The Chic Consultant
On Libby Callaway’s website, she includes a section called “WHAT WE DO.” The question is: what doesn’t she do? A former fashion editor and journalist for such publications as Elle, The New York Post, Travel + Leisure, Glamour, and Style.com, Callaway now works as a consultant. She’s also worked as a wardrobe stylist and vintage clothing dealer. Whether you need help with your closet or your marketing plan, Callaway is there to help. Somehow, she still finds time to chair the Board of Directors of the Nashville Fashion Alliance and participate on the OZ Arts Advisory Board. She answered a few questions for us about the fashion and culture of Nashville.
Before moving here, you worked as a writer and editor in New York. What has most surprised you about Nashville?
I moved here 12 years ago, after living in NYC for a decade. Since then, I’ve watched Nashville transform, evolving from what many would describe as a provincial Southern town into a truly world-class city. And the cool thing is that despite all the record growth we’re experiencing, Nashville hasn’t lost its sense of cool nor the attributes that make it unlike any other city its size in the world. The people here are still warm and welcoming even as their surroundings are becoming more cosmopolitan. I am very happy to report that you can now find fine restaurants in Nashville taking reservations after 9 PM, which was not the case when I moved here!
You’re a former wardrobe stylist and vintage clothes dealer. How would you describe the style scene in Nashville?
For decades, the country music industry has defined Nashville’s style profile. But these days, the only folks wearing full-on Western boots-and-hat regalia are the tourists trolling the honkytonks on Lower Broadway. Even Music Row performers are abandoning the old rhinestone boot-and-hat look for more modern styles that aren’t too far removed from what’s being worn in New York or L.A. People dress up a little more than they used to. Nashville also has a growing retail culture and a vibrant community of forward-thinking designers, many of whom are members of the Nashville Fashion Alliance, the local fashion trade organization.
Which cultural events in the city are you particularly excited about this fall?
I would be remiss if I didn’t crow a little bit about all the wonderful things the Nashville Fashion Alliance has on its agenda. On Thursday, September 29, we’re partnering with Goodwill to host The Reclamation, a festive evening that celebrates the best of local fashion, food, music and art—in short, some of the things that make Nashville such an exciting place to live circa 2016. But I’m also psyched about the new programming at OZ Arts, which kicked off its new season this month. In November, they’re letting me launch a new interview series called Callaway Conversations. The format will be panel discussions on a certain topic related to art and design featuring Nashvillians who have been featured on my blog, The Callaway Report, which profiles creative people in the community.
Any fall fashion advice?
Shop local and shop often! I’m going to be layering up in separates from local designers Elizabeth Suzann and Han Starnes during the day; at night, I’ll be wearing elegant velvet and silk pieces from Cavanagh Baker, whose Cummins Station atelier is only a few blocks away from the Thompson. When it comes to bags and boots, I’m all about Ceri Hoover, the Nashville accessories designer, who’s opening a flagship in the 12South neighborhood in October.