Closet Diary - A woman's right to own style

Es ist wieder soweit: unser Gast-Autor Julian Daynov entführt uns in den Kleiderschrank einer weitern Berliner Super Woman: Model, Agentin und Socialite Maria Gieseke, die für SoSUE die Tore zu ihrem Zuhause und ihrem Dressing Room öffnet und offen über ihr Leben, ihre Karriere und ihre Lieblings Fashion Pieces spricht. 

It's not often the case for us ordinary mortals to meet a real royal - the kind of such, who always look flawless, behave flawless, talk flawless and fully live up the their role to evoke admiration for their ease, finesse, class and gracious selves. I consider myself truly lucky to have met one and even be able to have her so close to my house and so close to my heart. 

Bright energy, shining aura, true sole and golden heart - this is how I got to see Mary every single time we bumped into each other at dinner parties of friends or at events around Berlin. 

There has always been the luminous surface of an incredibly beautiful, incredibly well dressed, incredibly well educated woman, but far more have i been getting impressed - above her artistic looks - by her inner beauty beyond the layers of her perfect outfits, perfect hair, perfect make-up, perfect smile. 

To me, she always was the queen of every ball, the center of every crowd, the theme of every talk - reason enough for me to always be curious about the woman behind her looks, the story behind her beauty and own elegance. 

Facing things back, we've now known each other for quite some years and straight from day one Mary kept on unfolding her assets of life wisdom, great sense of style, human goodness and excellence. 

In today's SoSUE Closet Story, you will see the true colors of a truly great person - a woman with incredible appreciation for freedom, changeability and liberality: in her closet and through her life.  

Born near Odense - the city of Hans Christian Andersen - Mary's life was simply ment to run as in a fairytale. Growing up in an idyllic part of town, surrounded by romantic castles, fields and right by the sea, romance and freedom have prescribed her way of life.  

Discovered to be a campaign testimonial for a toy company at the early age of 8, she quite quickly grew into her own path of beauty, catwalks and professional modeling and went on to numerous adventures in the world of high fashion. Being a significant part of the modeling business, she even found her own modeling agency and grow it into an international scope and over 200 models filed in her portfolio. 

 Over teas and tears, Mary and I talked about life, her sense of fashion, about beaut and about making deliberate choices every day - starting with the outfit and ending with the mindset one put on.  

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Mary, you are obviously a true fashion lover, how would you describe your personal style?
I am a very eclectic mix of artistically, bohemian and Island-chic influences. The way i dress reflect my flamboyant and free spirit. I basically follow my inner self and feeling towards an outfit, towards a look ... oh, and i am not afraid of colors. 

If we ask your friends about typical Mary-style things, what would they pick as your signature pieces?
Definitely they will start with my thing for headbands - it all started over 20 years ago while i was on Mykonos, rather did i find it back then very practical, when the wind is playing wild with your long hair. Then i started realizing that it always rounds up any look in a very good way. I could most probably wear a head piece to any of my outfits - i simply love that. 

Another thing people often connect me with are the probably very typical Danish looking knitted socks i wear. I have them with me nearly all the time. I guess this is rooted in my Danish origin, where coziness and cocooning is something very essential; we can look very glam and chic, but are always „down to earth“ always „grounded“ and "casually in our socks". Most Danes are being raised up to never loose the ground under their feet. My socks are probably a symbolic gesture i always carry around an in myself - the countryside heritage to stay cosy and always keep the feet on your ground. 

Browsing through your closet, I find a lot of outstanding designs and brands - do you remember your first ever designer purchase?
Oh, I have been spending my pocket money mostly on fashion since i was a young girl and it’s been like that basically since i can remember. The very first designer purchase i can’t remember, but it must have been in my early twenties. Back in the days, it was probably something from Ivan Grundahl - an incredible guy i was spending most of my money on. I surely can remember the first local designer that i got to know in person here in Germany through a friend - it was Michael Michalsky who is not just a talented and visionary guy, but over the years turned into a good friend. 

What did you buy from your first salary? 
I think i bought an issue of the American Vogue. I was so flashed by all the beauty it was featuring and went so much for the perfume samples they were having in there. I still remember, it was Beverly Hills by Oscar de la Renta. This is what pretty much my whole youth smelled like - thinking back about it now, it was so odd – terribly sweet and so pungent, but all of us young girls went for it... Oh, and another thing - i remember buying a set of really beautiful crystal champagne glasses, although i don't even drink alcohol at all, but I obviously fell for their prettiness. 

Your favorite three designer piece in your wardrobe now?
I quite often catch myself buying creations of Dawid Thomaszewski - i love his kimonos and all the suits i have from him. I think it's mostly his pieces i favor a lot. Also, there is this one amazing piece William Fan - another German great one - made for me. It is an overall set with fringes he custom-made for me. I love it. I also have a pair of white leather jogging pants of Michael Michalsky i basically live in - definitely another favorite. I wear a lot of German designers - i love supporting them and believe it is the duty of us all to honor their work and creativity.

