This week Marylou of Second Lives Club is hosting Fashion Flash. In a sea of personal and how- to blogs, Second Lives Club is a unique site that profiles women who made large, wonderful changes in their lives. Not only does it give me courage to reach a little further and try a little harder, Second Lives Club shows life choice pathways that actually work.
Betty Halbrich is considered a fashion institution in NYC. She has worked with designs legends including Geoffrey Beene and Chester Weinberg and for more than 25 years she has run the personal shopper service at Bergdorf Goodman. Her client list includes some of the most photographed in the world including Lauren Bacall, Estee Lauder, Candace Bergen, Meryl Streep and Joan Rivers. In recent years she has worked with soap opera stylists, Woody Allen and most famously, pulled the always memorable clothes for Sex and the City.
But this work resume is just part of her fascinating life. Born into a well to do Midwestern family, she thought her life would be an uneventful wife and mother of a successful business. But her life took a clear detour when a divorce and hospitalization in Payne Whitney mental hospital changed who she was and what she would do. Halbrich had inherited the style gene from her always elegant mother and she she used those skills to build a new chapter in her life. She doesn’t pretend it was easy and shares her fears and missteps as well as her successes.
The honesty of her writing as well as an insider look at high fashion make this book both motivating and entertaining. Now at 86, she is a force of nature, working with individual clients as well as movie designers, never backing down from her own hard won opinions. I loved her indomnitable spirit as well as her criticism of buyers who refuse to stock styles larger than size 8 and designers who seem to have abandoned sleeves. If you love fashion, you will love this book.