Pamela Ambrose, the director of Cultural Affairs at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), was on her way to a mani/pedi in Printers Row. “Toenail color is important. Toenails often hint at the interior you, ” she says.
What is your fashion motto?
Never get bored.
You are wearing color, print and fabulous accessories, such as your fruit earrings. Do you always incorporate fun elements in your look?
I have very little fine jewelry any more. My most interesting jewelry is either made by my husband, Peter Ambrose, a modernist sculptor, or found as vintage in thrift stores. I never wear gold, only silver and aluminum.
How about eyewear, how important is it to you?
Very. Once I started wearing glasses, it was obvious that I had to go the Iris Apfel route.
What is your styling process like? How do you pick an outfit for the day?
Black, white, taupe, grey all line up in the winter closet, except for red coats. Summer is a riot of color and I love juxtaposing the colors of nature, orange and purple, green and yellow. I spend very little time deciding what to wear each day. I have a very visual imagination, so sometimes I just begin by imagining Frida Kahlo or a Capuchin nun. As I say, I do not like to be bored.
What was your favorite fashion-related exhibit at LUMA?
The museum has never presented a fashion exhibition per se, but “The Art of Edward Gorey: Elegant Enigmas” in 2014, came close in the marvelous, soignee Edwardian clothes he designed for his books. However, the exhibition that came as close to fashion perfection in construction and pure architecture was the Jeanne Lanvin exhibition in Paris this past spring.
Historically, how do you think fashion has affected us humans?
Fashion can confine or set you free. It can be timeless or temporal. It is also a quick, cheap way to make you feel good about yourself. Once women started dressing for themselves and became proactive in their lives, the perception of women changed from dependence to independence, out of necessity to move quickly and be unencumbered.
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.