(Beckie pictured left, Martina pictured right)
Martina Gordon is a former fashion model who has worked for some of the world's greatest designers and fashion houses, such as Chanel, Chloé, YSL, Dior, Ferre, Rochas, as well as main stream and cutting edge fashion magazines. She was also the face of Max Factor cosmetics and Pantene. In 2010, Martina co-created the highly sought after jewelry line "I'm Jewel," with her sister Yvonna Bruun, which is based in NYC, Paris and Copenhagen. Today Martina lives in NYC with her husband Anthony and their two boys Venice and Reef.
Beckie Klein was also a former fashion model whose work spanned a decade and appeared in such Europe and American magazines as Vogue, Elle, Glamour and Marie Claire. Beckie graduated Magna Cum Laude with a journalism degree from Columbia University and her writings on art and photography have appeared in such industry magazines as American Photography, Blackbook Photography and Surface Magazine among other international art and photography publications. Today, Beckie lives in Tribeca NYC with her husband Keith and their sons Ry and Caleb.
Beckie and Martina met as models in 1992. Years later in 2009, as best of friends and a formidable styling team, they co-founded their image consulting business "The Re-Stylists" followed by the launching of their on-camera styling business, "Media Style NYC" in 2014. Today, their clients span the worlds of entertainment, sports and business and they are among the most sought after stylists in NYC.
Where were you born? Where do you live/work?
Martina: I grew up in Czechoslovakia, today Slovakia. I was studying at a university when I was discovered through a modeling contest. So I had the opportunity to leave and become a fashion model, which I didn't know anything about at that time. I was whisked straight from my little town in Slovakia to Milan then Paris the following year. I have the fondest memories of Paris. I actually met Beckie in Paris - it was 1992. I live in New York City now with my family. I have two sons, one is 11, the other is 20. The 20-year old is in Paris right now - exactly the same age I was when I moved there.
Beckie: Aside from the fact that we grew up an ocean apart - I have a very similar story to Martina. I was born in a very small agricultural town in Florida where modeling was something people just talked about - not something anyone actually knew how to become. And because I was tall, "you should model" was just something I grew up hearing. For some reason, they didn't say, "You should be a basketball player." (Laughing) Eventually it became something I was genuinely curious about. So finally, tired of hearing me ask about it, my mom entered my pictures into a Ford modeling contest. "If they like you, we'll pursue it. If they don't, stop talking about this." I ended up being a winner for Florida and sent to NYC where I stayed in Eileen Ford's home with few other models, which was amazing. Since I was still in high school, I started working close to home in Miami. From there, I was doing these crazy trips to the Bahamas and Jamaica for work. I was on the plane for two hours and dropped into an entirely new world. Eventually I made my way back to NYC for maybe a week then, boom, I was off to Milan. Milan turned into London. London turned into Paris. And that's where it all began. I stayed overseas for three years. The travel was definitely a huge incentive for me to continue modeling. Looking back on it all now it amazes me how much on-the-job training modeling requires. Models are really just kids plucked out of nowhere knowing nothing and thrown into the middle of these incredibly talented, creative, successful people.
What fuels your desire to create?
Martina: Beckie and I were both educated in the environment of fashion and we use that knowledge in everything we do. When we first started The Re-Stylsits, we were young mothers who identified with other women going through similar transitions in their lives. We noticed that most of the moms around us didn't have the time, money or desire to spend either on themselves. We saw a big need for women to not only find their style but a way for it to be accessible and easy. That moment was our window into the personal styling and image-making business.
Beckie: When we started, it wasn't as easy as it is today for the everyday woman to be inspired by fashion. Now, social media makes fashion and style so much more accessible. When we started our fashion business, we both lived downtown NYC where most of the women we were around had the money and the clothes but not the energy or time. Most would run into a store with no vision or plan, grab a few things quickly only to end up back in their sweatpants the next day.
Martina: Yes, at the time, we really were seeing way too many women in their sweatpants. That was a bad period. And that inspired us to say, "You know what? these women need our help!" And not just to go shopping - but actually to stop shopping and start making sense of what they already owned. We asked women to take a step back and look at what they actually had first because maybe they had everything they needed in their closets - they just needed a fresh set of eyes to help them put it together the right way. And if they didn't have the clothes, taking an inventory would at least give them an idea of what they actually needed to buy. We were so excited by this idea - we really thought we were inventing the wheel (laughing). And that's how we came up with our name, "The Re-Sylists." Of course, there were other stylists doing this, but we were a unique combination of being former models, trained by the greatest fashion visionaries in the world, and the everyday woman. And that we are a team -- that makes us very unique.
Beckie: We are known as "personal stylists" but prefer to think of ourselves as fashion psychologists. Our business has grown and evolved so much over the years. Today we style as many men as women - and everyone from professional athletes to CEO's and celebrities. But our general approach has always stayed the same.
Martina: When styling a client, we really try to understand who he or she is and wants to be. Which is why we like to start in the client's closet. The closet is where we gather our information - where we really dive into who this person is. And people are generally very comfortable with us right away - the dynamic of us being a team breaks the ice very quickly.
