Today, TextileFuture’s team has selected four items for you to read.
The first feature is entitled “What Should I Do With My Big Fat Inheritance?”. It is written by New York Times Magazine Ethicist columnist and is delightfully composed to talk about the burdens of philanthropy and more. You certainly will enjoy this reading.
The second item is about “The new key to automotive success: Put customer experience in the driver’s seat”. It will give you all the aspects of how to arrange for an automotive success and the authors are from McKinsey.
The third feature is entitled “Maeve Reilly Changed How Women Dress. Now She’s Building Her Brand” is about a model that is building her own brand, thus again an item on the world of fashion.
The fourth item bears the title “It’s Never Too Late -It’s Never Too Late to Pick Up Your Life and Move to Italy”. It is a rather romanic item of a couple taking after 38 years of marriage to move to Italy and to start a new life together. Very enjoyable to read and with lovely pictures of the pair.
Thus you will be entertained, enlighted and also be confronted with romantic feelings, but nevertheless you are getting again in contact with a business item that is very constructive and also with fashion. We hope that you will like our choices. Have an excellent week and enjoy reading our Newsletter.
This is the start of the first feature:
What Should I Do With My Big Fat Inheritance?
The magazine’s Ethicist columnist on the burdens of philanthropy — and more.
By guest author Kwame Anthony Appiah. Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. His books include “Cosmopolitanism,” “The Honor Code” and “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.”
When my father died, I inherited a large trust fund and sole ownership of a family business. I was young and woefully unprepared, so I put my inheritance on the back burner and lived my life as if I was financially “normal.” However, since the pandemic, my portfolio has hit a new high. I am utterly distraught. I feel that I should have never gotten so wealthy when people are suffering so much.
I’ve been seriously considering giving a large portion away, but the more I talk to people, the more I realize that to give away large sums of money responsibly and ethically turns my life into a job that I never wanted. I don’t want my father’s money to become my life, my career or the most significant thing about me, even though I know that I benefit from it. I have privileges with it, it gives me options and frankly I could not afford to live in a big city without it.
My questions are these: How much money is it ethical to keep, and how much would it be ethical to give away? What is the best way to decide who should receive the money? And how much time and responsibility and rewriting of my life do I owe this gift that often feels like a burden? Name Withheld
On the one hand, your father was entitled to leave these assets to you, and you were entitled to accept them. (Assuming, of course, that they weren’t acquired through criminal means.) Maybe the tax code should have taken more of it from you: Many people think there’s a moral case for steep taxes on intergenerational transfers of wealth, because it’s a source of unfair inequality. Maybe taxes on capital gains should be higher: Many people think such revenue should be treated as regular income. If you supported such reforms, you’d have reason to back candidates who favored them. This one bequest, though, will make a de minimis difference to inequality in the world.
Unless you’re committed to utilitarianism, ‘maximum impact’ —in lives saved or suffering averted — need not be your only guide
On the other hand, having this money puts you in a position to do good, and there’s something to the thought that luck of this kind (you didn’t earn any of this money) places you under an obligation to give back. I understand that you don’t want to devote your life to doing this. But giving money away just isn’t that hard. You’re not in some “Brewster’s Millions” pickle.
There are many excellent philanthropic organizations in the world, with staffs and boards who focus on making positive change. I suppose you could also identify a foundation that has its own portfolio of philanthropic projects and see if you can add your gift to its endowment. That’s what Warren Buffett, with his rather sizable family business, did when he committed 30-odd billion dollars to the Gates Foundation. There are also groups — e.g., BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch — that evaluate philanthropies, although smaller ones may not be on their radar. GiveWell, an organization associated with the effective-altruism movement, identifies charities it thinks could deliver “maximum impact” per dollar. Insecticide-treated bed nets, which prevent malaria, score high in its system.
Unless you’re committed to utilitarianism, “maximum impact” — in lives saved or suffering averted — need not be your only guide. Ours is a richly variegated world, with many values and many things to value; it isn’t as if all charitable giving must go to malaria prevention. You’re not wasting your money if you want to donate to that performing arts center you love — or maybe it’s a public radio station or a nonprofit legal-aid provider or a music program for children. You’ll have helped make the world, or at least your community, a better and perhaps a more vibrant place. You may take a special interest in certain causes, owing to your own experiences. Taking a couple of days to consider some options isn’t going to derail your life.
Speaking of which: Giving back doesn’t require sacrificing your ability to keep living as you’d prefer in the place you prefer. (Remember, too, you can bequeath your estate — including, say, that apartment you couldn’t otherwise afford — to worthwhile beneficiaries.) You say you feel distraught; let me urge another sentiment. “The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt,” Buffett has said, “but rather gratitude.” You can free yourself from whatever part of your father’s legacy you find burdensome. But the time and thought it takes to make the necessary decisions should indeed be an expression not of guilt but of gratitude.
