Barbara Tfank, as a designer, is best described through the women she dresses, independent, and chic, women who possess their own definitive style, and who appreciate that Barbara’s art enhances and celebrates their own individuality. Perhaps that is why First Lady Michelle Obama chose to wear Tfank’s dress when meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and again for the 2012 State of the Union Address. Indeed, Barbara’s creations are often associated with the iconic; Having dressed Adele for the Grammy awards in 2009, Adele went on to win 6 awards that night, a star in brilliant green satin.
As a person, Barbara is as memorable as her designs, both rarefied and intelligent. From her career as a costume designer in Hollywood, she designed her first red carpet dress for Uma Thurman at the Oscars in 1995 while working as a consultant for Prada. The Lavendar dress was published everywhere, and featured in Hal Rubenstein’s book, 1000 Unforgettable Dresses. From there, Barbara launched her eponymous line in Barneys, and has built a loyal following since. “I was always interested in making clothes for the woman who wants to look unique, has her own sense of style…” … and for that spirit, we celebrate Barbara Tfank as our MUSE.
Here, she answers our questions:
What’s in your make-up bag?
By Terry Baume de Rose, Anastasia eyebrow wiz, Mavala cuticle oil
Do you have a beauty secret?
Wash my face 2 daily with Cera Ve. I do not use any creams at night.
What would be your desert island essentials?
Sun block, a hat, By Terry Baume de Rose, a few good books, sunglasses and my husband.
What do you wear on a fat day?
Black pants. T shirt and a glamorous coat.
How would your female friends describe your style?
“Approachable elegance”, “Wearable luxury” and “Regal but of the people”
What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
My Cocktail coat in vintage Bianchini Ferier brocade.
Is there anything in your wardrobe you should get rid of but can’t?
Many pairs of black pants.
What do you never leave home without?
My antique gold drop earrings and gold bracelet.
Hot date night with your husband/boyfriend/lover, what do you wear?
Slim dress with opera coat and high heels.
When home alone, what do you wear?
Black pants and t shirt
What do you wear to bed?
A collection of white cotton night dresses from Peress on Madison Ave.
You’re the fashion police for a day, what do you ban?
Poorly fitted clothing. Almost anything can look good if it fits properly.
Have you ever worn anything you now regret?
Yes the same pink coat as one the models in my show. The model was a foot taller than me!
How high is too high a heel?
I only wear high heels with a platform 4 “ limit.
How old is too old for jeans?
I never wear them but admire how others of all ages carry them off.
If you could live in any other time for its fashion, when would you choose?
18 century and 1920’s.
What is your most recent purchase?
Black thick heeled suede booties.
Can you judge a book by its cover?
Absolutely. Having been a costume designer it’s definitely a habit.
What are your bad habits?
Too Self-critical, second guessing situations.
What’s your greatest extravagance?
What are your guilty pleasures?
Coffee, very good Bordeaux.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Take it day at a time.
What’s your favorite smell?
A huge bouquet of sterling silver roses
What’s your idea of a great holiday?
A quiet moment in a beautiful natural setting.
What are you most proud of?
My latest collection Spring Summer 16
What are you least proud of?
My tendency to worry.
What is your pure bliss?
A Sant Ambrose cappuccino and long Madison Ave walk.
Who or what would you like to be reincarnated as in your next life?
A cross between an opera signer and a film director
What would you eat for your last supper?
Grilled salmon with farm to table vegetables followed by cheese and salad and an expresso.
If you could meet someone from history who would it be?
A tie between Frederico Fellini and Marie Antoinette
Yes or no to a nip and a tuck?
Do you have a favorite purse or bag?
My black Hermes pouchette
Do you have a favorite KOTUR bag?
My Gold minaudiere with vintage brocade lining.
On a scale of one-to-ten, how good looking are you?
Too difficult to answer
How would you like to be remembered?
A designer who created beautiful clothing in gorgeous fabrics that uplifted the spirit.
Photo Courtesy of Barbara Tfank’s Instagram, getty images