Real Women Wear Plaid with Sukeena Rao
Words by Harriet Quick
Continuing our series ‘Real Women Wear Plaid’ we visited Sukeena Rao, Fashion, Retail and Personal Shopping Consultant, in her stunning London home to discuss her style, inspirations, and, of course, plaid.
What are your associations with plaid?
School. Classic. Traditional. Plaid is nostalgic yet chic and ageless whether you are 20 or 80 years old. Buy a plaid piece and for sure, you will be wearing it in ten years time.
What was your first hook into fashion?
I would be that teenager waiting for all the magazines to come out - Vogue, Elle, Just Seventeen. I loved the imagery. In Cheshire, where I was raised people would wear fashion head to toe with high levels of glamour. It was a watershed coming to London and seeing everyone in trainers and wearing coats.
What are your style signatures?
I like to mix basics - jeans, t-shirts and polo necks – with luxury. Every season, I buy prints and colours to inject an element of fashion that fits with the trends but not too obviously. This plaid cardigan is something I can happily throw on over my uniform and it is warm and cosy. That’s important when you are running about and being a mum.
How did your career develop?
I did design studies at university and I started at Harvey Nichols in personal shopping becoming a director. I moved to Harrods to launch the ‘by appointment’ personnel shopping service and then began my own consultancy working for whole range including Prada, Top Shop and Liberty. My business spring-boarded from there.
What do you advise your personal clients?
People do shop in a different way now and generally want clothes that are cool and easy. It is about knowing the client and finding amazing pieces to suit their lives and that can be worn in a multitude of different ways and educating them in that. The boundaries have really changed. In hair and make up, years ago there would be a certain lip colour or a nail polish - now there is no single trend. It’s about what suits you.
What are your Christmas gift tips?
This plaid scarf can be worn in so many different ways – belted, wrapped, or draped - and a scarf is also a cool and kitsch present. A lovely piece of jewellery like a little earpiece from LoquetLondon and luxurious lipstick will always go down well.
What about wrapping ideas?
I do buy and wrap upwards of 500 presents a year for clients. One year, I did a marble look and last year, I did shiny gold with ticker tape slogan graphics. This year, it will be about colours like salmon pink, mint green, lilac - subtle and thoughtful.
Byredo Gypsy Water is my absolute favourite. For candles, it has to be Diptyque x Liberty Insolite.
Images by Bernhard Deckert