What words comes to mind when you think of Mikki Taylor? Maybe you think of Essence Magazine, or the fact that she's an author, or maybe you even think of her being a style icon and beauty editor. Well she's all those things and then some. Last night, I had the great opportunity to sit and chat with the fashion and beauty editor extraordinaire. She dished about her amazing new book "Commander in Chic" which is centered around First Lady Michelle Obama's style and how to achieve it. It tells all about great fashion finds, how to develop your own style, and her own personal tips (Mikkisms). She even dished about what it was like growing up with a mother who styled big name celebrities like Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald.
1. What is a "Commander in Chic"?
"A Commander in Chic is someone who owns her life and masters her style with distinction. It's not so much about being trendy it's about establishing your own style and being comfortable in your own skin"
2. Why did you choose First Lady Michelle Obama to be the inspiration of your book?
" Because her philosophy is one every woman can embrace. She's a trend setter not a trend follower. She's extremely fashionable and I also think she sends the right message about style, that it's not all about the new, especially in these economic times. She doesn't mind wearing the same dress twice and she's comfortable in her own skin."
3. What kinds of fashion and beauty tips does your book give?
"With Commander in Chic you can open your closet and learn how to reorder it and know what to wear, you can go shopping with Commander in Chic from Payless to Neiman Marcus and find the best picks. You can know when to shop and when to enter that fabulous zone called "Sale". I want people to use Commander in Chic as a personal style diary. I want them to write in it and add to it."
4. What does "style" mean to you?
"Style is really about how you see yourself from within and the care you in turn give yourself in light of recognizing your value."
5. If you had to choose 3 distinct points on developing style what would they be?
"I think the first thing would be to understand what works for you. Secondly, how you live your life, your budget of course, and even as I explained in the book I talk about making that all important nude assessment, what do you want to accent on your body. What is it that you love about yourself, because if you don't you will be handed a style that is not yours. Ask yourself what's my style, am I a romanticist, do I love a bohemian style, am I a modern minimalist."
6. On a more personal note, what was it like having a mother who basically conquered it all ie...wardrobe stylist, hair stylist, makeup artist?
"O my God it was awe inspiring, my mother worked for many years with the legendary jazz singer Sarah Vaughn. It was fascinating, she would go to Europe and find makeup in our skin tones that she couldn't find on these shores. The magazines she brought back from from different parts of the world. The people in her circle like Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne it was awesome. I loved going to entertainment shows with her it was quite inspiring and a great time to be a little girl especially after the shows were all done I would get all into her makeup and furs."
6. What tips would you give others that are trying to find their way in the fashion field?
"The Creator has instilled a gift that's distinctly ours in each of us it's that thing you do, like you do, that no one else can do it like you do it and your job is to identify it and then to spend every bit to honor Him therein and to use it to color your world and the lives of others.
8. Lastly, what can we expect next from you?
"Well I'm trying to find a clone, there's too much on Mikki Taylor's plate I'm trying to keep up with her (laughs) Actually, I have a nail lacquer line coming out called the Forever Nude Collection by Mikki Taylor. It's built as a line of directional hues. There are six shades that will debut this spring at retailers hopefully like Sephora and Nordstrom.