In an effort to provide for the long-term financial stability of her children, my grandmother bought a large amount of stock in a fossil-fuel company, which she left to my father. I find it heartbreaking that the investment she made and that my father has maintained to provide safety and security is one of the things that is actively moving the planet toward terrible destruction. My father is elderly and would not consider divesting from this company. This stock will be a majority of his bequest to my siblings and me. I hope my father will live for many more years, but when that stock — and the associated wealth — come to me, what is the ethical thing for me to do with the money? I feel guilt and disgust at the prospect of profiting off the suffering of so many. Name Withheld.
The case for divesting from fossil-fuel companies is that such divestment, on a large scale, would stigmatize their activities, exert a downward pressure on their share prices and (through an indirect mechanism of action) reduce the amount of capital available to them. We want to restrain investment in the exploitation of fossil fuels; we want to encourage investment in alternatives. But some people are motivated less by considerations of capital flows and more by a desire to have clean hands — to feel unsullied by the fossil-fuel industry and its grievous legacy.
There are a few complications here. One is that most oil reserves are state-owned and aren’t directly affected by divestment campaigns, so the strategy is quite limited in its effects. Another is that the world currently relies on fossil fuels for most of its energy needs, including most of its electricity, and though we should decarbonize as fast as we can (which is much faster than oil-and-gas companies would like), there’s no switch we can throw that would obviate a period of transition: Oil companies can’t yet be wished out of existence.
Then there’s the question of how to think about socially responsible shareholder activists. The hedge fund Engine No. 1, by becoming an Exxon Mobil shareholder and corralling the support of much larger investors, succeeded in installing three directors committed to getting the company to spend more on carbon reduction. Can investors who are devoted to E.S.G. (environment, social and governance) issues play a positive role in reforming the energy sector?
If you’re simply concerned with keeping your hands clean, you won’t be able to explore these matters. The great economic and political theorist Albert O. Hirschman explored “exit” and “voice” as among the ways we can respond to dysfunctional organizations. Exit, in this case, means withdrawing from these entities; voice means speaking up and trying to redirect them. Some combination of exit and voice might be optimal here.
And when the stock passes into your possession? I would recommend a forward-looking approach: The question is what you can do that would contribute to solving one of the great problems facing humanity. That might mean liquidating your holdings and adding to the social pressure on the company. It might also mean donating some of the money to a nonprofit group that works for a greener world; it might mean putting resources into the alternative-energy sector.
Your father, out of sentimentality, won’t consider divesting from this company. He’s caught up, it seems, in the fact that his mother made the investment — a backward-looking consideration. Don’t get caught up in backward-looking considerations, too. To dwell on the fact that this wealth came from an investment made by someone else a few generations ago is another form of sentimentality. Almost any inheritance entails profiting from the sins of the past. An awareness of historical mistakes is salutary, but the task is to help put things right in the future.
Here starts the second item:
The new key to automotive success: Put customer experience in the driver’s seat
By Volker Grüntges, Alexander Matthey, Florian Peter, and Jakob Stöber from McKinsey Consultancy. Volker Grüntges is a senior partner in the Munich office, where Jakob Stöber is a partner; Alexander Matthey is a consultant in McKinsey’s Berlin office, where Florian Peter is an expert associate partner.
The authors would like to thank Katharina Fiedler, Isabelle Möller, Jens Sulek, and Sihong Zhang for their contributions to this article.
Customer experience has replaced engineering prowess as carmakers’ critical battleground. Here’s how incumbent brands can effect a bold, fast transformation.
- Car manufacturers once competed largely on their engineering capabilities: superior driving performance and reliability were their marketing boasts. These qualities still matter, but they are table stakes. The new battleground is customer experience.
- Incumbents will need to commit to bolder change to keep pace with new tech-led, data-rich, electric vehicle manufacturers, leaping from technology-centric product development to customer-centric innovation.
- Leadership from the CEO and a chief experience office will be key to establishing the components of a transformation: a new business model, and the ability to scale fast, to amass data at every customer touchpoint, and to measure the customer experience in a manner that reveals precisely how to improve it.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when car manufacturers competed largely on their engineering capabilities: superior driving performance and vehicle reliability. These qualities still matter to today’s consumers, but they are table stakes. The new battleground is increasingly one where tech-enabled, data-rich, electric vehicle (EV) companies currently have the upper hand: customer experience.
The bar is already high. For many consumers, visiting a car showroom has lost its appeal. They prefer the convenience of digital interactions. Google search trends suggest some 60 %of car buyers under the age of 45 are likely to purchase their next car online and are interested in contactless sales and services. The majority of online shoppers in other industries expect real-time customer service, switch brands if they don’t get a consistent experience across channels, and abandon their online carts if the checkout process proves too taxing. 1 There is no reason to believe expectations will be any lower among car buyers.
