Style Insider with Courtney Blackman

PERFECT COMPOSURE

Courtney wears: Citizens of Humanity Avedon skinny, Smythe Colourblock blazer, By Malene Birger Ratila top

"I love a good Aztec print and these Citizens of Humanity Avedon jeans hit the mark. The palette is dark and restrained, so pairing them is easy. I’ve gone for a slightly transparent glittery jumper from By Malene Birger – channeling my inner rock chick. I’ve got on a green metal bracelet that I bought in Kraków, and have just gone simple on the shoes – black courts. I love the army green Smythe blazer. The tailoring is sharp with great detail. I’ll throw it on over the jumper for when I have to smarten up for a meeting."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I was born in Denver and have lived all over from the desert in Arizona to the tropics of Costa Rica and the Domincan Republic to an island in Lake Champlain and now in London full time…with a house, etc. on the other side of the Atlantic, in Nova Scotia, Canada. Citizenship-wise, I’m British-American.

URBAN FOREST

Courtney wears: Mother Looker skinny, Tucker blouse, Becksöndergaard X-Slow scarf

"When I was growing up, it was always blue jeans. It’s fun to move along the spectrum and go for green jeans, and these skinny jeans are such a great colour. I’ve paired them with a neon yellow blouse and a neutral scarf, and for added festivity, have thrown on a neon beaded LeJu necklace. It was raining ever so slightly, but it’s London. I had a S.C. Vizcarra silver bag, a hat and some Chanel sunglasses for when the sun came out. These are some of my favourite shoes – Dolce & Gabbana. They make me feel really girly, but in a sassy way, not a frilly way."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF - HOW DID YOU GET INTO FASHION?

After a myriad of interesting jobs including chopping pineapple on a boat with a machete in Central America to being the Sales & Marketing Director at the World Trade Office in Vermont, I found myself working as the in-house PR & Marketing Director for a London-based designer about 9 years ago in London after relocating with Mr. Blackman. I had taken some courses at London College of Fashion and got chatting to her at a fabric fair and we hit it off. We did a few seasons together and then she moved to Tokyo, so I started my own thing. I launched fashion PR agency Forward PR in 2004 and we now represent some of the most exciting designers in London and unique events like Singapore’s Digital Fashion Week. In 2006 I launched a networking group for fashion professionals. It is now called The Industry and meets quarterly at Swarovski Crystallized™ with two annual master classes that take place at the V&A Reading Rooms.

FELINE OBSERVATION

Courtney wears: Mother Looker skinny, Marcus Lupfer Black Cat jumper

"The colour of the jeans is perfect. A nice muted red so it’s not screaming out, ‘Look at my (really short) legs’ – just enough colour to add depth and intrigue. The Markus Lupfer cat jumper is cheeky and nostalgic all in one go. Simple black court shoes are enough to keep it all casual and cool."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP?

Working in fashion has me surrounded by new stuff all of the time, so I don’t really shop that much, but if I do, I love boutiques like Donna Ida – I just got a very cool Smythe blazer at the Elizabeth Street store and I shop online every now and then on Matches.com, my-wardrobe.com, donnaida.com and Net-a-Porter.com. In general though, I don’t like owning lots and lots of possessions. It makes me feel claustrophobic!

PAISLEY IMPRESSION

Courtney wears: Paige Exclusive to Donna Ida Verdugo skinny, IRO Phoebe jacket, Zoe Karssen Paris Can Wait tee

"There are so many lovely colours swirling around in these Paige Verdugo jeans, you could just about wear them with anything. I’ve matched them with a Zoe Karssen ‘Paris Can Wait’ Tee and layered an IRO black asymmetrical zip jacket over it. Accessories-wise, I’ve gone for one of my favourite clutch bags – an S.C. Vizcarra silver clutch with a little skull on it. The skull is actually the designer, Rita Nazareno’s skull – taken from an X-ray from when she hurt her head! Wearing Bally shoes – given to me by the handsome creative director of womenswear, Michael Herz."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHAT MAKES A SHOPPING EXPERIENCE MEMORABLE?

Nice, friendly customer service and super-easy transacting.

RED, WHITE & BLUE

Courtney wears: J Brand Exclusive to Donna Ida 811 skinny, Smythe Shearling Box jacket, Joie Robin blouse

"If I’m going to wear bright red jeans, then I may as well team them with McQ power boots and a super-fashion shaggy shearling jacket. I mean, why not, right? The leather trim on the Smythe jacket nods down to the boots and the Joie Robin Blouse in Caviar picks up all the colours, subtly. I always, always wear my chunky horn ring that I found at a little store in Brooklyn’s Red Hook. It’s tactile and fun to twist around in my fingers."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS (PAST AND PRESENT)?

For past I would say my paternal grandmother Zelpha. She was tall and slight and had the longest hair. She looked quite ethereal and witchy, which I found fascinating as a child, and for present I would say Kate Nash. She’s all grown up and literally rocking a killer style – two-toned victory rolls, tons of vintage, amazing accessories and lots of attitude.

HUMBLE HOME

Courtney wears: Citizens of Humanity Rocket skinny, Wildfox I Love Boys sweater

"Everyone needs the perfect pair of black jeans in their wardrobe and these are it. These Citizens of Humanity Rocket Skinny Jeans have a leather look and are so soft. Black jeans literally go with anything and I’ve teamed them with one of the best tops ever invented, by Wildfox. It speaks for itself. Teamed with my Acne Halo lace-up platforms. I’ve worn them to death and will continue to do so. They’re comfortable and add many needed inches."

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT? WHAT IS YOU FAVOURITE BOOK?

I read The Economist magazine religiously…and I have succumbed to reading the Fifty Shades books, which are like candy in written form. I’m not sure I have a favourite book, but one I read recently (that’s actually quite old) that sticks in my mind as particularly odd and intriguing is The Wasp Factory.

BY THE BOOK

Courtney wears: Rag & Bone Zipper Capri, Equipment Riley tee

"One should always match their jeans to their accent cushions when lounging around reading. I’m a big magazine and fashion book hoarder and here I’m reading The Untitled Magazine with Phoenix magazine and Makeup Is Art cued up. I like the snakeskin Equipment Riley Tee as the soft colours make it easy to blend with anything.  While I shouldn’t really have my shoes up on the sofa, they’re silver Hester van Eeghen numbers and they were made for me, so…"

SHOP COURTNEY'S STYLE

WHAT IS YOUR BEST INDUSTRY ADVICE?

Fashion is a wonderful, creative place to be, but it can also be quite slippery. That’s why it’s always important to be professional. The industry is ripe with politics, gossip and bureaucracy. The best way to navigate it is to always maintain professionalism. Otherwise, you can get sucked into a very unpleasant fashion vortex! – and don’t be afraid to take a risk and do your own thing. If you can’t find your place in the ‘establishment’, pave your own way.