Where do you mostly shop your outfits?
To be honest, i am not the kind of person, who would go and spend a whole day at a mall or only goes to extremely high-end or glossy boutiques. I love to by accident discover small, independent places, selling affordable and often not that well known brands. To me it all happens very spontaneous - i never look for particular things to shop, they simply find me and i on my end simply always find an occasion to wear them. 
I buy a lot when i am on travels - in this way, i always bring a memory back home - either interior pieces or clothes. In Berlin, i often shop up and down the Kastanienallee or the small side-streets in around Mitte. 

Do you vinatege-shop at all? Favorite places to buy vintage stuff.
Oh, yes, i live for vintage shopping - my most favorite store is called FN92 – it is in the heart of Copenhagen and is a real institution. I have so many dresses and shawls i turn into skirts or head pieces, which i bought there. Overall, i love mixing old and new things. The whole patchwork-dressing is a fantastic way to play with brand new purchases and work some old pieces in. 

Most money you ever spent on a piece. Oh, let's skip all that money talk - i guess i spent a good equivalent of a beach house only on my closet... But hey, it brings joy an fun. I think the most expensive piece i bought was a Balli hand-painted silk dress with a lot of fringes. 

High heels or sneakers? 
Socks :)

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You have been running an own incredibly successful model agency for so many years - what fascinated you about this part of the business?
You know what, when i think back now, i believe i opened my agency for mostly one reason – to make sure young models get a solid start, good support and throughout safety on their jobs. It is not an easy business and some agents often see their models only as cash robots. This really made mad and i was willing to show to the industry, to the world that good management, safe environment, full dedication and a family-culture can bring business and success really far. I have been so much more than just a manager for my models - i was their second mom, their friend, their older sister, their life coach. What makes me happy until now is the fact that so many of my former models still reach out to me and say they miss the life we lived together - it never felt like work, it was always just joy. 

What was the sweetest part of your success?
To be frank, it was never the money or the deals i was getting for my models; i always wanted them to be happy in the first place - with their face, body and mind. I have discovered various models throughout my career and have had many of them on campaigns for D&G, Ralph Lauren, shooting for GQ, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, but above all i was happy when i was seeing them being happy to have landed a new major job. My success was their happiness. 

You have always been surrounded by the most beautiful women and men on the planet - to you, what constitutes "Beauty"?
I love diversity. To me, character is essential. Having a significant own style and look, being slightly curvy or having an edge is what makes you interesting and beautiful. There is no such thing as a universal formula for beauty. 

How did you find yourself in Berlin? 
While still living in Düsseldorf, I have been coming to Berlin so many times for work, to see friends, to party and i always loved the vibe, the rush, the energy the city has. I came here to only have a small base away from my home and stay at an own place while here on frequent business trips, but in the end found so many great friends, discovered the city in a whole different way and decided to start spending more time here. I slowly moved fully here, but still spend time every once in a whole in Düsseldorf. 

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Does living in Berlin influence your style at all?
Not too much, i think. My style is not the typical one the city is used to see every day. I mean, i wear colors, i love dressing up and in here, people are rather casual and barely wear bright shades. In that sense, i don’t think Berlin changed my style, but it changed my mind – i have grown so much in the last years here, i met so many valuable people and this is what makes Berlin so magical to me. 

Who is your style icon?
I don’t have a particular one. My friends are my style icons and they are worth so much more than any other labeled icon.

What do you wear if you're having a bad day? 
On a bad day, you would find me in my pyjamas and a morning robe listening to slow tunes - i sometimes love spending the whole day like this.  

What do you love most about your apartment?
It is in a very lovely area - really near to the whole craziness of Berlin, but also not in the heart of it. It dives in sunlight and is really spacious, i have enough place to host friends and feel the freedom and calmness of being home. 

Do you have a favorite piece of decoration?
I love all of the art pieces in my house. They all have been very emotional purchases and i have a personal attatchement to each and every piece. 

The one i bought very lately is this incredible artwork of Armin Dietrich - an amazing artist, who has developed his very own technique of paining and making art. I love his creations. 

I also love my bed and the day-bed; i have designed both of them on my own and they are my every-day-spot for daydreaming and relaxation. They carry the coziness of my home.

All pictures taken by: Mirja Zentgraf

Über den Autor:
Julian Daynov ist ein wahres Fashion Victim, ein Serien-Netzwerker, eine ganze Welt für sich. 

Nachdem er die letzten sieben Jahre als zertifizierter Trendscout, Fashion Analyst und Fashion Director die Bereiche Retail Buying und Portfolio Management für Kunden wie Barneys, Harrods, TJX Companies und Saks Fifth Avenue betreut hat, zog es ihn nach Berlin.

Seine vielseitigen Kenntnisse über Märkte, Marken und Mode machen ihn zu einem gefragten Einzelhandelsexperten. Zur Zeit unterstützt er Boutiquen und Kaufhäuser dabei, ihren Produktmix zu bereichern, Eigenmarken zu entwickeln und Strategien für eine bessere Shopping-Experience zu definieren.

Als guter Freund und treuer Fan von SoSUE schreibt er hin und wieder als Gast-Autor für uns und kommentiert alles rund um die coolen Dinge des Lebens.  


Tagged: design, interior, modell

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