Beckie: Martina and I have a great energy together. We always hear that we are Yin and Yang.
Martina: We are also very visual people - we see beauty in everything, not just clothes. And everything depends on the angle at which you look it. So I think we find the inspiration everywhere, and we are very lucky to live in a place that is so inspiring. For me, it's where I gather most of my information. I love walking and watching people in the street: how they wear, what they wear, the colors they combine.
I pay attention to how people wear their clothes, especially younger people because they maybe have less of a budget so they have to be super creative to kind of give themselves that extra edge.
Who are the people - women, or maybe designers, or photographers - that inspire you by their work?
Martina: I like a strong woman. I don't like sweet or flowery kinds of style.
Beckie: The word we use often is "androgynous". With our women, we gravitate towards a strong and simple style.
Martina: I love Charlotte Rampling. She's an example of that kind of woman. The way she carries herself - she is very certain of who she is. And that confidence translates into how she dresses herself.
What are 10 things that make you happy?
Martina: Well, I love hanging out with my children. That makes me super happy. When we're all under one roof and they still let me take care of them - I love that. Because that is really, at my core, who I am. I like to actually nurture and take care of people. It's sometimes good, not always. I also love traveling. I absolutely love exploring new places. I love exploring new cultures, tasting new food, and experiencing new colors. I just said to Beckie the other day, "I work so I can travel!" I don't know, there is just some ideas that I have in my mind that I think I am seeking to experience, and travel is my window into that. I also love working. I enjoy my work tremendously. And I love cooking - that's another area where I really express my creativity. And what else I love? I design jewelry. But to create, I have to be in a peaceful place - I need to have peace of mind for that in order for the ideas to come and then execute them. What else do I love? I love my friend (Beckie.)
Beckie: What makes me happy? I think at the core of me, I love and I need to be around people I enjoy. That's a really big one for me. So that includes my family. I love being with my husband and my kids. I love discovering with them. Our boys are 10 and almost 12. And I'm very close with my mom and sister, too. I love to dance. I love music. Music makes me very happy. I'm very fortunate to have a husband and a best friend (Martina) who are amazing cooks, because I love, love, love to eat. Basically, I'm a complete hedonist. So what makes me happy? Eating, sleeping, dancing, and mooching around with my kids. And if I can add water or snow or anything in nature to all that, I'm in heaven.
One of my passions is photography. As much as I love to be around people, I also need to withdraw into myself, and when I have my camera it's as if I'm not there. I love capturing the motion of things, the beauty and the lines. I read this great quote, "I take pictures to see what something will look like in a photograph." And that might sound obvious and crazy. But that's why I take pictures, too. I take pictures to see what that moment is going to look like if I can capture it, and hold it, and keep it still. And I like my version of reality expressed in pictures - because that's a large part of what photography really is anyway.
Tell me about your mentors or influential people in your life that helped shape you professionally or creatively.
Martina: My father had a great sense of humor and he kind of always saw the world through that window. He always made a lightness of things. So I try to remind myself - just make a lightness whenever you can. Because at times life is difficult. I also got my strong work ethic from my parents.
Beckie: Like I said before, I grew up in a very small town where everyone sort of lived the same way, followed the same rules, believed in the same God. And ever since the day I left that town, I think I've always sought to understand how others live. I've always been curious about people. How did they get what they have? How did they learn what they know? How did they get where they are and do what they do? And I kind of feel like, for years and years, I was just kind of an observer and taking mental notes and trying things on for myself - My adult life has been largely about "trying things on for size" and keeping what has resonated with me and shedding away all that is not me.
I started meditating about three, four years ago, and that became a very important practice for me. My greatest inspirations are people who are seeking the truth.
What are your hopes and dreams?
Martina: I want to work for a long time because I think working keeps us young and on our toes. And it inspires Beckie and me daily to have the privilege to meet different women with different struggles, with different goals, dreams and lives. It's great for me. I enjoy that part of it tremendously.
Beckie: For our business, it is my dream that we reach more and more women. We love our one-on-ones and the incredible magic that happens when we're with a client, changing their life, helping them transition from where they are to a better place. And we want to share that with even more people. Which is why we're working on a book! But you won't find this book in the fashion section. It will be in the psychology section of the book store. Over the years, we have come to realize that the work we do as stylists is far more psychological than it is practical. Dressing isn’t just a function of your physical form, it is a function of your soul and mental state. And despite all of the books on style, fashion magazines, blogs and social media help, women still really struggle with getting dressed. When it comes to dressing, women get in their own way for reasons that have nothing to do with clothes. So, the point of this book will be to help women separate their mental issues from the more easily fixable physical ones and take a look at why they buy, keep and wear what they do. And yes there are many ways to reach a broader audience - if someone asked us to do a show, we certainly wouldn't say no! But for now we're working on the book. That we can reach a broader audience and share our message - that is my dream for our business.
In 2017, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2017.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2017
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.