EV companies have tapped into the zeitgeist. Tesla sells direct to its customers, who can buy a car with fewer than ten clicks, choosing from a simplified range of just four models and with no price haggling. China’s NIO also sells direct and only through its website and app. Both companies offer a range of add-on, customer-centric services, from worry-free energy packages, where an app click brings someone to charge the vehicle on the spot, to a “battery as a service” package that rents the battery to the buyer by the month, or even retail and dining suggestions.
With frequent software updates that improve services as the norm, the notion is taking hold among EV customers that they are no longer buying the latest car model that will last five years or so, but a smart device on wheels where they can work, socialize, and be entertained—and which will constantly improve.
In a world of electric, connected, and autonomous vehicles, OEMs face a considerable challenge if they intend to keep pace. Company transformations are hard, and harder still when the future is uncertain and resources are limited, making it difficult to know where to place bets. This might be why many OEMs are still tentative about shifting their focus to customer experience. But to win in this race, they will need to be bolder and committed to more rapid change.
Ultimately, they will need to rapidly discover, design, scale, and constantly refine solutions that thrill customers, generate new sources of revenue, and keep costs in check—an approach honed by leading customer-centric companies. Here, we focus on five of the most important elements of the approach and how OEMs can address them. The first is to ensure the CEO leads the effort, assisted by the newly appointed role of chief experience officer (CXO). Together, they will need to adopt a new operating model and new ways of reaching scale, capturing more data, and measuring the customer experience more accurately—all of which will likely require substantial investment. But the changes cannot be avoided if companies are to make the leap from engineering-centered product development to customer-centric innovation.
Leadership: The CEO must drive the transformation, with the CXO as copilot
OEMs have hitherto thrived largely on their engineering prowess. The customer’s experience, beyond the driving experience itself, has been the responsibility of the marketing and communications team, which might improve touchpoints such as booking a test drive or car handover. Today however, customer experience cannot be just a complementary OEM activity. It has to be the driving force for every department, including product development, IT, quality, and purchasing. That is a huge reorientation for an OEM, which is why the CEO has to drive home the need for change and make it happen.
To help them in this regard and to oversee day-to-day work, CEOs should consider appointing a CXO, a position already created by companies renowned for the strength of their customer focus. A few automotive companies—Volkswagen (VW) and General Motors among them—are following suit.
Just as the chief quality officer protects product quality and the chief financial officer protects the company’s financial health, the task of the CXO is to protect the end-to-end customer experience. This will mean disrupting the company with new business developments—not refining the status quo. Such a task requires the appointee have not only the trust of the CEO, but also the clout to both drive a transformation and win the support of other C-suite executives.
One of the CEO’s primary tasks, meanwhile, is to communicate and act on a clear, bold vision of what the company aspires to be. Adequate funding for the transformation may depend upon it. Different companies will clearly set different aspirations, but all will need to take account of trends afoot, which indicate that the automotive landscape is likely to develop the following attributes by 2030:
- Flexible ownership: Many people, particularly urban dwellers and younger drivers, may not own a car, preferring to rent, car share, or use mobility services. But car ownership will not disappear. People in less densely populated areas as well as premium customers and driving enthusiasts may well want to own a vehicle, but often through various short-term, flexible subscriptions to both lease vehicles and buy additional services.
- Amazon-like services: The delivery of services will be radically simplified. Booking the use of a vehicle or a test drive, leasing a different model, ordering a ride, or cancelling a service will be as easy and convenient as ordering on Amazon. And many services will be personalized: artificial-intelligence-powered software will anticipate, prebook, and streamline time-consuming tasks such as finding a parking spot or scheduling maintenance.
- A seamless digital ecosystem: Customers will expect a smooth, superfast digital ecosystem that integrates all services—connectivity, mobility, entertainment, social, hospitality—without the slightest hiccup. Indeed, performance here could distinguish one EV manufacturer from another, given its impact on customers’ experience. An analogy might be consumers’ choice of laptop today: processor and chip performance and the associated brands are what tend to influence purchase decisions, not the brand of the laptop manufacturer.
Within such a context, the strategy of an OEM deciding to target urban markets with mobility services might be to offer an on-demand, more sustainable, time-efficient, and fit-for-purpose transportation experience. A company seeking to build a market for privately owned, premium vehicles might emphasize an intelligent, delightful experience for driving enthusiasts. Whatever the vision, it will dictate a road map, the products and services—and brand-new business model—needed to bring it to life for customers.
