Covering all things fashion and styling, journalist Pandora Sykes brings flawless vintage-chic and razor sharp wit to every outfit and written word. Based in London, 29 year old Pandora has collaborated on projects with big brands such as Chanel, Liberty London, Free People and Selfridges to name but a few. Colourful, funny and effortlessly cool, we had to open her box of style secrets to discover how she fuels her creative drive…
1. You’re a Journalist, Stylist, Fashion Features Editor and Wardrobe Mistress at The Sunday Times Style - you’re obviously a very creative person! What and/or who inspires you?
Everything from Caroline Sieber’s house (seriously – Google it) to Leandra Medine’s style, to Attico’s silk embroidered gowns. Anything beautiful and unique just grabs my attention and gets me excited. My husband and I just bought a painting, that has this kind of oxodised copper explosion on it, by Danish artist Kristian Kragelund – and I’m currently basing all my interiors and personal style decisions around it.
2. What is it that drives your success?
I have a tremendously strong guilt complex. I feel guilty if I am not working, not stretching myself and if I don’t have something to show from my life. I am driven, essentially, by Catholic Guilt! I’m a classic nerd, Googling everything and anything to learn more.
3. We’re always saying how important personality is in the home, and this definitely applies to fashion, too. What are your top 3 tips for putting together an outfit?
It has to feel like you. Don’t wear it because someone else does; there are tons of awesomely dressed girls who I know better than to copy. Take, German editor Veronika Heilbrunner. She is about 6 inches taller than me, so I know that just because she rocks a babydoll dress with Timberland boots, doesn’t mean that I can.
Secondly, build your outfit. For example, I tend to start around one piece – the trousers, or the blouse, or very often, the shoes – and it becomes easier to mix and match like a puzzle, rather than an over-whelming ‘WHAT THE HELL DO I WEAR’ kind of thing.
Thirdly, the best thing I ever did with my wardrobe was to erect a tiny ‘second rail’ in my spare room where I rotate 15 pieces I currently love, or that are new to my wardrobe. I spy them every morning when I get dressed, and that makes sure I stay creative with my style.
4. How would you describe your home to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
Ever-changing. I am constantly upgrading elements of it! I think it’s probably a bit like my wardrobe – lots of different elements. Bits of shabby chic design merged with Scandi. So, for example, white walls and wooden floorboards and a marble and glass table; but then zingy velvet and marble cushions and a LOT of books and candles. It is, also, very tidy!
5. How does your creativity translate into your decor?
I think of it the same way I do my wardrobe. Does this reflect my life (or, rather, our lives!) Is it practical? Do I enjoy the way the different pieces jostle together?
6. What’s your favourite piece of home ware that you own?
My husband gave me a crab in a bell jar, from an antiques shop on the Golbourne road, which is awesome! I took the bell jar off, once… the smell. Oh god, the smell. My nose shall never recover.
7. We saw that you recently honeymooned in beautiful Central America (congratulations!), do you find a lot of inspiration for your work in travel? We know we do!
Yes, I do, but more subtly. I don’t see a painting of a skull (the very thing we bought from a Nicaraguan art fair, in fact) and think COOL. I want bright skulls all over my home. But the colours, textures and details, most certainly.
Well, you have great taste, so you’d be off to a good start already. I think you love pattern and texture, so something like a beautifully cut kimono jacket in a great fabric, over some slim cut trousers and a luxurious pair of slides. Flat slides, because you’re clearly a busy lady, doing up houses and the such like.
9. What are your top 3 RSG products?
Finally, some quick fire questions!
I’m happiest when I’m: with friends, with a big glass of Miraval rose, wetting my pants laughing, with nowhere else I have to be.
My biggest guilty pleasure is: Massages. Long baths with a book. And, shoes.
My favourite magazine is: Sunday Times Style! Obviously.
If money was no object I would: travel the world buying beautiful pieces of furniture and vintage clothes.
My best skill is: My best practical skill is my ability to touch type. My best non-practical skill is my ability to ride a unicycle, and also I can roll my tummy like a belly dancer.
My personal motto is: Kindness gets you everywhere.
My favourite film is: Love, Actually. I just can’t get enough of Emma Thompson listening to Joni Mitchell. It’s just so human.
In 5 years I’d like to: wouldn’t you like to know! Actually, so would I.