STYLE STORY: An Interview with CRISELDA BREENE
I was once interviewed by Journalist Tara Gilani for her groundbreaking CBS4 segment Women to Watch. Tara asked me: As Miami's own fashion Expert: who is has the best personal style in Miami: I immediately responded Criselda Breene, hands down, best style in any town.
Have you always had a personal style or did it evolve?
My personal style came from my grandmother. The lesson wasn't so much about a particular look or style. It was about being fearless and making your own choices. I grew up with her so by her own actions she really showed me how fun femininity can be. From wigs to fans to wooden sandals... everything was brought together in a spirit of feisty collaboration.
Do you buy clothes to wearor to collect?
I buy my clothes to wear. I have a collection because of it. Standing in my closet and looking at this collection makes me weirdly happy. It is years in the making and standing in the middle of it is like addressing all sides of my personality.
Describe your Signature Style.
My signature style is probably something that looks like a celebration... shiny! Metals, metallic, sequins, beads, fringe, leather, pleather, plastics... a dry cleaners nightmare..
What do you think sets you apart from others in the way you dress
What sets me apart is that I tend to be a little unpredictable. I certainly don't adhere to a particular silhouette. In fact that's what I try my best to stir clear from. I like it A-line, boxy, slim and trim, billowy, tented... yes my style is varied and I think that's where my fashion choices are tested.
What ignited your Passion for Fashion?
What ignited my passion? I was little and I was allowed to pick a fabric, pick a cut and my grandmother would sew it for me! I got to play with fashion and that ignites passion.
When did you realize that you loved fashion-or when did you begin to dress in your signature style?
I loved fashion all my life! No one had more shoes than me at age 8! Every color of the rainbow was in my closet. So variety was always comforting to me. I think my signature style matured in my 30's. Probably with better posture, I started to wear clothes with confidence. So the clothes became more eye catching, more intricate, more dramatic and resonating with the company I kee
What is the favorite piece that your ever wore?
Favorite was the Naeem Khan Apollo cape. That was a sublime original! I felt like a queen. Enough said.
Have you always dressed for yourself?
I've always for dressed myself. I know exactly what I don't like. I never really compromise on that.
Describe your relationship with Miami.
Miami is a manic city. I say that as a compliment. It's always engaged, excited and it's a place where fashion can flourish. The experimentation of color here is unlike any other city in America. I love this tropical city and it's been good to me.
What is your favorite place to travel?
My favorite is Japan. Aesthetics is a religion almost. And I love the carefulness and preciseness that they exercise in every day life.
What do you bring back from your travels?
I always bring back something I can wear to remind me of a foreign place and previous time.
What is your favorite charity?
My favorite charity is Bass Museum. I think the institution is growing with the community in a way that brings the city to the next level.
Tell us about your work.
My work is with the 3 boys waiting for me at home. They are a funny handful and at the end of my life, I think they will be the only and true product of what kind of human being I was. So my work now as a 24 hour guidance counselor has its rewards
How does your sense of style, your individuality connect with your philanthropy?
I try to have courage with my fashion choices and my philanthropic work is the same. Every decision is based on a gut feeling of what could be amazing if you just tried it...
All photos by Elysze Held, except #1 by Allison Weiss Brady
Illustrations by Lesli A. Brown