“I grew up in Bermuda, my entire life. I left for college and moved here, so I haven’t been in New York for very long. All my friends and family are from there, so I try to go back as much as possible. During the summer, that’s as often as ever other weekend, if I can. In New York, it’s different, you know? I go out for fashion events—it’s work. But in Bermuda, I’ll get there on a Friday and everyone would be at this one bar called Captain’s, which actually just closed. Now we usually go to a lot of beach bonfires or clubs and listen to a lot of reggae. On Sundays, boat life is pretty big. Our going-out outfits are like bathing suits, and you can’t repeat them. I probably have as many bathing suits as I have shoes.
My mom was a big shopper and she would spend hours in shoe stores, so my interest in fashion definitely started there. I remember being really annoyed that she spent all this time shopping, and I was like ‘What about me?’ [Laughs] And then it clicked one day, and I got it—she had an arm full of gold bangles, which I wear now. I look at them, and it reminds me of everything before me leading up to this point in my career as an editor and style consultant. I look at them and think, ‘That’s where I came from.’
I was going out a lot when I first moved here—not just to fashion events, but music industry events too. I was working at YSL before it became a thing for celebrities to be dressed by brands, so we were one of the first people to dress Kanye West. Even though most of my nightlife in New York is work-related, there are some nights where I’m like, ‘Lets go dancing!’ If I hear about a reggae party, I’m there—hands down. I just took a screenshot on my phone of one coming up, and you best believe I’ll be there. I’m very much moved by the music, so if there’s a DJ that I’m into like Q-Tip or Solange, I’ll be there.
I hate getting ready alone. I live by myself in the city, but one of my best friends lives three blocks away from me—obviously because he’s obsessed with me [Laughs]—so he’ll come over a lot if we’re all going out together. I’m a girl’s girl though, so I like having my girlfriends over. I guess that’s me growing up with my sister and all of my girl cousins—we grew up kind of forced to get ready together in the same space. Old habits die hard. I like to coordinate and be part of the same story with our outfits. It’s a process—but really, it’s like one big never-ending adult slumber party.
I have to turn on music. Right now, it’s all Drake all the time, but I have really eclectic taste in music so I’ll play anything—I also really love country music like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. And there’s always a cocktail. It used to always be wine, but now it’s pretty much tequila soda. In Bermuda, it’s Rum Swizzle—basically every fruit juice and rum, then this stuff called Bermuda Gold, which I don’t even know what it is. I just know it’s homemade, and you have to let it sit for three weeks.
There comes a point in the night though when I just have to get out of the house. Last week we were, how do you say, hasthag not-invited-to-the-MET-but-going-to-all-the-after-parties? I don’t like to leave the house super late, so I left my friends at home because I was like, ‘If I sit in this house for one more minute, I’m just going to go to sleep.’
I want to say I’ve been dressing the same way to go out since I was very young—a crop top, high waisted bottoms, and lots of jewelry. I think it’s a silhouette that looks good on me because I’m a curvy girl, and I don’t try to hide that. Rather, I like to enhance it and make my body look even better.
I like gold jewelry, and I go through waves. Sometimes I like really simple, minimal jewelry—very delicate, personal pieces. And then other times I like chunky cuffs. It depends. But right now, I’m more into the Piaget Possession collection. It doesn’t feel like it will distract from my makeup or outfit, but it’s still beautiful and makes a statement.
For a little bit more, I like the idea of wearing two of the necklaces together, kind of layering it up. The necklace and the rings are layered. And this fits in with the simple look. Get a couple classic, small pieces and layer them to look special. I’m just starting to invest in buying jewelry because—let’s be honest—I have enough shoes to last me a lifetime. Now I’m trying to get more into jewelry pieces that mean something and that I know I’m going to have forever. I can invest in it, but I can still wear it every day in a more casual way.
