling connected to your spaces since they are an extension of who you are.  Her dream job is to travel the world, remodeling boutique hotels.  In June, Patrice will marry Kalvin, whom she’s been with for 8 years, in the West Village of Manhattan.  Ethereal, romantic and intimate are just some of the objectives she hopes to capture for the evening.  When Patrice and I got together, I asked what her favorite part of living in this great city was and she said, “of course the food and restaurants”, but more importantly, “the people”.  Her source of inspiration from the street has provided a road map to her personal style.  So we had a chat about that.  Here’s what she had to say….

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Patrice, what is your soul style?

My soul is actually pretty lazy so my style stems from that. I strongly stick to a color palette of neutrals and navy. I’m almost always in black.  It has become my signature amongst friends.  If I’m not in black, they think something is wrong. 

How do you describe your style? 

My style is minimally classic.  I love finding pieces that are simple, but will still be relevant 10 years from now.  I’m not a fashionista.  Firstly, I can’t keep up because there are new trends almost everyday.  Secondly, I don’t do well with constant change.  My “uniform” consists of skinny jeans, a t-shirt and a great jacket/blazer.  Or I’m in a shift dress.  I wear some variation of the two almost every day.  

What does your style say about you? 

My style says that I’m comfortable, yet pulled together.  It took me a while to find my style and while it’s still evolving, I’ve reached a point where I’m finally comfortable in what I wear.  And it shows.  I recently cut off all my hair and feel like that has a lot to do with my style right now as well.  I was nervous because I thought I’d have to dress more feminine and girly which is so not me.  But, I’m pleasantly surprised that this hairstyle has enhanced my personal style even more.

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Where do you draw inspiration from?  Do you have a style icon?

I work in one of the most stylish buildings in NYC – the Hearst Tower, so my favorite pastime is going to the cafeteria and people watching.  It’s definitely a catwalk situation and I enjoy it because I’m inspired to up my game.  I wanted to start a style blog about the fabulous people in there, both men and women, but I’m too lazy.

I also draw inspiration from my fiance’, Kalvin.  He’s one of the most stylish and coolest guys I know.  I’m obviously bias, but it terms of style, there are not too many men that can go from a boardroom meeting to a Jay-Z concert and he does this effortlessly.  His closet is much bigger than mine, yet his style is very defined.  If Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford had a baby, it would be Kalvin.

Other than that, my style icons are the French Vogue gang.  They’re literally the best dressed women I’ve ever seen.  I definitely worship at the church of Emmanuelle Alt, the fearless leader and Editor-in-Chief.  She is responsible for making me go home, strip my entire closet full of the ‘fluff’ and streamline it.  I’m constantly editing because I feel overwhelmed with too many options.  Women don’t typically say, “I have too many clothes”, right?  Well, I guess I’m rare.  I’ve applied my edited closet approach to many other aspects in my life, like my desk at work.  It has a curated theme.  Less is more.

Did your style evolve over time or has it stayed consistent?

My style has definitely evolved.  Thank god!  I seriously don’t even know what the heck I was thinking with some of my outfits, but I guess everyone has to go through that period of finding themselves.  I’m so glad it’s almost over!  For a long time, I tried to dress like someone else and it didn’t quite work out for me.  Once I started dressing like myself, it all clicked.  Over the past year and a half my style has been consistent – timeless with a modern twist.  What has also helped is taking the time to find designers and brands that work for my body and are also of a certain quality.  I’m a huge fan of J.Crew, Theory, A.P.C, Francisco Costa from Calvin Klein, Chloe and Rag & Bone.  I adore finding designers that bring bring something fresh to the table like my friend Fe Noel of Simply Intricate.  The top and skirt from this shoot are hers.

Do you have any style challenges?  

My biggest style challenge is my lack of unlimited funds.  I’m at a point in my life where stores like H&M are just not cutting it anymore.  Don’t me wrong, I love H&M, but I’ve started investing in my clothing as I’ve gotten older.  I find it important.  Since the investment pieces are indeed, major investments, I have to pace myself so I don’t go broke.  Especially since I’m in the process of saving for both a wedding and a new home! 

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Do you have a favorite fashion/style moment?

My favorite style moments are anything Michelle Pfeiffer wore in Scarface.  I’m actually not a huge fan of the movie, but I find myself constantly playing it to watch her style.  It’s effortless, chic, sexy – just genius.  She mainly wears neutrals and simple suits and that (to me) is the epitome of sleek femininity.  My goal is to dress like that by the time I’m 30.  

And your worst? 

Take your pick of my many disasters from kindergarten to my mid-twenties.  I seriously cringe when I click through old facebook pictures and see some of the outfits that I put together.  The irony is how I thought I was so fashion forward and stylish! 

Must have item in your wardrobe?

My Balenciaga moto bag with rose gold studs, now discontinued.  My finance’ bought the last one in North America as a Christmas gift last year and it has been with me every single day since.  It instantly adds a bit of luxe, bad-ass-ness to anything I put on.  I hope to hand it down to my daughter one day.  This is probably weird, but sometimes when I shop I say to myself, “would my future daughter want to wear this in 20 years?”  You’d be surprised how many things I put back on the rack because of that question.  Look at her, already helping me make major fashion decisions!   

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Join Patrice on instagram to keep up with her latest musings on travel, fashion, random inspirations and a peek behind the scenes at ELLE!

To be featured on Your Soul Style, e-mail me directly at yoursoulstyle@gmail.com.