Buyer Profile: Jeffrey Kalinsky of Jeffrey NY


Q: How did you get started in the fashion industry?
A: It was kind of fated or intended – my father was a retailer for over 50 years.  Because of this, I didn’t really want to go into retail; I wanted to be an actor.  After graduating from college I knew being an actor would be difficult and I knew I could successfully go into the retail business, so it just happened that way.

Q: What do you think it is that has made you and your stores so successful? 
A: My philosophy is: buy people what you want them to wear, not what they think they want to wear. My client wants to be moved forward, and I try to do that. When you help a person’s style to evolve, they become a client for life.
Also, you have to constantly follow your heart and be yourself. The things that are provocative and scary usually will be the things that set you apart. Balmain is an example – sometimes it scares me, but even in this economy, and with the crazy prices, I know that I’m going to have to take some risks.  

Q: What is your favorite trend of the moment?
A: I hate trends.  If I happen to like a trend then it’s a win-win, but I don’t follow trends.  Being trendy is not sophisticated; having style is being sophisticated. 

Q: What trend do you wish never came back?
A: I’m not a huge fan of the 80’s look but I like elements of it.  There’s a moment for everything.

Q: What new designers do you have your eye on?  Who are the biggest up and comers?
A: Nicolas Kirkwood, Alexis Mabille, and Christopher Kane. I am impressed by Nicolas and Alexis because I think they keep getting better and better and my appetite for what they do get bigger and bigger.  As for Christopher Kane, I think he has that special something that makes me believe he’s capable of everything and anything.

Q: Who is your favorite designer of all time?  Or who has been most influential to you? 
A: The original Ms. Jil Sander. 

Q: Why Ms. Sander? 
A: Jil Sander was all about style, not about trends, and in so she ended up setting the trends.  Her products are more substance than anyone could hope for.  She was sort of indestructible, a perfect 10.  She made something difficult look sort of easy but in looking easy you knew that it was in fact extremely difficult to make.

Q: What designers working today are you most impressed, inspired, interested in?
A: I think Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent is really talented and makes you think.  I love Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga, Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, and Olivier Theskynes at Nina Ricci – they all educate people and make you grow.

Q: If a woman could have any 5 items of clothing, what do you think she should have?
A: A black jumbo Chanel with silver hardware, a black Chanel caviar with silver hardware, a pair of Balenciaga skinny pants, a Lanvin dress, an Alaia twin set, and a $1,000 gift certificate to Jeffrey NY.