A new business model: Think recurring sales of services and products, not a one-off car purchase
In the new world of mobility, value no longer lies entirely in the sale of a vehicle and aftersales parts, as has been the case with combustion-engine vehicles. As Exhibit 1 shows, selling a vehicle or a subscription for its use is only one part of the customer journey. There are many more opportunities to engage with customers, influence their experience, and earn revenue. For younger consumers, spending on EV products and services could prove akin to spending on new fashion items or consumer electronics to buy into a community of people identified and united by their latest purchases. NIO’s CEO, William Li, has even stated his customers aren’t just buying a vehicle, they are buying a ticket to a new lifestyle.
McKinsey analysis estimates revenue generated from recurring services could boost OEM revenue from car sales by some 30 percent in the next decade. But OEMs will need to work closely with partners new and old to earn it. They will need new partners for services and products, and they will need to reassess existing relationships with retail, travel, and hospitality companies in their loyalty programs and, in particular, those with their dealers. That is because customer relationships and vehicle data insights will be key to delivering an outstanding customer experience. Most customer relationships and data aren’t currently owned by OEMs but by third-party partners, and little data is exchanged, largely because of privacy concerns.
It is too early to tell what the endgame might be for dealers. In banking, the number of bank branches shrunk considerably as services were digitized. Amazon, on the other hand, has expanded its retail footprint. What is clear is that OEMs will need to capture all customer data in all channels and offer a consistent experience.
Scaling up: Rethink the operating model to be agile and outperform
Selecting the right customer-experience strategy depends on identifying the experiences most likely to delight customers. This calls for developing a minimum viable product for testing in a pilot market or a specific product line, gathering customer feedback on it, and ensuring development continues in the right direction, wasting neither time nor money. Insights are quickly incorporated, and features can be added one by one, perhaps starting with a new, unified, digital interface where customers can make one-click comparison of car models, stock availability, prices, and delivery times, later incorporating financing, trade-in, and service options.
This process will not necessarily come easily to OEMs accustomed to using a waterfall approach to product and IT development. But the next step—scaling successful product, service, and business model concepts to other markets and product lines—can prove trickier still. While it is often relatively easy to test new digital customer experience offerings in a single market with workarounds or by tailoring them to the existing tech stack, rolling out the same offering to dealerships in multiple regions with different operating models and systems can kill momentum. Take, for example, booking a service appointment or test drive. Developing the software for an app might not be difficult. But getting the app to sync with all the different systems used by thousands of dealers is hugely complex. It could take years to negotiate technology setup costs, data- and revenue-sharing arrangements, and legal governance, and to implement an end-to-end, digitized customer experience with integrated data flows and agreed standards. In the meantime, unencumbered, nimbler competitors may get to market first.
This is where an agile operating model, able to marshal the early commitment of all relevant internal and external stakeholders, working in empowered, cross-functional teams, becomes important. The teams will be aware of the needs of each OEM function and those of any external parties, as well as their interdependencies. If team members are not only experts but also influencers, they will be able to plan ahead, aligning key stakeholders on what needs to happen and tackling foreseeable obstacles.
However, if a company is to scale dozens of such use cases in an agile way—not just one or two—it will also have to invest in building a single data platform that integrates all data sources and allows easy access to that data through application programming interfaces (APIs).
Advanced data analytics—the new competitive muscle
A successful customer-experience transformation is analytics led. Analytics will be key to understanding what individual customers value, and hence to prioritizing which features to build and offer to which customers. Behind good analytics is good data.
In this respect, OEMs are arguably in an enviable position, given the amount of data they can potentially tap. For example, data from dozens of in-car sensors, from apps, and from financing and leasing arrangements could be used to engage customers, personalize products and services, improve and develop new ones, and upsell.
But OEMs have obstacles to overcome, too. Like any organization looking to improve analytics, OEMs will discover existing customer data is siloed in different parts of the organization or often not tracked. In addition, much customer data is owned by dealers or third-party partners outside the OEM’s own customer-relationship management (CRM) systems. Some OEMs are already addressing this problem. VW is adopting a direct-to-customer sales model in which dealers act as agents and earn a handling fee per transaction, but VW owns the transaction, including the data it generates.
But whatever sales model or dealer relationship they choose, all OEMs will need to build a technology stack to capture and integrate customer data at every touchpoint—the digital touchpoints, mostly managed by the OEM and its national sales companies, and the physical touchpoints at dealerships and within the car. It is no small task. But success stories from other industries with franchises, from fast foods to luxury retail, prove that engaging franchise partners is not only a critical element in leveraging the power of data and analytics but that it definitely can be done.
Measurement: Identify the operational drivers of the CX
Though appearing at the end of this list, measurement of the customer experience is not the final act in a customer-experience transformation. The transformation starts with an audit of the available customer-experience data to assess what is already being measured and how this information is being used to manage performance at the dealer, regional, and country level in all markets. That assessment will no doubt reveal many improvement opportunities. Measurement then tracks the transformation’s progress, revealing whether the changes made are the right ones or go far enough. It must be a continuous process, because customer expectations continuously evolve.
