Monthly Archives: May 2011

This Best-Dressed Woman’s Got It All Under Control

With 70 events leading up to the Kentucky Derby’s Fashion Show including the country’s largest fireworks display, Chris Fulkerson won’t even flinch. If you want a top notch fashion show, she’s your expert. Put together as beautifully as the shows she produces, Chris has 6 Kentucky Derby fashion shows behind her.

Chris Fulkerson, AICI CIP, FFS is the reigning queen of USA’s most prestigious sports-related fashion shows, a niche that she dominates since 2004.  Her penchant for organization combined with showmanship-like creativity makes her the premiere go-to person for a stylish and memorable fashion show production. Based in Kentucky, Chris is currently the state’s only CIP (Certified Image Professional) and FFS (Fashion Feng Shui) Facilitator.

At AICI’S Saturday afternoon session, the Fashion Show Production session was full, causing the audience to begin to think about expanding into this lucrative field. Chris earns between $500 for small and upwards of $10,000 to produce local to national major shows. Her tips run the gamut from keeping at least 2 models on the runway at the same time (contrary to what we typically see) to having the MC talk about the psychology of color instead of 100% about the clothes- an especially important tip for image consultants who can impress the audience with their knowledge.  She recommends that the finale outfits WOW citing a time when she chose wedding dress attire that included pants!

One of the most key components of a successful show is model selection, and Chris shared her personal, critical tips:

  1. Create a sheet with all dates of rehearsals- ask the candidate “can you definitely make all 5?” If not don’t audition them
  2. Ask:”Do you smoke?” Don’t hire smokers because you don’t want to return clothes with a nicotine smell
  3. Arm tattoos are a no-no because it interferes with sleeveless clothes
  4. Make sure you have a variety of types to be politically-correct
  5. A NY “I’m angry- and hungry” look isn’t always necessary. Non-fashion industry audiences prefer models to smile and be friendly
  6. Any special talent- juggle? Sing? Dance? This can add to the “Gotchas” – little touches that add enjoyable and memorable surprises to a show
  7. Be in charge of all their movements

When a project requires the Production Manager to hire the models, she cautions about utilizing non-pro models as they tend to non-professional i.e. strange, impromptu things- such as the time she witnessed one male model throwing cash into the audience, and even accepting dollar tips! Just remember she advises, to be prepared for the unexpected.

Chris has been in the image business all her life. Voted by The Voice-Tribune (August 2006) in the top five Best Dressed in Louisville, Kentucky, she is an image and fashion icon in her community. For more than 27 years, Chris has inspired females of all ages, teaching modeling, image and fashion classes. Representing the Jana Kos Collection, Chris has worked with countless clients on closet audits, built complete wardrobes for high-profile individuals and produced and presented fashion shows for retail stores, associations, charitable organizations and the Kentucky Derby Festival fashion show. After becoming internationally trained as a certified image consultant through the London Image Institute, Chris founded VIP Studio in Louisville. Besides the AICI she is a member of FGI (Fashion Group International) and proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Louisville.

How to get into the blogging phenomenon, stylishly.

What a remarkable session Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP provided on Sunday afternoon, May 22nd at the AICI’s Orlando conference. And take that from a perennial blogger! From posing the question “What are the 5 most-asked questions people call you with?” I knew the time spent in Blogging and Writing Your Way to Expert Status would be constructive to the audience of image consultants. Why? The answers to that could lead right into creating a very successful source of new clients!

The attendees replied that they are frequently asked:

♦ What should I wear to a funeral?

♦ Should I get plastic surgery for this?

♦ What can I wear to get hired?

♦ What is appropriate attire for my new job?

♦ What do I need to know about clothing for people with disabilities

This interactive exercise led into how one finds the right subject for a blog. For image consultants, this means to go directly to the 5 main aspects of their business: What are they? Break the 5 down and explore the millions of ideas you can think of from there. And here’s the best tip: start off with what people consistently tell you that you are very, very good at! By delving into our passions we are naturally led to find our natural “voice”.

Imogen was very passionate about case study writing, because people love to read about stories they can relate to themselves. Case studies are popular because the outcome becomes a tried and tested “lesson”. Conclude she says, with a question that encourages them to comment about their own personal experience. This engages them to come back again and again to your blog, and works even if they’re not inspired to comment just because they’ve read the article.

Imogen Lamport B.A Comm, AICI CIP, buys only the finest designer clothes, has the body of a supermodel, and never worries about what to wear. And if that were true, she never would have started her company, Bespoke Image. With a BA in communications and a background in PR, Imogen served as past President of the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Melbourne chapter. In 2009, she became one of only eight image consultants in Australia to earn the Certified Image Professional certificate, acknowledging her highly competent level of training and experience. Imogen’s blog, Inside Out Style, gives free daily style tips and attracts devoted readers from around the world. She is also the Plus Size Womens Guru on LifeTips, with style tips for the curvier woman.

