Spiritual Fashion: Who Guides the Stylish Set?


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Photo Courtesy of Jenni Kayne
Designer Jenni Kayne finds well-being via her food guru.

In the annals of sartorial lore, a fortune-teller named Madame Zereakian once decreed that Karl Lagerfeld would succeed in “fashion and perfume.” She also foretold, sources say, that Lagerfeld would be extraordinarily successful if he worked with a short, dark-haired woman (ahem, Coco Chanel). Lagerfeld wisely listened.

To say that the fashion world is superstitious is perhaps a bit of an understatement. From psychics to gurus, the fashion flock often turn to unconventional sources for guidance. Who, we wondered, is leading us today?

On the first of any given month, the Facebook statuses and Twitter updates of the stylish set are about one person and her site: astrologist Susan Miller and AstrologyZone.com. Her horoscopes are read obsessively, her warnings about retrogrades are taken extremely seriously. (Incidentally, her daughter Chrissie is the designer behind label Sophomore.)

“I love AstrologyZone,” says fashion publicist Bonnie Morrison. “She is pretty consistent—not for romance; she hasn’t been accurate. But when it comes to career or the home situation, it’s crazy how accurate she is. Even her daily [horoscopes] are pretty detailed.”

Morrison also once tried going to a psychic at the prompting of Elle creative director Joe Zee but didn’t find much in the way of answers. She did get “unblocked” psychically, though she’s sure her friends would disagree.

Of course, there’s always more than one way to skin a nutria (eco-friendly, people!). Knowing the answers doesn’t necessarily equal inner peace. Enter the true zen master. “For me it is Bikram Choudhury,” shoe designer Jean-Michel Cazabat says. “His method of yoga inspires me to keep all aspects of my life in order. It’s good for the body and the soul.”

Prabal Gurung also opts for a melding of the physical and spiritual. “Whenever I need to relieve stress or have an important obligation, I let my trainer, Ryan Hopkins, know ahead of time and he plans my workout accordingly,” says Gurung. “He is capable of creating a routine that actually gives me a burst of energy at a chosen time later that day. He is brilliant.”

Many in the industry go an internal, meditative route, focusing more on healing the soul. Donna Karan is often lauded as the best example of living well, and her work with Deepak Chopra is well documented. Publicist and reality-TV star Kelly Cutrone’s mentor is Amma, an Indian humanitarian who is known for helping people simply by hugging them.

“Love is her religion,” Cutrone says. “She believes there are two kinds of poverty in the world: The first is a lack of love and compassion, which we’re all suffering from. It’s the worst kind. The second is a lack of money. Cure the first and the second won’t exist.” Cutrone is working with Amma on upcoming projects to help the homeless.

Kelly Cutrone and Prabal Gurung

Photos courtesy of Kelly Cutrone and Prabal Gurung

Kelly Cutrone and designer Prabal Gurung are both on the quest for zen.


For other designers and luminaries, finding inner nirvana is a deeply personal quest, achieved through a variety of means. “I have a lot of spiritual intuition myself, so I tend to trust my instincts,” says front-row fixture Becka Diamond. “I have been seeing a Chinese healer to re-balance my chakras and work with all of my astrological charts to guide me to a positive path.”

Designer Jenni Kayne travels the body-as-a-temple route, seeking help with her diet. “Pamela Salzman is my food guru. She not only taught me how to cook but also why certain foods are better than others. Eating well definitely leads to living well.”

If all this has left you pondering how exactly you can find a guru in your life—short of getting a life coach—take heed. A guide is who or what you make it to be, including a musician.

“We are painfully secular and the closest thing I have had to a guru is probably Morrissey,” Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Tagliapietra says. “Growing up I had a jean jacket with the words ‘Morrissey Is God’ scrawled on the back!”

To each his own, indeed. We’ll be listening to the Smiths while getting our chakras realigned if anyone needs us.

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