The ultimate goal is a measurement system that can identify the precise operational drivers of the customer experience. As Exhibit 2 shows, any number of problems can feed through to a low overall customer satisfaction score, depending on the channel the customer is using, the stage of the customer journey, and the precise problem the customer is trying to resolve. But at its root will be an operational driver, such as processing time, staffing levels, transparency, or reliability. Only by breaking down the overall score into its component parts and measuring each and every one will it be possible to detect the sources of dissatisfaction and the operational cause and solution.
With advanced analytics and the right data, the power of such systems becomes stronger still, for however good a company’s customer-experience surveys and sampling techniques are, they will still only reveal historical insights. In contrast, an analytics engine makes it possible to translate data signals into prompt action for each and every individual customer, not only identifying where problems might lie but predicting which improvements might unlock most value. It might, for example, figure out that simplification of the product portfolio will have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction in one market, or that offering an online aftersales appointment could increase penetration in aftersales services by 15 percent in another. In other words, companies can go from asking “How are we doing?” to “How do we deliver on what customers want now?”
Many OEMs have begun to reevaluate what they need to do to thrive in a world of future mobility, where the customer experience is central to success. Few, however, have yet committed to the bold vision and actions that will help ensure their rich heritage and brands endure. CEO and CXO leadership will be key to establishing the vital components of a successful customer-experience transformation: a new business model, and the ability to scale fast, to amass data at every customer touchpoint, and to measure the customer experience in a manner that reveals precisely how to improve it. Other industries have already made the transformation. Their lessons learned should help CEOs and CXOs of automotive OEMs follow suit.
The start of the third feature is here:
Maeve Reilly Changed How Women Dress. Now She’s Building Her Brand
Changing street style via her work with Hailey Bieber and Megan Fox was just the beginning for Reilly, who has a new YouTube channel, her own clothing line and a styling class series.
One of the first stops on the office tour Maeve Reilly is recording for her YouTube channel is her gallery wall of press moments: dressing the singer and actor Janelle Monáe for the 2017 Oscars, in an embellished Elie Saab Haute Couture gown, in Vogue; the first time Reilly made the Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Stylists list, also in 2017; a Coveteur tour of her closet from 2020. “This was the best gift my ex-boyfriend ever gave me,” she tells everyone in the room before deciding not to shout him out in the video.
Reilly is the 34-year-old stylist best known for helping create model Hailey Bieber’s often-imitated street style and the sexy-glamorous looks worn by actor Megan Fox. Today, as she leads the tour of her airy Beverly Grove, Los Angeles office, she’s dressed in an oversized sand-coloured blazer over a matching corset top, baggy jeans and Nikes. Her shoulder-length blond hair is stick straight, her lips in their signature glossy pout.
Reilly launched her YouTube channel in September, and she posts a new video every Wednesday. It’s the latest in a series of projects she’s using to position herself into a proper millennial multihyphenate. Earlier this year, she started her own clothing brand, the Local Love Club, a line of elevated sweats that donates a portion of its proceeds to an anti-bullying organization called the Kind Campaign. She also has a clothing collaboration with fast-fashion retailer Nasty Gal and is planning the next installment of her styling series, a day-long class teaching aspiring stylists about how to build a career in the industry. (Last time, the class was only on Zoom, but now she’ll be offering it in person, too.) She still styles clients including Fox, Lori Harvey, La La Anthony and the Chainsmokers, and with about 915000 Instagram followers, she’s already an influencer in her own right.
Summarising her aesthetic, Reilly says, “I definitely think about oversized, baggy, tomboy—but then there’s a sexy part to it”—basically the look Bieber became known for. The everyday wardrobes Reilly creates for her clients are replicable in a way that typical celebrity styling—aka couture gowns for awards shows—never will be. The average woman might not be able to afford the lizard-print 1017 Alyx 9SM jacket and pants Reilly dressed Megan Fox in earlier this fall or the oversize cream-colored Magda Butrym suit Hailey Bieber wore in July. But she can almost certainly find similar pieces on whatever her budget is.
Reilly recalls noticing how ubiquitous Bieber’s style had become during a night out with the model at 1 OAK, the now-shuttered celebrity favourite nightclub in New York City, a few years ago. “I looked around at all these girls and I was like, Oh, my God, they’re wearing all of this because we told them to.”
Recently, Bieber left Reilly to work with Karla Welch, the stylist with whom her husband, Justin Bieber, has worked with for years. The departure is the one thing Reilly won’t discuss. “I’d rather not go anywhere near that right now,” she says. “It’s all love. We’re best friends, so I think out of respect for the friendship, we’re not going to talk about it.” (Bieber declined to comment.)
