Bride-to-be Laura Talken showcases a walk-in wardrobe room worthy of her fashion designer status.
When it comes to fashion, Laura Talken’s philosophy is “Fashion is what you buy. Style is how you wear it,” and she’s got the credentials — and closet — to prove it. As a designer for the iconic brand Lee Jeans and a graduate of the London College of Fashion, whose list of notable alum include Jimmy Choo and model Alek Wek, Talken, 23, knows fashion.
In addition to designing for Lee, Talken has never met a DIY project she didn’t like, is a certified Pilates instructor, a freshman cheer coach at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and owner of an adorable miniature pinscher/Japanese chin mix named Jimmy Chew with his own Instagram account and fabulous wardrobe.
And in February the Kansas City native will take on a new position: bride. A day she’s been dreaming about since she was 5 years old, Talken’s wedding to fiancé Tyler Higginbotham is as classic as Lee Jeans themselves. The theme is Old Hollywood (think Grace Kelly), complete with red-carpet-ready elbow-length gloves and a luxurious white fur stole for the bride. A 1920s-themed “stock the bar” party for the future bride and groom was held at Kill Devil Club, with the bride-to-be donning a beaded flapper-inspired dress. The wedding ceremony will be a small, family-only affair at Powell Gardens’ breathtaking Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel, with a reception for friends and family at Loose Mansion and a honeymoon in Hawaii.
As she put the finishing touches on her upcoming nuptials, Talken gave 435 Magazine a peek into her fantastic walk-in wardrobe room in Leawood, complete with Ikea closets, a glass display case for showcasing precious accessories, a pull-out jewelry tray, vanity table and luxe shopping bags from vendors like Liberty London and Chanel framed as wall art.
Describe your fashion style.
I like to think my style is classic and girly, but sometimes I want to be a hipster and rock a slouchy beanie.
Who are your favorite style icons past or present?
Jennifer Aniston has always been a style icon of mine. She displays a down-to-earth vibe with subtle hints of sexiness. And any girl who looks chic after a two-hour Pilates class deserves an award.
Favorite fashion labels?
Elizabeth and James, Theory, Milly, Chloé, Halston, VINCE, Ella Moss and Joie. For everyday items my go-to stores are J. Crew, Addie Rose Boutique, Abercrombie & Fitch, Standard Style and H&M; and for jeans I tend to stick with these four brands: 7 For All Mankind, Hudson, Rock & Republic and Lee.
Favorite runway or emerging designers?
When researching emerging designers I look for someone who designs minimalist classics that are expertly tailored but not stiff and silhouettes in clean, fresh colorways. Anyone can throw a bunch of fabric and some pins on a dress form, but only true fashion prodigies can make the perfect little black dress. I am currently loving Atea Oceanie and Rejina Pyo from London, and Coperni Femme from Paris.
What is your go-to casual look?
Nothing says “relaxed elegance” like the perfect pair of jeans. I wear our new Lee Dream Jean, cuffed, with an ankle boot, a white T-shirt and a colorful scarf or statement necklace.
Preferred jean style?
I am surrounded by denim all day, so I really do not have a favorite. I love skinny jeans because they are easy to wear with heels or boots. I love the ease of ripped boyfriend jeans because it gives off a casual but put-together look. I currently love wearing high-waisted flare jeans because I think it makes a woman’s legs look miles long.
Favorite dress-up look?
I am really into jumpsuits right now because of the cold weather, and they are just so easy. But in the summer I love a flowy chiffon maxi dress with strappy wedges, beach-waved hair and lots of bracelets.
Favorite to-die-for accessory?
My engagement ring. Every time I look down at my hand I am reminded that I found the love of my life. Tyler put so much time, effort and thought into creating the perfect ring for me. He worked with the amazing staff at Tivol to meet all my requests: a rose gold setting with a cushion cut stone and it had to sparkle when I wave. It will forever be my favorite piece of jewelry.
How is your closet arranged?
My closet is arranged by category, then by color, then by length. All my knits and denims are folded, and accessories are clearly visible. It makes it super easy in the morning when I have 6 a.m. cheerleading practice before work. I could probably find anything I needed with my eyes closed.
Your fashion philosophy?
Fashion items every stylish woman should own?
A black (p)leather jacket, dark denim and classic nude pumps
Fashion items every stylish man should own?
A well-tailored suit and a nice watch
Fashion item you lust for if money were no object?
A Hermès Birkin handbag. Just thinking about this bag gives me the chills!
Best fashion find ever?
When I was studying in London, I walked into this little market and found the most amazing handmade leather ankle boots. I watched the man make them. It was such a cool experience.
Favorite fashion era and why?
I constantly find myself drawing inspiration from the Roaring Twenties! Jazz music, fringe, shorter hemlines and glitzy headwear — what’s not to love?
Best fashion in movies or TV?
I absolutely adore the costumes in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The scene where Marilyn Monroe is wearing a pink dress with pink opera length gloves is where I drew inspiration to wear gloves with my wedding dress.
What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
VPL (visible panty line) can ruin any outfit. And too much animal print IS a bad thing.
Best way to add instant polish to your look?
Throw on a pair of heels! I am not motivated in flats. There is something about the sound a high heel makes when meeting the floor that makes me feel like I am important.
While you were studying in London, did you have any run-ins with celebrities?
I was helping at a model fitting for a big-name London designer the day before London Fashion Week. In walks Cara Delevingne. I was instantly blown away by her flawless beauty, her height, her stature, her European accent and her vintage Chanel handbag.