Valentina Illardi Martin, Creative and Fashion Director of Grey Magazine, observes “her sense of style is her,” a notion exemplified in this photograph taken in her New York apartment. We see Ost’s paintings in the background, statements espousing her philosophy, a Studium Venetia lamp, and the artful combination of geometric and floral patterns on the settee. The dictum “Life is always being interrupted by events” is spelled out in tiles above the fireplace and a page from her notebook is woven on the Tibetan carpet. Beatrix herself is part of the display, attired in a stunning Alexander McQueen black dress and black over the knee boots.
“Beatrix uses words like she uses paint … with brush strokes so vivid and rich I feel as if I’m there watching as her story unfolds. I love this book (More Than Anything and a Piece of Me)!” — Sissy Spacek
“In your body is a good place to be” is Beatrix Ost’s signature dictum. The statement is both simple and complex, on the one hand denoting being comfortable with one’s body, on the other suggesting that the statement is not intended to be understood only physically. We should also understand it metaphysically. “In your body is a good place” to be refers to a balanced state of being.
Ost’s book, The Philosopher’s Style, makes it clear that her distinctive appearance is owing to more than an interest in something as mundane as fashion. Her look derives from her myriad interests and pursuits–painting, writing, sculpture, film, theater, and design. She is an amalgam of these interests–a kaleidoscope. The look isn’t achieved through shopping so much as through a process of creation–from conception to fabric to design to realization. It encompasses a philosophy of living.
In practice this consists of her Fortuny turbans, violet hair, crimson lipstick and nail polish, custom-made outfits, vibrant use of color, unique footwear, and a fascinating array of jewelry.
On her personal style, she reveals:
I’ve had my clothes forever. I have a fabulous seamstress, so I often design a lot of my own stuff. Sometimes I’ll feel the necessity for a linen suit or something like that, and then that can be made by someone for me. I know exactly what I should wear and what I shouldn’t. I’m just very clear in that and always was. I think one should discover oneself first and then see what is best for them. See yourself in reality. How is my body? How is my face? What looks good on me? You cannot be dictated. I’m not really a shopper; I’m more of a finder. I sometimes find something and then it’s there for years and becomes part of me.
At home when I grew up, I was not the beautiful one. My sister was the beauty and I was the smart one, because I made my father laugh. He was a pessimist, but I made him laugh. So I became the clever one. “She’s so clever,” he always said. I was discovered when I was fourteen; somebody photographed me on the street and I would then get photographed and get money for it. I would come home and tell my father I got money for being photographed, and he’d say, “There you go! How clever you are! Who photographs someone and pays him? Just you, because you are so smart.” Beatrix Ost