Bieber was Reilly’s second pivotal client. The first was Monáe, whom she worked with for several years until 2017, and of whom Reilly says, “She’s the reason why I’m the stylist I am today.” Reilly cites the challenging experience of re-interpreting Prince’s most iconic looks for Monáe, who was a protege of the late singer, to wear during a tribute performance at the BET Awards in 2016. It was around that time when Bieber became a client. “We met and we had a just amazing connection right off the bat and she hired me and three days later we were in Paris and spent the next years building her business,” saysReilly. “That’s been one of the joys of my life and [among] the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.”
Reilly started working with Fox about a year ago, just as the actor was re-emerging from a decade of lying low after receiving waves of critical and sometimes sexist media treatment in her 20s. Back then, Fox was never really known for her style, but her outfits now regularly make headlines. She’s become known for an Old Hollywood meets sexy vampire aesthetic: a black Mugler dress that was more cutouts than actual fabric at the Billboard Music Awards; a shiny, Barbie-pink Mach & Mach jumpsuit at the iHeartRadio Music Awards; and a lace-up, beaded red gown by Peter Dundas with a plunging neckline and dramatic leg slit at her first Met Gala. Fox’s goth couples style with her boyfriend, the musician Machine Gun Kelly, also receives a lot of paparazzi attention.
“There’s a part of [her story] I really relate to: owning your sexuality, being a strong, independent woman and not caring what people say about you or think about you,” says Reilly. After Fox and Reilly met and clicked, they got rid of about 85 percent of Fox’s wardrobe, donating and selling it.
Describing their collaborative process, Fox says, “It basically consists of [Maeve] convincing me I can pull something off while I list 30 reasons why I can’t. And then I anxiously agree. And she’s always right.”
Of coordinating Fox and Kelly’s outfits, Reilly says that it’s challenging and requires lots of collaboration with his stylist, Adam Ballheim. “One look may be really sick on its own, but then you put the other one next to it and it can very quickly turn into a Halloween costume,” she says. [Machine Gun Kelly] is an artist, he’s eccentric, he wants to express himself…. Sometimes you have to let [Megan] go there, like with the naked dress.” (She’s referring to Fox’s embroidered Mugler look at the MTV Video Music Awards. Kelly wore a red metallic Dolce & Gabbana suit that night.)
Reilly grew up in New York City, always obsessed with fashion. She says she had a shopping addiction when she was a teenager: “I was totally in debt and totally ruined my credit,” she says. She fell into styling at a pivotal moment in her life. She’d just turned 18 and had finished a four-month stay at a rehab centre in Pennsylvania for her cocaine and alcohol addictions. “I remember getting off the bus in New York…I was like, Oh, my God, there are so many people,” she says. “I had been isolated for so long. I was just sort of adjusting to this new life.” Her dad, William Spencer Reilly, a television producer, helped her get a wardrobe internship on a “very uncool” TV show on the Hallmark Channel. “I loved it so much,” she says.
At the same time, she worked at Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street, a job she lost when the economy tanked in 2008. It motivated her to try to break into the styling world, and she spent years assisting celebrity stylists before breaking out on her own.
Back at the YouTube filming, Reilly is in the office’s kitchen, where she opens a cabinet to reveal rows of sunglasses and then a drawer filled with jewelry. “It’s all very organized. This is all gold. We have a tiara…in case someone’s in the mood?” she says, taking out the bedazzled crown and placing it on her head. Coincidentally, the office used to belong to Rachel Zoe, one of the first stylists to become a celebrity herself, whom Reilly refers to as an idol, friend and mentor.
“At a certain point you have to decide you can only rely on yourself at the end of the day, right?” says Reilly after the shoot, curled up in an upholstered chair in the living room area of her office. The neon sign her team gave her for Christmas of her @StyleMeMaeve Instagram handle glows over the fireplace, and she’s wearing a black Local Love Club sweatsuit. “Clients are going to come and go…. What is going to keep you here forever? It’s starting my clothing line. It’s starting a YouTube channel. It’s starting my styling series, and trying to help up-and-coming stylists…. That’s how you build a legacy.”
The start of the rather romantic story is beginning here
It’s Never Too Late – It’s Never Too Late to Pick Up Your Life and Move to Italy
Holly Herrmann vowed to move to Italy when she was 20. Her dream came true 38 years later.
By guest author Alix Strauss
“It’s Never Too Late” is a series that tells the stories of people who decide to pursue their dreams on their own terms.
In 1978, when Holly Herrmann was 20, she flew to Bolzano, Italy, a scenic city in the foothills of the Tyrolean Alps, to compete in the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. A native Californian, the budding concert pianist was taken with a country that was so intricately interwoven with classical music, food and beauty. She vowed to make it her home one day.
