Just because someone is successful doesn’t necessarily mean they look successful. Working long hours in any profession might mean forgoing the latest trends in style and fashion.
Chair. The personal shopper and style consultant will stand in for the haute couture victim of means. Working around the world from her London base, Chair, 40, prides herself on leaving her clients’ looking and feeling better.
Trained by years as a buyer and scout in the fashion and beauty industries, Chair makes it her business to track the latest trends, hottest designers, and most popular looks in casual, business, and nightlife fashion. She took her insights and experience into a private practice, treating the fashion ills of individual clients seeking professional help to update and maintain their personal style.
PENTA: What does a fashion consultant and personal shopper do?
Lilya Yasmina Chair: If you’re my client, my most important job is understanding your needs. I ultimately want to make your life easier by building the right wardrobe according to your lifestyle. I work to evolve, match, and adapt your personal external style to your personality. I can show you brands and looks you may not yet know about because it’s my job to be aware of those.
What was your path into this career?
I was always attracted to art, beauty, and luxury in general. After graduation, I worked for big luxury names such as Lancôme and
I realized very quickly that my work advising in the fields of beauty and fashion could have a very strong impact on people’s confidence and the way they view themselves. That realization brought me directly to personal image consulting and personal shopping.
How did you get your start out once you made the transition to shopper and image consultant?
When I started my journey, I was new to London. I didn’t have any connections or networks to rely on, but I had passion about what I was building. The start was tough, and finding clients was difficult. I didn’t have a clear path, but I had a strong intuition on how to connect with people.
Who became those first clients?
They were busy moms from my daughter’s nursery. Most of them had no time for shopping or exploring new trends. They had no opportunity to look after their wardrobe—but they wanted to look stylish, all the same. The transformations they experienced lead to long lasting relationships. They still call me every season to refresh their wardrobes. Now, their husbands and kids ask for my help, too.
I went from building new wardrobes for my friends to exploring luxury shops for new clients to receiving invites to haute couture fashion shows alongside
Ines de La Fressange
and other big names of the fashion world.
When and why should someone reach out to you as an expert consultant and shopper?
My services are generally triggered by change—a change in seasons, a change in career, a change in social life. Still, sometimes I’m brought in just because a client has a desire for greater self-esteem.
My clients want change—transformation into something more in keeping with their identities. They’re also looking to save time spent designing and shopping for that change —knowing that we can get straight to the point together and target their needs. Finally, in cases in which clients are more in touch with their own style, they come to me when looking for specific or exclusive pieces—understanding that I know how and where to source such things.
What is a day like as a style consultant?
My days vary between meeting clients to discuss what they’re really looking for; stopping by their homes to explore their current wardrobes; planning all the brand meetings for my clients; and looking through the line with new brands so I can judge if they’re suitable. I look at what they have available in terms of styles, and sizes, and discuss with them my very specific needs for current clients.
Now that you work with big name, successful people, your clients have extensive resources. What do they lack that brings them to you?
They need organisation and self confidence. They may be successful in business, but that doesn’t mean they have a sense of what they want to project or how they want to look. We work together to find that. Also, in some cases, they really just lack the time to give fashion proper consideration or to get out there and shop for the items required..
What are the most common errors you see your clients make?
One of the common mistakes is over shopping. Once back home, they struggle to match the items together or create outfits. Some beautiful items end up hanging in their wardrobes still wearing their price tags. My role is to control that and make sure what we buy works as a whole with older pieces they enjoy wearing.
How does your consultant and image work expand into other aspects of your clients’ lives?
Through the years, I watched the impact of style transformation on my clients’ self confidence. Looking better was definitely helping them feel better. I find my clients trust me and my skills, so they end up reaching out for more help and changes in other aspects of their lives. I developed a lifestyle coaching service in which I organize everything for the client with the help of the best experts in multiple areas from fashion to fitness to mental health.
This article has been edited for length and clarity.