By sarah jordan
Photography by ChrIsToPhEr LEaMan | February 27, 2015 | Style & Beauty
Four Philadelphia trendsetters unlock the doors to their enviable wardrobes and reveal their style essentials, eclectic collections, and passion for designer handbags.
The World Traveler: Jenifer Westphal
The design concept for Westphal’s highly organized wardrobe was simple: figure out her typical day and then build a closet to match.
You know you’re in the presence of a diehard fashionista when her closet not only has specific sections for safari clothes, boat clothes (for her 90-foot “boat”), and formalwear, but an elevator to the closet’s second floor, where the off-season clothes and accessories are kept.
But even more delightful than this formidable collection is how down-to-earth its owner, Jenifer Westphal, is about its contents. “To me, these clothes and shoes are beautiful art, and I’m so fortunate that I get to wear them,” says Westphal, a 2015 US Patron for the Good Work Foundation (which aims to provide digital learning centers to communities in rural South Africa) and cofounder and president of Kyle’s Treehouse, a website that offers treatment information for autism.
“I’m still the little girl who wanted everything to match. I always wanted to wear the right thing at the right place and time.” How to manage all these glorious garments? Westphal’s personal stylist has cleverly pulled outfits together, photographed them, and stored them on a Dropbox file for Westphal. “I’m the chief spending officer of the house,” she says with a laugh, but confesses it’s a relief to have help putting it all together.
Beloved Items: During the recent LAX baggage handlers theft ring, her luggage was stolen. Her two favorite items were recovered and returned to her: a black leather Givenchy bag she bought in Paris and a prized pair of red Josie Natori pajama bottoms.
Style Standbys: Loro Piana scarves, striped Balmain trousers, and burgundy Chanel suede boots (“That color has gone out of style three times, but I’ll never throw them away”).
The Collector: Joanne Davidow
“I’m all about real estate, family, and friends,” says Davidow, though her closets may suggest the addition of “fashion” to that list.
You have to love a story that begins with a heavy sigh followed with, “The trouble started in St. Barth’s...” Standing in her neat closet in her apartment that overlooks Rittenhouse Square, Joanne Davidow, the Center City real estate dynamo at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach with the signature pale close-cropped hair, black clothes (“My closet is a sea of black, with the occasional navy piece. I wear black because it’s easy”), and ever-present cell phone, recalls the effort it took to get the black leather Hermès Birkin bag she’s holding.
Davidow and her husband, Donnie, co-owner of Knit Wit, were in St. Barth’s shopping for her birthday present. The saleswoman at Hermès told her, “This never happens, but a woman just canceled her order for a black crocodile bag. You can never get these, but it’s available now!” Then Joanne remembers her husband going into sticker-shock. So they passed on the bag, but ended up in the Paris store a few months later to get on the list for a different one. After six months, the bag arrived. Donnie joked that, after all that hassle, they should have just gotten the one from St. Barth’s.
Joanne has a collector’s eye (with collections of porcelain chintzware and Staffordshire dog figurines), and her closet is home to a striking assortment of mannequin heads from the 1940s. She started her collection—including hats from the same period—with items she found at New Jersey’s former Atlantique City Antiques Show. “I’m too small to wear hats,” says the diminutive realtor, “so I just collect them for the mannequins.”
Beloved Items: A silver-framed photograph of her bathing beauty mother and friends on vacation in Miami Beach (“To see my mom every day makes me happy”), her antique wooden purse in the shape of a house with a Bakelite handle, her collection of Broadway Playbills, and a matching pair of wool Scottie dog sweaters that she and her grandson wear out on the town. “I’m all about real estate, family, and friends.”
The Glamour Girl: Sabrina Tamburino Thorne
“My closet was designed to be my store. It’s funny because the woman at California Closets called it ‘Sabrina Store’ on the layout. It took about eight to 10 months to design and complete,” Sabrina Tamburino Thorne says.
“I have a strict no-borrowing policy for my friends,” says Sabrina Tamburino Thorne of her party clothes and jaw-dropping shoe collection as she stands inside her spacious, sun-splashed walk-in closet at her Rittenhouse Square condo. “I love my friends, and I want to keep them.”
The finance and budget coordinator for Visit Philadelphia maintains a hectic schedule on the party circuit, receiving around 20 invitations each season to the rounds of charity balls and parties, plus all of the events put on by Visit Philadelphia. “Don’t forget all my friends’ birthday parties, too,” she adds with a laugh.
Her ultimate guilty pleasure? Handbags. “I love anything blingy,” says Thorne, referring to the limited-edition glittering golden Chanel 2.55 bag she picked up recently in Palm Beach. Thorne scored another exclusive at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Florida (an event for high-end car collectors): the limited-edition royal blue Bentley bag, produced by the luxury auto company. She was one of the first buyers in the United States to be able to own that arm candy—plus, it matches the Bentley she drives.
Whether she and her husband are attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the VMA awards in New York City, or Center City’s Ball on the Square, Thorne is where the action is. “Last year, I bought an orange Nicole Miller dress the day before the ball,” she recalls. “It was full length. But we had so much fun dancing that I ruined it, putting holes all over the hem. Well, it was a fun night.”
Top Designers: Roberto Cavalli for dresses, Valentino for shoes, and Chanel for handbags.
The Design Maven: Jen Fuller
Fuller framed her daughter’s selfportrait from elementary school. “It’s special and unexpected for the space.”
It’s no surprise that Georgia-born interior designer Jen Fuller would have a closet full of clothes as chic as her home.
The owner of Haverford’s Willow Home Furnishings and Bryn Mawr’s Fuller Interiors is currently remodeling the Bryn Mawr home she shares with her husband, Will, an executive with Lincoln Financial Group, and her two daughters. Though the house is a work in progress, the elegant his-and-her walk-in closets, designed by architect Peter Archer and built by Ed Mahoney, a couple of Main Liners, were a top priority. Fuller researched extensively to find the optimal design, and drew inspiration from international interior and fashion designer Kelly Wearstler’s closet. “I replicated her long, shallow drawers so you can see everything and don’t have to dig for things. I used her pocketbook dividers idea, so the bags stand up and you can see them clearly— same with the angled shoe shelves. They’re easy to see.”
Fuller’s got a thing for Chanel: Her latest treasure is the much sought-after black leather spring Chanel espadrilles. “I was in Bal Harbour at the Chanel store, in the middle of trying these on. I put them down next to me for a second, and a woman immediately picked them up,” she says. The salesman retrieved them and hissed into Fuller’s ear, “Do not let these out of your hands for a second.” While in Paris, she and her daughters enjoyed a Coco Chanel-themed walking tour, with a stop at the flagship store on Rue Cambon, of course. There she picked up another pair of classic quilted ballet flats.
Despite her tasteful closet, she says, “I’m not very materialistic. That’s what I teach my kids. You can enjoy fashion, but you need to understand what’s important in life. As they say, ‘You can’t take it with you.’”
Favorite Pieces: Ivory suede Laurence Dacade boots, a Diane von Furstenberg cupcake leather jacket that she and her daughters all compete to wear, a fuzzy-armed Carven crewneck sweater that never fails to draw comments from passersby, and a black ostrich-print Balenciaga bag from the Paris boutique Iro.
hair by Louise rusk/Mizu boston; Makeup by tavi de La rosa
August 30, 2018