“By then I was living in Seattle, and this was my first time in Italy. I was fascinated by this cohesive, beautiful, historic center that was so wonderfully rich with life and activity,” Ms. Herrmann, now 63, said of the medieval heart of Bolzano. “Italy offered a different style of life that I enjoyed more than what I was experiencing at home. I knew at some point I would end up living there.”
Moving permanently to Italy would take 38 years. After her piano competition, she flew to New York to do groundwork for her planned move to Manhattan as a professional pianist. Then she flew to Seattle, where on her first day back she was introduced, through college friends, to Jim Herrmann. The two quickly began an intense friendship. Within a year they were married. Over the next several years they had two children. (Mr. Herrmann already had two children from a previous marriage.) Hopes of New York faded. Italy became even fainter.
But her dream of moving to Italy never died. In 2015, at her daughter’s urging, she spent a month in Orvieto, a medieval hill town in central Italy, to see if she was still passionate about the Italian way of life. Mr. Herrmann joined her for 10 days. The trip convinced them both that this should be their new reality. The deep desire for a lifestyle change became financially possible with the sale of their home and retirement savings.
In 2016, the couple picked up their lives in Seattle. Unsure of what their future would hold, they first rented their four-bedroom home, then later sold it along with their two cars and possessions too large to take with them. They boarded an Italy-bound plane with one carry-on and suitcase apiece. For two years, the couple lived in Lecce, a lively city in southern Italy with Baroque-era churches and narrow streets lined with rustic restaurants. But Lecce’s remoteness made it difficult to travel around Europe, so in 2018 they settled in Padua, an ancient city with arcaded streets and stylish cafes only a 33-minute train ride from Venice.
Today, the couple live in a two-bedroom apartment that overlooks Piazza dei Signori, a charming little square in the historic center of Padua. (The following interview has been edited and condensed.)
What finally lit your fire?
A few times a year my kids would hear me say, “When I’m old I’m going to move to Italy.” The last time I said it, which was in 2015, my daughter said, “Why do you say when you’re old? Why don’t you make it happen now?” That really struck me. All of the limits I’d created — Jim, the kids, the house — were self-imposed to make me feel I couldn’t realize my dream. I needed to drop them and dream bigger and more freely. When I told Jim about wanting to move there, he surprised me by agreeing with my daughter that I should go for a month to see how I felt. Then all of the weight I was carrying around dropped off.
What steps did you take to make this work?
I signed up for Italian lessons in Seattle. I researched where I should spend the month. I had already experienced Bolzano, so I decided to go to Orvieto, which is a small city in Umbria that’s between Florence and Rome. Jim joined me and loved it.
When we returned home, we decided to make the move. In January 2016 Jim retired. I sold my Steinway seven-foot piano to a student of mine. We had an estate sale. We rented out our house in Seattle, which paid for our life in Italy. Later on, we sold the house to continue financing life here. We started in Lecce because we wanted to go to a place where the local population didn’t speak English and we’d be forced to speak Italian, which we were. Since then, I’ve become almost fluent.
How did you navigate all of the challenges of living in a foreign country?
I didn’t want life to become boring. I wanted it filled with adventure. If you want that, then move to a different country. Early on in Lecce we broke the handle off our pot. We only needed a simple screw but that mundane act became a five-hour adventure. How do we find a hardware store? What’s the Italian word for handle? How do we take the bus to get there? I wanted our post-retirement life filled with challenges, that’s why I thrive here.
Did you see this move as a second act?
I have a palpable feeling that one chapter has ended and another began. My life story now includes that I live in Italy. It’s not a new book, but a new exciting chapter — written in Italian.
How has this experience changed you?
I feel like my life is rich here. Italians have an art of living. They take pleasure in the small moments. I’ve learned to do that, too. I feel seen and understood in a way I wasn’t before.
How is your Italian life different from your Seattle life?
It’s changed dramatically in that we no longer own a car. We live within the center of a beautiful historic town that includes a nearby river that we take walks along almost every day where we arrive at the “Specola,” which is an observatory built on top of an ancient tower. We shop, go to restaurants and outdoor fruit and vegetable markets, meet friends all within a few block radius of our apartment. We can take a train to have lunch or dinner in Venice whenever we want. Before the pandemic we travelled easily all over Europe.
What kind of advice can you offer someone who feels stuck?
Make a list of five essential things that need to happen to make your plan a reality. Start with one. Don’t look at all of them because that can be overwhelming. If you can accomplish one, then go to two. Then see if you can finish the list. Don’t do anything drastic. Do a test run to see if you’re suitable for this kind of life and if it makes you happy or uncomfortable. I had a strong drive to do this. If you’re compelled to do something, you should attempt to do it.
What is something life has taught you?
Regret is useless. You can’t go back and change any decision you made. Try to embrace right where you are, that unlocks the future. When you are centered and focused on the joy and beauty of your life, life unfolds effortlessly. Regret doesn’t play a part in that philosophy.
