Somers Farkas is an instant standout in a crowd—anytime, anywhere, any place. She is always elegantly and ingeniously appointed in each of her various outfits. And because of her height and frame, swan-like, there is an air of weightlessness about her when she moves in any of her gorgeous dresses. This captivates! She is indeed tall, very tall; miraculously reed thin, firm in physique and with boundless energy fit for six people.
Thankfully this buoyant energy and temperament of hers enables her to engage in a rather demanding, relentless humanitarian and charitable causes.
Somers is a native Virginian who has lived in New York for over two decades. A passionate, determined humanitarian, and advocate she’s raised millions of dollars for various causes having learned well from her role model mother, Caramine Kellam, a respected patron and humanitarian; and from her family, whose dedication to the Virginia peninsula resulted in the formation and continuation of The Barrier Islands Center, capital improvements in the community college and hospital, and The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel that carries the Kellam name today. It is her family’s deep commitment to giving back that inspires Somers to carry that same impressive torch of humanitarianism here in New York City.
Today, she serves on the board of The New York Women’s Foundation and is an External Affairs Officer for Lighthouse International—an organization dedicated to fighting vision loss. Furthermore, she co-Chaired the ASPCA annual benefit, BERGH BALL; the Southampton Hospital Summer Party and the School of American Ballet WINTER BALL.
Somers is also a member of the Colonial Dames of America and Daughters of the American Revolution, and has consulted for the New York City Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations. She too enjoys writing, and has been a featured writer for Gotham and Hamptons Magazine and contributing editor to NYC & CO’s online presence.
In the next six days, witness Somers Farkas in a six distinct sartorial compositions. If she’d first landed in New York as a fashion model—no surprise—she’s become a model for fashion by her great panache and individualized chic.
Iké Udé /February 29th
interviews/photographs: iké udé
43 though at times I feel as if I am 145!
Stalwart advocate for The Alzheimer’s Association, the ASPCA, the New York Women’s Foundation and an External Affairs, Lighthouse International
Favorite Fashion Designer:
I have many favorite designers, each of whom are at the pinnacle for their particular style: Naeem Khan, Maggie Norris, Dalila Anderson, Paola Quadretti, Jackie Rogers, and Carolina Herrera
Favorite Shoe/Accessories Designer:
Manolo Blahnik and HERMES, respectively
Favorite Stylish Film:
At home, either entertaining good friends, or quietly alone
LOCHWOOD, my family’s farm in Virginia
A Hangar 1 Martini, shaken perfectly in the library at The Greenwich Hotel
Who is your style icon?
My Mother, for both her fashion style and wise counsel
What item of clothing would you rather starve for?
An old Turnbull and Asser French cuff of Daddy’s
What is your overall impression of how people dress in general?
The way we dress expresses our lives, reflects our mood. Today, and, this is something of which—on occasion—I too am guilty, we tend to dress more for ourselves, attentive to our circumstances, rather than considering an audience. We dress for comfort and practicality, and, too, for schedules. Our busy lives often compel us to wear clothes, which take us from “day into night”, “morning into evening”.
And what do you recommend that they do otherwise?
I recommend that people continue to dress as they wish.
PICTURE: #1 IN SIX ACTS
SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW:
SOMERS FARKAS TALKS ABOUT HER 1ST OUTFIT
What items did you use to compose this particular outfit?
I wore this outfit for the Hampton Classic Horse Show, an extraordinary show in Bridgehampton, NY, and the first U.S. stop in the East Coast World Cup League, I too ride, though not nearly at the level of these equestrians –and like to wear my Jodhpurs and English bespoke boots. I mixed this traditional look with a vintage Polo Belt and suede hat (though dressage, a helmet would have been too odd); the “Agathe” Shirt is custom Maggie Norris as is the “Astaire” Jacket.
How did you find the various items that you are wearing?
The “Agathe” shirt, “Astaire” jacket , Jodhpurs from Maggie Norris Couture of New York City, Belt, Mr. Lauren’, Boots from LOBB; Hat from James Lock & Co., of London
How did you arrive at the decision to compose such an outfit?
I admire the equestrian spirit because I do ride, and appreciate the timeless, stylish look. Because of our involvement in the Hampton Classic, I tried to incorporate these classic elements into my outfit.
Where do you normally shop for clothes and accessories?
Even though I am merely a transplant, as do the born-and-bred New Yorkers, I believe our city has the BEST of everything! Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales – up town, down town, east or west, showroom or salon, Brooklyn to the Bronx—a girl can find all she needs!
How much role does money or the lack thereof play in one’s endeavor to dress very smart or beautifully?
As in life, money can only take you so far in fashion. The key to beautiful dressing and style is to take ownership over what you wear. The simplest outfit can be the most exquisite if worn with confidence; clothes are a only a second skin, and only when you are comfortable will the pieces truly compliment you.
What special recommendation would give somebody who admires your style but don’t know where or how start?
Style is innate in all of us; it is assembled through the years, an unconscious acknowledgement of those you have loved and hated, occasions happy and memories sad, pure joy, and too, moments of anger, and fear. To define one’s personal style, I recommend that one begins at the beginning, be true to your-self, your likes and dislikes. Find one perfect piece – vintage or contemporary – and incorporate it in to your collection..then add one piece, and then another. Over time, your style will evolve.
Name six famous personages—past or present—whom you would invite for dinner/drinks because of their impeccable individualistic elegance?”
In no particular order:
Queen Hatshepsut, the Woman who was King (1479 – 1457 BC)
Alexander the Great
President George Washington
As a result of your style, what is your impression of how you are generally perceived in public?
People have often said, that because of my traditional style, and preference for earth and cool tones, I appear a dichotomy..cold yet warm, intimidating yet approachable.
And how would rather the public perceive you?
Perhaps 1st impressions are meant to be perceived…
Presently, what do you think accounts for the poor appearances in how people generally dress or don’t dress?
Style is subjective, and who am I to judge? The way we dress expresses our lives, reflects our mood—to each an individual style, and, unlike right and wrong, no one can magistrate good or bad.
In retrospect have you ever worn something that you now find particularly regrettable?
I was raised in Virginia, surrounded by history and tradition, and am uncomfortable following, or chasing, trends. I try to maintain a consistent clutch on the classics—that said, I did venture into bright tights in boarding school!
In the end, do you dress to: (a.) please others, (b.) please yourself or (c.) hopefully be in agreement with everybody?
All of the above! Mother taught me that one may be both adored and despised, and though I do recognize that all will never appreciate my sartorial decisions, it is imperative to always dress appropriately and respectfully. I also consider my husband’s likes and dislikes, and will not wear an outfit or accessory, which he abhors – a decision based on strength and not weakness.