Helena, by my friend and photographer, Carlos Ramos.
Helena is one of the few people that I know that is, in stylish terms, the Real Deal. Her exquisite taste, whether it is the way she wears her clothes, decorates her home or welcomes you for dinner, is truly contemporary and tasteful. Never excessive, well contained flair is the best way to describe her. Read on for a view into her life, as a fashion editor and personal shopper.
• What was your first job? And what did you like about it? What didn’t you like ?
I started out by selling two very successful portuguese fashion brands in the beginning of the 80’s, I loved it, and succumbed to this new world. I don’t remember not liking anything, I lived it all with such intensity…
I was also responsible for accessories at the fashion shows, and assisted my boss at his various shops.
• What did you learn from it?
I learnt a lot from all the people I worked with. I was curious, motivated, with the will and energy of my 16 years. And this continued throughout my work life. It was a great learning experience for what I later did in fashion. And I did everything! I’ve always been very observant, with a great attention to detail, constantly taking a huge amount of pleasure from what attracts me aesthetically. I understood that I wanted the best, and only if it wasn’t possible, then I’d find another solution.
A favourite coat from Adolfo Dominguez.
• How did you go into fashion? Was it Nature or Nurture?
I stumbled into fashion…
• What are your more treasured memories from working in print magazines?
My best memories are filled with unforgettable and beautiful places, inspiring and unique people, vibrant moments, and extraordinary trips. But above all, what I retain, are the remarkable people that I worked with and where I forged many friendships.
• Are things very different today?
At this precise moment in time, I see less respect for the history and legacy of fashion, less inspiration from and towards the artists, less dedication to perfection, and considerable attention given to the temporary and to the disposable. I’m not nostalgic, I comprehend that times have changed, that there are more difficulties, but all the same…
An exotic pair of slippers. Wild shoes for a classy lady.
• What would be your dream job?
I love buying, and editing, and I suppose I’d like to widen my work as a fashion consultant to companies. I think Net-A-Porter is a target. I’m sufficiently pragmatic to know the difference between dreams and objectives…
• Any mentors?
Many mentors have passed through my life.
• What did you study?
I studied little but did a lot…
At home with Helena.
• What was it like being a fashion Mom, the hours, very early and often late, the trips and events?
It was very stressful working as I did and being a Mom. I did my best! Looking back, I gave too little time to my daughter and too much time to work. When one matures, one realizes that there’s time for everything and that very little cannot be postponed…except life and time with our children and family. I did a lot of trips super tired and attended a lot of events without any will and energy. I did what I thought I had to do, as it was demanded from me.
• What advice would you give to an aspiring fashion student?
Study, observe, never underestimate, give your best and want even more.
• What do you most like to do now?
What I’ve always liked: working with people. There’s a lot one can give to someone, even if it’s just image consulting. Everyone is a complex whole and the stylist needs to understand that.
• How do you find balance in your life?
My balance is the love I have for my family. I also meditate, wherein I find more love, and I do stretching to elongate my body and meditate in another form.
• Where are you happiest?
At home. And on my travels that I love, then coming back home, that I cherish even more.
• What’s your favourite recipe to cook for guests?
I love to cook traditional dishes with my own twist for my friends and family.
• Please give me 3 Rules for : Food, Wardrobe and Home.
Be faithful to your own style,
always have good basics,
and be sophisticated in the details.
Basic rules for dressing, decorating and cooking!
• Describe your style in 3 words.
Casual, clean and chic.
• Favourite repeat destinations and future dream trips?
I always repeat Paris, London, and less often, New York. I adore these cities! In the summer, I go to Ibiza and Majorca a lot. I’ve been to many places, but I often return to these. Right now, I really want to go to Japan!
• What was the best advice you’ve been given?
Be free, happy and be loving!!
Have a cozy weekend,