KES WOMEN | KERRY PIERI | BY Lia Kes |
KES WOMEN | KERRY PIERI
Interviewed and written by Danielle Levy
Meet Kerry Pieri, Digital Fashion/Features Director at Harper’s Bazaar, stylist, abstract artist, children’s book author and mama. We talked to Kerry about style, sustainability and some of the things that inspire her work, getting a personal glimpse into Kerry’s world and what makes her a trusted authority and tastemaker in the fashion industry.
It was such a treat to peek into Kerry’s creative and discerning mind. What stands out the most from our conversation is the profound yet simple life advice that Kerry shared with the confident ease of someone who has been there: GO FOR IT! Read on to learn more about Kerry and discover her golden nuggets of wisdom that will surely get your 2022 off to a brilliant start.
We are so excited to meet you and so happy that you are a fan of KES!
How did you discover the brand?
I discovered KES at a press event. It really resonated with my personal sensibility. As an editor, you are always looking for things that speak to your audience and things that people generally like. I also gravitate towards the things that I really like and KES, as a brand, spoke to me on many levels. When I saw the collection I thought, “I just want all of this for myself.”
You are a woman of many, many a fabulous outfit. We’re curious though, when you are off-camera do you have a uniform or any go-to staples that you can’t live without?
I would say that I am a jeans and jacket/blazer girl at heart. With that, I like to incorporate a great top like the KES Superfine Cashmere Turtleneck. I’ve actually been searching for something like it for a while, because it’s a knit but it’s still sort of sheer. I have had a picture of Sade in something just like it on my phone and haven’t been able to find it until now. I really appreciate a basic with something special – something that elevates its simplicity.
I love heels, but now I wear flats. Particularly a good white sneaker like the Anine Bing.
How would you describe your personal style? Would you say it is anchored in a particular spirit?
I tend towards more minimalist pieces. When I say ‘minimalist’ I don’t mean boring. I like the design to be really well executed and to also have some special element within that. I think that KES does a lovely job with this. A piece that I own that is a good example of this is the Elongated Recycled Slip Dress. It’s minimal but the beautiful frayed edging elevates it to a different place. I’ve worn the dress to numerous events and weddings and it always gets compliments. I can wear it over and over again and never tire of it.
In terms of channeling a particular spirit, I always loved Carolyn Bessette and that 90’s moment which I have yet to get over!
At KES, we feel that the clothes are so versatile, they appeal to women of all ages. KES can be worn anywhere in the world and in endless settings – to work, a casual event, a formal event, to the beach, to bed….anywhere really! We are always inspired by the infinite ways in which KES can be styled. How would you style a KES slip dress or staple silk piece?
The Recycled Slip Dress is long, so I wear heels with it, and I don’t shy away from wearing heels! I like to wear it with a big cashmere sweater, heeled boots and a simple long black coat. I think this look is very put together and chic.
I wish I was the kind of woman that wore a beautiful silk slip to bed! I own the KES pajamas…They are a little more my speed. I love the pajama pants because you can dress them up with a blazer and a turtleneck which is super chic for holiday party time or even a day at work (depending where you work). I think with the silk pieces, it’s fun not to be too precious and wear them with a mix of textures, like a tweed blazer, and go for more of a daytime look.
Sustainability is central to the KES ethos. Where do you see the future of fashion as it relates to sustainability in the next 5-10 years?
In some ways, I feel that brands are feeling a pressure to move into a more sustainable space which gives all the more credit to brands like KES that have had it in their DNA from the very beginning. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter how brands get there, it’s just important that they move in that direction. That said, I also think it’s on the consumer to think more sustainably. At the end of the day, there are a lot more customers than there are brands and it’s our responsibility as individuals to think about our purchases and what we will keep and wear. It’s not about discarding things or buying more than we need. Thrifting and vintage shopping are good examples of existing in this world in a more responsible way. What you buy says something about you.
Also, finding a vintage piece is so worth it! Some of my favorite jackets are vintage. I buy a lot of Saint Laurent from Ebay. Interestingly, a lot of brands are also starting to resell their own labels, Net-a-porter included. This new revenue stream will help ecommerce brands not feel the pressure of offering 15 variations of the same SKU.
You have had the dream career in fashion and you certainly wear many hats as a Fashion/Features Director, an artist and a mom! Can you tell us a little about a day in the life of Kerry Pieri? (We imagine since Covid life doesn’t look quite like it did two years ago).
I'm originally from Buffalo, so I am now based here and working remotely, still. I wake up a bit earlier than my husband and daughter to do a 30 minute meditation every morning. Lila, my 4 yr old daughter, gets up and we all have coffee together. Then we do a yoga or dancing session, she goes to classes with my husband and I sign onto work. My work day is packed with zoom calls, interviews and market stories. Recently, I have started going on press trips which is a nice break from being home for so long, but it is really cozy here! We usually break to have lunch together and sometimes will get in a fun activity like ice skating or pottery, but mornings are our nicest time together. It’s a nice new existence.
What inspired you to start painting?
I started painting in NYC, but space was always an issue. I double majored in Fine Art and Journalism in college. Art has always been something that I love and have wanted in my life in some capacity. Having more space changed how I was able to explore art and has allowed me to spend more time doing it. Buffalo is a more conducive environment for it. When I was in Brooklyn, I was doing a lot of line drawings because it was easier to execute within my space. I still do them, but now I am doing larger scale oil paintings.
What are the best gifts you have received or can recommend?
As much as I love beautiful things, I love experience gifts, like a massage or a weekend somewhere. In the Finger Lakes, within driving distance from me, there are some beautiful places like the Lake House and the Inns of Aurora. I appreciate settings that remove me from my day-to-day life, offer an element of self care, and introduce me to a new place to meditate. Those things are in my wheelhouse.
I also think art is a wonderful gift. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that people have started new ventures in which they gather artisans to sell interesting things. My friends at Arje, got into interiors. Arje Home is their apartment! You can buy anything in it and they sell really beautiful pieces.
Another good example is Lauren Sands who started LES Collection. I’m actually going to be selling some of my paintings with her. She showcases a lot of incredible artists and also sells cool home decor – things like vintage candlestick holders. I love the idea of finding small businesses that support up and coming artists. It’s a meaningful way to give a gift and a good way to start an art collection.
What’s your best piece of advice as a fashion expert? As an artist on how to get your creative juices flowing? As a mama?
I think that my ethos in these times of reflection has been to just GO FOR IT. I think I got caught up in the idea of “This is what I do and so there isn’t much more I can do.” Then, in the last few years, I realized that since I was a little kid, I have always had many interests…I was a journalism and fine art major in college. I finally allowed myself to run with doing many things – the things that inspire me. I became okay with not needing to fit a mold and that was very freeing for me. So along with loving my job and doing my art, I also have a children’s astrology book coming out next year. My advice is that you can tell your own story, it doesn’t matter what the optics are. It’s about what makes you happy which, I believe, impacts other people. There are a lot of different ways to be mindful and have a positive impact in the world.