Newsletter of last week
Four Myths about Carbon Offsets – The Black unicorn: Changing the game for inclusivity in retail – 10 of Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Personal Possessions – Getting Sustainability Right (Infographic by Bain & Company) – Getting Personal with Iman https://textile-future.com/archives/80599
The highlights of last week’s NEWS, for your convenience, just click on the feature to read.
Swiss Nestlé: New open platform provides access to diet-related health data for more than 190 countries https://textile-future.com/archives/80837
Spain: Telco giants control 75 % of market https://textile-future.com/archives/80914
Swiss Forbo launches fixed-price buyback offer https://textile-future.com/archives/80971
Number of seaborne passengers in EU ports halved in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80712
Fatal road accidents in EU regions https://textile-future.com/archives/80755
Majority of the self-employed in the EU are men : https://textile-future.com/archives/80829
Asia-Europe Meeting: EU trade deficit at EUR 244 billion https://textile-future.com/archives/80863
EU Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure Scoreboard published https://textile-future.com/archives/80892
122 deaths with EU-registered aircraft in the EU in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80921
EU’s circular material use rate increased in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80928
Gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2021: continuing economic recovery https://textile-future.com/archives/80955
Sharp rise in Swiss employment and vacancies in 3rd quarter 2021 https://textile-future.com/archives/80965
Statement by EU Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič following his meeting with Lord Frost on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland https://textile-future.com/archives/80704
Air Liquide and BASF welcome support from European Innovation Fund for joint CCS project https://textile-future.com/archives/80762
EU Road freight transport drops in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80767
EU proposes blacklisting of transport operators involved in facilitating the smuggling or trafficking of people https://textile-future.com/archives/80819
Capital Markets Union: EU Commission proposes new measures to boost Europe’s capital markets https://textile-future.com/archives/80918
FibreCoat GmbH closes first financing round https://textile-future.com/archives/80902
WTO: Draft agreement on fisheries subsidies submitted for ministers’ attention ahead of MC12 https://textile-future.com/archives/80979
France: Invest in skills, digitalisation and the green transition to strengthen the recovery, says OECD https://textile-future.com/archives/80721
Innovation community gathers at the European Innovation Council Summit in Brussels https://textile-future.com/archives/80810
Burberry partners with Marcus Rashford MBE to help young people develop their literacy skills https://textile-future.com/archives/80940
G20 mandates OECD and UN-Habitat to help intermediary cities tackle climate change and achieve their SDGs https://textile-future.com/archives/80775
FibreTrace to create Africa’s first fully traceable cotton supply chain : https://textile-future.com/archives/80868
BURBERRY GROUP PLC BOARD CHANGE https://textile-future.com/archives/80843
Ransomware is your biggest threat,UK’s NCSC CEO’s tells business https://textile-future.com/archives/80855
EU exports of recyclable products rose in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80876
Unifi reaches 30 billion bottle recycling target early https://textile-future.com/archives/80886
Largest textile recycling centre in Nordics opens in Finland https://textile-future.com/archives/80936
Environmentally-friendly reforestation: Biodegradable tree covers made from renewable raw materials https://textile-future.com/archives/80950
Swiss Empa: How can we best achieve the energy transition? https://textile-future.com/archives/80698
EU Sickness/healthcare benefits up in 2020 https://textile-future.com/archives/80814
FibreTrace to create Africa’s first fully traceable cotton supply chain https://textile-future.com/archives/80868
Switzerland and the USA reaffirm their collaboration to promote research https://textile-future.com/archives/80708
Switzerland and the USA to strengthen their vocational education and training cooperation https://textile-future.com/archives/80718
Around 12% of the Swiss household budget went on taxes in 2019 : https://textile-future.com/archives/80772
Swiss Empa joins ANAXAM network: Accurate analysis of 3D-printed components https://textile-future.com/archives/80782
The Swiss Federal Council names two new board members to the Export Risk Insurance SERV https://textile-future.com/archives/80852
Swiss Long-term outlook: How are public finances affected by COVID-19 crisis, ageing and climate change https://textile-future.com/archives/80910
Swiss Lake Geneva region exceeded one million jobs in 2019 https://textile-future.com/archives/80933
The U.S. Employee Crisis https://textile-future.com/archives/80737
Joint EU-US stakeholders outreach on Investment Screening (Dec. 2, 2021) https://textile-future.com/archives/80968
Georgia: Sixth EU-Georgia Joint Forum with Civil Society (Dec. 3, 2021) https://textile-future.com/archives/80975
Dual use controls: Brussels’ Export Control Forum: Registration open (Dec. 8, 2021) https://textile-future.com/archives/80983
Turkmenistan formally applies for WTO membership https://textile-future.com/archives/80987