If ever there is a contemporary individual who often, if not always seem to have stepped out of a Matisse’s paintings, that person is certainly Tziporah Salamon.
I first met the very picturesque Tziporah a few summers ago at an event at the Boat House, in Central Park, held by the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). Over the years we kept in touch and I have come to admire her sartorial fluency even more—especially the studious scholarship, historical and cultural awareness that she brings to bear in the what and how she dresses.
In acknowledgement to her very personal style, she’s a favorite of various street style bloggers, including the maestro of them all, Bill Cunningham. In addition, the prestigious Parisian fashion house, Lanvin, saw fit to use her for their current 2012 advertising campaign. How chic!
Tziporah Salamon was born and grew up in Israel to parents who both sewed for a living. Her father was a master tailor who survived the camps by sewing the Nazi uniforms and her mother was a gifted dressmaker. She recalls that her “father liked to dress me as a little boy and my mother dressed me as a little girl; hence, from day one I was equally comfortable as both. And if that wasn’t enough, my father’s only surviving sister ended up in Texas where she married the vice president of Neiman Marcus so that twice a year we would get packages from her with the most beautiful little girls’ clothes in the world.”
Continuing, “I adored clothes and played dress-up and entertained the adults. For Purim, a Jewish holiday in which children don costumes, my mother went all out and each year outdid herself executing choice outfits for me. Each outfit was complete from head to toe—from the shoes to the hats—she thought out every detail. To this day, I say what I do is Purim: I do complete outfits so that when I’m wearing Chinese I’m wearing Chinese from head to toe, when I’m wearing 20’s I’m in 20’s head to toe. I’m a real purist in that way.”
She invests such devotion to each of her ensembles; taking years to plan and realize each and every composition, as it were, before appearing in public in them. Her particular approach, then, is akin to a generous performance art in that she shares her picturesque self with the public free of charge; but ultimately, she dresses to please the self, herself.
And her generosity of spirit is again exemplified thus: “My love affair with dressing continues to this day. It informs my life. I love turning others on to beautiful clothes and I love teaching women how to dress so that they too can experience the joy and pleasure that I receive on a daily basis.
Notwithstanding her deft sartorial proficiency, Tzioprah Salamon’s academic degrees—BA in English Literature, a masters in Education, one and half years towards a PhD in psychology—surely positions her to explicate to would-be chic types or jaded fashionistas, the elusive shades and smarts of being well attired.
Iké Udé /September 9th.
interviews/photographs: iké udé
Fashion consultant; performance/artist; teacher; model
New York City
Red, especially crimson; pink –all shades
Favorite Fashion Designer:
Coco Chanel; Paul Poiret; Rei Kawakubo; Elisa Palomino
Favorite Shoes/Accessories Designers:
Robert Clergerie; Christian Louboutin; Stephen Jones; Philip Treacy, Anndra Neen, Rene Lewis, Verdura
Fracas by Robert Piguet
Favorite Stylish Films:
Flowers of Shanghai; The King and I (his clothes); Annie Hall; Bonnie and Clyde; We
The Metropolitan Museum, Riverside Park; the Apple store
Anywhere with good friends
Fresh pressed greens with one apple
Who is your style icon?
What item of clothing would you rather starve for?
The perfect shoes
What is your overall impression of how people dress in general?
In New York City, people really do take the time and effort to dress well – which is what it takes.
And what do you recommend that they do otherwise?
I wish New Yorkers were the role models for the masses who would benefit from the knowledge of the importance of clothes and one’s appearance.
PICTURE: #1 IN SIXTEEN ACTS
SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW:
TZIPORAH SALAMONTALKS ABOUT HER 1st OUTFIT
What items did you use to compose this particular outfit?
Missoni scull cap
Antique Chinese embroidered shawl
Isabella Toledo sweater
YSL vintage trousers
How did you find the various items that you are wearing?
The cap I found in the Missoni shop on Madison Ave; the sweater at Bergdorf Goodman; the pants and the bag at the Pier show; the shawl at the Manhattan Vintage Show
How did you arrive at the decision to compose such an outfit?
The outfit started with the knit top worn under the sweater. That was the first item that I purchased because I loved the color and sheen. Then I got the sweater years later. Still later, I found the hat. And what finally pulled it together were the pants. I was so happy when it all came together because I love the colors. And the last thing was the shawl, which with the flowers were a great contrast to the stripes on the trousers.
Where do you normally shop for clothes and accessories?
At the vintage shows in NY; at Bergdorf Goodman; Sturbridge when I can get there.
How much role does money or the lack thereof play in one’s endeavor to dress very smart or beautifully?
It certainly takes money but more importantly it takes imagination and creativity. When I was first starting out, I would wear the same black outfit but accessorized it differently every time so that it always looked great and it seemed like I had many outfits. And I always prefer quality over quantity.
What special recommendation would you give somebody who admires your style but don’t know where or how to start?
Number one rule is to get to know who you are and what suits you. And know your body and what looks good on you. And buy the best that you can afford. And go vintage.
Name six famous personages—past or present—who you would invite over for dinner/drinks because of their impeccable individualistic elegance?
Coco Chanel; Charlie Chaplin; Marlene Dietrich; Diana Vreeland; Denise Poiret; the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor.
As a result of your style, what is your impression of how you are generally perceived in public?
As an individual, daring and one who beats to her own drum.
And how would rather the public perceive you?
Exactly that way!
Presently, what do you think accounts for the poor appearances in how people generally dress or don’t dress?
Dressing well takes time, effort and some money. Most people today are too busy trying to make a living, raise a family and handle the myriad demands of modern life.
In retrospect have you ever worn something that you now find particularly regrettable?
I always gave thought to what I put on my body and how I dressed. It’s part of my DNA. There was never a time when I did not carefully consider every outfit.
In the end, do you dress to: (a.) please others, (b.) please yourself or (c.) hopefully be in agreement with everybody?
I dress to please myself.