Jessica deGuardiola’s Stuff
by Scott Kearnan
| July 25, 2011
Photo: NATASHA BOLTUKHOVA
When it comes to coffee-table literature, most of us wouldn't exactly be proud to show off our libraries. Take a peek at what our living rooms have amassed over the years, and you'll likely find an eclectic assortment of trashy tabloids and embarrassing chick-lit novels about overworked, underpaid gals in the city who have all the handbags in the world but just can't find a man. Oh, and bills. Though come to think of it, we haven't found the nerve to read those yet.
Not so with Jessica deGuardiola. The young PR powerhouse, owner of 5s Public Relations, can be proud of her collection of coffee-table books. These aren't those cheesy gifts that feature pictures of city skylines or super-cute puppies popping out of flower baskets. DeGuardiola's collection includes amazing vintage fashion books that inspire not only her own style, but the perspective she brings to the local fashion industry through Studio Five Showroom, a full-service showroom that opened at the end of last year - the first of its kind in the Hub. DeGuardiola is presently mulling plans to expand her work into other markets, but it's what she's reading at home that has us fascinated. Titles almost too fabulous to be true (as in, The Hermès Scarf: History & Mystique) share space with retrospectives like Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 and Helmut Newton: Pages from the Glossies. We pulled up a chair with deGuardiola and asked her to give us the fine print on her collection.
When did you begin collecting these books? And how have you wound up adding to the collection over the years? I started collecting coffee-table books in college, when it became clear that my coveted stacks of glossy magazines were not practical anymore in terms of space! Since then, my collection has grown into a pretty extensive, eclectic group. I'm constantly scouring online retailers and bookstores for new ones, and they've certainly become the go-to gift from my friends and family. Besides Veuve, of course!
What's your single most prized possession among them? I'd have to say that my Pucci book is one of my favorites. First off, it's massive, so it's always a conversation starter, but the actual exterior of the book is wrapped in a vintage Pucci scarf, which is so beautiful. Fashion and function at its finest.
How have they inspired your own sense of style? Do you look to them for inspiration? I look through them for inspiration all the time, for everything from fashion and home décor to general creative inspiration. One of my favorites is Gypset Style. It refers to "Gypsy" meets "jetsetter," and it embodies the chic, bohemian type of glamour that I am so drawn to aesthetically. The more eclectic and boho, the better!
Who are some celebrities whose fashion sense you really love? Hmm. Offhand, a few I really love are Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller, and Rachel Bilson. Oh, and Bianca Jagger. In terms of the "Gypset" style, she was definitely an original.
What do you think about the state of the fashion scene in Boston? What are our strengths and weaknesses, and what do we need to do to become a stronger fashion city? I definitely think the state of fashion in Boston is on the up and up. Between the amazing bloggers and fashion writers, retailers like Gilt and Rue that are setting up shop locally, and all the other fashion-geared outlets trying to better the business of fashion here, there is definitely a palpable trend of Boston establishing itself as a fashionable city in its own right. That being said, I still think the city has a long way to go. I suppose that because I'm a transplant, I tend to look at the scene with a perspective that is a little bit more black and white . . . and I think Boston is notorious for being "buttoned-up." If it's ever going to be known as a true fashion hub, there needs to be more risk taken across the board. And stop comparing everything to New York, because the two are entirely different animals!