Alice Sydow of I’ve Got Your Style is determined to be the premiere Image Consultant in the Twin Cities and- she’ll succeed!

With just one short year in the Image Consulting industry, Alice has amassed quite an arsenal of clients in record time. Could it be due to the way Alice consults her clients from their closets to the cash register in a fun and stress free manner?!

With her website only live since July 2010, Alice has been super busy cultivating an attractive array of services to offer to the savvy women in this area. Her services include color analysis, style assessments, wardrobe editing, personal and accessory shopping as well as cleverly designed and combo packages such as “Girl’s Day Out- Shopping and Style”.

Training at the prestigious Image Resource Center in New York City certainly helped to give her a solid base in the field. Put that together with her runway model looks and presence and you’ve got one TV-ready star!

Appearing on Twin Cities Live, Alice hosts segments such as Closet Clean Out, Holiday Dresses for your Body Type as well as How to Look 10 lbs Lighter.  And just last night, M & I Bank hosted a Ladies Night Out event at the Mall of America where Alice spoke on Step Into Summer with Your Best Foot Forward!

Despite this progress you would be surprised to learn that a few years ago, healthy and beautiful Alice was looking at a store shelf and suddenly saw things in double—completely frightening her.  An MRI led to the thought of a tumor.  She was also told she might have Multiple Sclerosis by a neurologist, but they couldn’t fully diagnose it at that time. In denial for 1.5 years, one day she felt numbness in her feet then over the course of the next week it extended to her waist.  In 2007, relapsing remitting MS was confirmed.  The feeling of being young and invincible in her 30s was shattered.

A turning point for her career came during a disability break from work, when she discovered the personal shopping industry while surfing online in bed. This touched upon the love of clothes she always wanted to pursue since a child and increased while travelling around the globe as a travel director for companies that would conduct incentive trips.  

So what now? Alice, whose disease is not apparent when you meet her, wants to turn her disease into a positive by inspiring those with both hidden and obvious afflictions into positives through her image consulting talents. She has found solace and conviction in a career that brings happiness and constructive benefits to her clients. As any good image consultant knows: a great image on the outside is nothing if we can’t deal with what’s going on in the inside.

Fashionably Good

It isn’t just about looking the part, ladies, it’s also about playing it. And there is no woman more stunning, jaw-dropping, and utterly divine than the one who gives back to her community. Though its coming to a close, May is International Civility Awareness Month and a great opportunity for all you worker bees to get out there and do good. AICI is not only a great resource for image consultation but it is also a true supporter of philanthropy and civility. In fact, in honor of this month, AICI has continued its Civility Counts Project, “a multi-faceted long-term initiative aimed at gaining international support” for altruism that was kick started in 2009. Through this program AICI members are provided tools and training to help them foster a philanthropic extension of their business. Moreover, the Civility Counts Project welcomes an international scope and thus, promotes outreach both near and far from home. Got a little do-gooder in you? Be your beautiful self and learn how you can join AICI on its mission.

Giving back is gorgeous, ain’t it?

Sample a Sample

Always on the hunt for a good deal, Fashion Societe is happy to bring you some upcoming sample sales in the New York City area. Department store sales can be great for basics and everyday wear but a sample sale is the go-to locale for some seriously marked down designer duds. And because a true stylista is not limited to just clothing, this list encompasses jewelry and home decor sales as well (now that’s sensible shopping.) From Stuart Weitzman to Dolce & Gabanna to The Bridal Atelier by Mark Ingram, there is a sale for every girl—and that’s only in June! If you don’t live in New York and aren’t planning on stopping by the Big Apple anytime soon, do a quick internet search for sample sales in your area and you may be surprised at what you find: offers a great list for all you midwestern stylephiles, has a great round-up of west coast discounts, and is a favorite in several cities nationwide for shopping info. Buckle down and gear up because it is officially a buyer’s market, ladies.

Style, Certified.

In the world of image consulting, being a certified member of the AICI puts this industry and our clients at an advantage. Not only does the certificate add to the accomplishments of many of Fashion Societe’s team of speakers, it also opens a world of resources to you, the reader/consumer who can benefit from a qualified image expert guiding you to express your highest potential in a) physical appearance, b) behavior (including social skills, stress management, etiquette, cilivity and protocol) and c) communication skill (including body language, relationship-building and conflict resolution).