My makeup is usually pretty toned down. I like to pay a lot attention to my skin and eyeliner, but there’s never a colored shadow or colored lip. When I had blonde hair, I really had to pare it down, because if not, I felt like I looked like I was auditioning to be in a music video or something. It was just a little too much. I also think that, for a black girl, it was a process to find the right products for my skin tone and my shade. Now, I think there are so many amazing options, but a few years ago, really the only resource was MAC. Now that there’s so many options available, it’s a little more fun to experiment with makeup. Right now, I actually am mixing two foundation shades, and I got so many compliments on it the other day when I tried it. I think it’s worth the extra time. I mix Dior Star Fluid Foundation in 040 Honey Beige and 050 Dark Beige on my hand and apply it to my face, then I’ll take the darker 050 Dark Beige and blend that into my hairline. I did it the other night, and everybody was like, ‘You look so good!’ And I was like, ‘Do I need to do this now?’ [Laughs]
Then I use a lot of Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Honey. I like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and Diorskin Star Concealer, too, and I don’t knock drugstore. I went to the Essence Music Festival last year with Covergirl and the makeup artist who does Queen Latifah did my face, and it looked so good! Drugstore—holla! No seriously, I really love this Covergirl Queen Collection Nautral Hue Minerals Bronzer in Brown Bronze. I find that there are so many bronzers now that work on all skin tones, so that’s not something that I’ve struggled with. I love this Tom Ford Soleil Collection Large Bronzing Powder, too, partly because of how it looks in someone’s hands. All of the Tom Ford makeup is presented so beautifully. It’s like how when you have good workout clothes, you feel like a better athlete. Same with makeup packaging—you feel like an expert even though that’s not the case.
When I’m going out, I love these Nars Eye Paints for eyeliner, but it’s not really the one I’m using lately. Right now, I use the Tom Ford Noir Absolute For Eyes. I put it on with a slanted brush. It might be more work, but I like how it looks, and I like the feeling I get—dipping the brush in and wetting it just a little bit. The rest of my makeup doesn’t take me that long, so I feel like I can spend a bit more time on my eyeliner.
And for my lips, I just like nude lipsticks. I have a favorite one—it’s in my purse right now. This one is Tom Ford’s Sable Smoke, but Coco Ravish is good too. I like a matte look at night.
I have gotten a lot better with styling my own hair recently. I used to always go to Yusef, who was one of the first friends I ever made in New York, but then he got Rihanna as a client, so he’s unavailable. [Laughs] A black girl’s relationship with her hairstylist is very complicated. We would get into these very strange fights, and I’d be mad at him, but obviously I didn’t want someone else to touch my hair. He would be too busy for me, and I would get very territorial. He’s doing so well and such amazing things. When he is in the city, I will go all the way to his house deep into Brooklyn just so he can do my hair.
But now, I’ve found this young guy after some trial and error—his name is Billy and now he works out of Warren Tricomi. He’s so nice. If I need him for like a TV segment or something, he’ll wake up with no complaints. First thing in the morning, he’ll show up here, so bright and chipper with a coffee for me! He’s one of the nicest, most polite people I’ve ever met. But, he likes to experiment with my hair, and I’m always like ‘No. Just do it like this.’ [Laughs] I like to keep it streamlined. I’ll never be one of those girls that can have bed head or look undone or messy. It just doesn’t work for me, and I accept that fact. I went through a period where I loved my hair stick straight—that Naomi Campbell look from back in the day, Gucci ad, just like long and pin-straight. For the past few years, I have been using extensions if I’m not going to wear my hair naturally curly. It took me a long time for my curls to be juicy. During the summer, I’ll take my extensions out and sometimes do braids, or I’ll just wear my hair in its natural curly state, which takes way more product than when it’s straight.
OK, so when I do it myself, I use a flat iron to do all the waves and curls. I just like how it looks better. It’s a little choppier, but still polished. If I am washing my hair and wearing it curly, I only really trust Hair Rules. I co-wash it during the summer—it’s just washing your hair with conditioner and not shampoo. The Quench Conditioner is really good. And then, when I wear my hair straight, I use a lot of Kérastase. I use the Bain Satin Shampoo and Oléo-Relax Masque as conditioner.
I feel like, with black hair it gets really dry, so I keep these three products in rotation: the Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Duo-Serum, the Kérastase Elixir Ultime, and Warren Tricomi’s argan oil, which I get when I go to the salon. With extensions, these products really protect the style. And because I can’t do dry shampoo, if I’m going out and my hair is too dirty, I’ll just wash the top of my hair in the kitchen sink and blow it out.
This I used to be obsessed with Narciso Rodriguez For Her—then all my friends started wearing it, so I had to quit it. On one hand I want to say, ‘Does it really matter if someone smells like you?’ On the other hand I get the switch. My friends would walk into the house, and I’d think, why do you smell like me? I’ve recently switched to Byredo’s La Tulip during the day and Tom Ford’s Black Orchid exclusively for night. Actually my bottle is in Bermuda right now because I left it there, and I refuse to go and buy another one.”
—as told to ITG
Shiona Turini photographed by Tom Newton in New York on May 6, 2015. Shiona wears pieces from the Possession Collection by Piaget. Read more ITG After Dark here.
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