Like any learning process, pursuing a certification keeps image consultants working towards their full potential and stay competitive within the industry. There are three levels of certification with the AICI—First Level Certification (FLC), Certified Image Professional (CIP), and Certified Image Master (CIM). With an FLC the consultant has met business standards in industry development and technical awareness; as a CIP the consultant has proven that they are well-versed in hands-on training methods and have passed the AICI FLC Test in addition to submitting the AICI CIP Application; a CIM is the most accredited of image consultants and has worked, with verification, over 2,000 annual full-time hours while establishing a sound continuing education track along with acquiring a lineage of professional achievements. With each of these certifications an image consultant is afforded public exposure and professional support while their clients are assured guidance by a competent and trained individual.

Learn more about the certification levels with AICI and how you may begin your road to becoming an image consultant.

“Sparky” made my day – and I hope it lasts~

Helice “Sparky” Bridges is a renowned speaker and advocate for children’s rights, known also as the “First Lady of Acknowledgement”. Difference Makers International is the nonprofit educational organization that she founded, which values all people for their unique talents and empowers them to reach their true potential. She has sat on panels with Al Gore, Neil Armstrong, and the Dalai Lama. She is well known for her contribution to the Chicken Soup book.

A unique fun way to bring out the beauty in people in a minute or less was the subject of this morning’s general session called “Bringing Out the Best in Everyone”. Make sure you ask their permission to touch them. If you give them a blue ribbon, give them 2 extra so that they can “pay it forward”.
The fun part in the introduction was when she had the entire room says aloud “I can change a life in a minute or less – – – YES”. “I’m not here just to make a living- I’m here to make a difference” she says (and owns).

Would you like to “honor” anyone that has made a difference in your life? You have NO idea how good it will feel- to BOTH of you. It starts when you connect to them with your eyes. Here are her 10 steps to achieve this:
1. pay more attention to the other person- not to yourself.
2. make people feel safe where ever they are
3. breathe in breathe out
4. ask for what you want
5. bing it! (in her book; hint hint)
6. pay it forward
7. tell the truth
8. read and believe the ribbon which says “Who I am makes a difference”
9. always see the good in everyone when you look at the blue ribbon and
10. reach out in a quiet way with another human being- – in silence!

The video showing a teacher telling her high school students about this had me literally in tears- it was so moving. I encourage you to discover it for yourself as mere words cannot have the impact that the video has:

Met these 2 lovely sisters from Russia who are attending the AICI conference for the first time

First night that the Exhibitor Hall opened, I met up with attendees Yulya Petrova and Alina Akhmetianova from St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. They are both very excited to be here. These 2 beautiful sisters have been to the States before- even to Orlando- but this is the first time to attend an AICI conference.

Yulya Petrova studied intensively with Karen Brunger through her online education courses at the International Image Institute. Later on Yulya followed that with a 3 month course back in Russia. The classes took place twice a week for 3 months. Her studies were private, costly, but worth it. She has pursued a dream since childhood to make women beautiful, and now has a career that includes wardrobe consulting, color analysis, makeup application and body-typing. Alina also has achieved a high education and supports her sister as the assistant in the business which is aptly named Elite Image Consulting”.

Designers from the United States captivate both sisters; they named Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs as names of favorite clothing lines- neglecting any from their local area.

Transforming an Image Business to Include Dating with Style, Sheila Dicks stays Current… and Successful

A Canadian member that I looked forward to interviewing at the AICI Conference in Orlando Friday May 20th 2011

Sheila Dicks is the founder of Fashion Experts [FEN] which puts out a weekly eblast that I absolutely love. Razor sharp and tight with practical advice, Sheila knows how to get right to the fashion “nitty gritty”. Her network of AICI industry experts captures the overall direction that women need to such as Do You Look Great in Your Trousers?, Truths About Facwebook, Twitter and Your Body Image,  Would you Like to Look Great Walking in High Heels and Get Your Closet Ready for Fall. What makes her career fulfilling is when a client tells her “you’ve made a difference in my life”.

Originally a company named Sheila’s Fashion Sense, Sheila has smartly evolved to be a dating and style coach. Happily married now for 14 years to a man who still gives her butterflies!, she personally coaches women to go about following defined steps that will lead them to the man of their dreams.

SeveralAICI image consultants have written chapters in My Style, My Way- a book Sheila co-authored which launched January 2011.

Our Fashionable Friends

We spend most of our blogging hours helping the ladies of the universe get in tune with themselves but today we’re taking a step back and putting the men in the spotlight. AICI’s men’s image editor is Brian Lipstein, a stand up style maven who showed a presentation on menswear at the AICI conference today.  During the seminar he outlined the differences between made-to-measure, off-the-rack, and custom or bespoke clothing. Beyond that, he highlighted current trends in men’s suits and some little known facts about certain styles (did you know that the glue used in ready-to-wear suits actually shortens the life span of a suit?). Check back into the AICI site to learn more about Brian, his fellow AICI crew, and the rest of the benefits of having an image consultant at your side.