What is your favorite AK item and why?
I'm in love with the 'Stephanie'. A cross body bag is essential in the city - I have to have my hands free. And then it's a clutch too - genius. The alligator coveredHavaianas are on my wish list. So simple and yet perfect.
What are your top 10 latest obsessions and what can you not live without and why?
in no particular order...
Carnal Flower perfume by Frederic Malle
Comme des Garcon drop crotch pants
I probably have 6 pairs and have worn them for years. People do NOT understand them, but I love them. They are the beginning of almost every outfit.
The Pixie, it's like a piece of jewelry on my kitchen counter. The coffee is fantastic (Capriccio is my personal favorite) and there is a recycling program where they give you a prepaid bag to send back the spent pods.
This piece is one of my all time favorites. It looks modern and soulfully organic at the same time. I feel instantly chic when I put it on.
Forza - my workout
In New York, I am lucky to workout with legendary trainer Ilaria Montagnani. She has a suite of classes that I try not to miss, but my favorite is Forza. It's a martial arts based sword class where losing focus can actually be dangerous. It's mental as much as physical. Afterwards, I always think, 'I can't believe I just did that'.
Baggu reusable bags
I carry two at all times and have used them constantly for six years.
They taste like the real thing! Whole Foods frozen section.
I don't know how they are doing it, but I look instantly better when I put them on and I don't even like jeans. I have black and dark indigo - love.
I've had two - Jake, the dog of a lifetime and Archie, the sweet red merle I have now - both adopted as adult dogs. I adore the breed.
I'm one of those people.
Who or what inspires you and why?
I love people who are the best at what they do. It can be virtually anything, but they make it seem effortless. I love the dedication and passionate attention to detail. I learn when I'm around them.
Where is your favorite place you have travelled to?
I took a trip to Rome with my mom and some friends years ago for Christmas. It's a magical place to be that time of year. We rented an apartment at the bottom of the Spanish Steps and lived like we were locals.
Best advice you have ever received?
Keep it simple.
Personal Mantra or quote you tote around with you?
He who seeks beauty will find it.
What are your beauty essentials?
Right now I'm using Biologique Recherche.
My makeup starts with Perricone No Foundation Foundation.
I use a lot of Bobbi Brown products because they stay put. I'm not someone who is doing touchups throughout the day.
Lip Fusion lip gloss.
What was your first camera?
I started with a Canon AE-1 when I was in sixth grade. I shot on AUTO for quite a while, as I remember....
What camera do you use now?
What is the most memorable shoot you have had?
I've had some funny ones. One that comes to mind was a suggestion by the mom to shoot inside the Butterfly Museum. Sounded like poetry. And the girls were excited. But when we got there, the girls were terrified of the butterflies landing on them and were hunching up their shoulders and squishing up their faces. Time to move to Plan B.
What are a few tips and trade secrets you could share with a novice photographer?
The secret is to meter, but that can be intimidating so I would say don't shoot in the middle of the day if possible. Direct sun is a killer. The colors are washed out and everyone is squinting. If you have to shoot midday, look for shade.
Who are your favorite photographers?
Sally Mann's work with her family was a huge inspiration for me. It is still some of my favorite work ever. So intimate and beautifully strange.
And I adore Bill Cunningham for his devotion to street fashion photography and his intension of always wanting people to look their best.
I've learned a lot from studying all four.
What's your guilty pleasure?
A movie in the middle of the day.
What is on your nightstand?
Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe by Philip Gefter
Braun BATTERY POWERED alarm clock
I've had a few power outages in my life.
Who is Rachel Hudgins and why do we love her?
Rachel is one of those girls that when you start to play the name game you don't understand how you have not met earlier in life. Friends from NYC and Houston were all telling me that I needed to meet her, but I have to be honest...as a photography major, I love taking pictures of my kids and worked with Irving Penn for years so why did I need a photographer? Never have hired one...the thought of being "in front" of the camera was terrifying!
A very generous family gifted us a sitting with Rachel. It was right after my first round of chemo and the thought was to have some wonderful family images of me with hair before it fell out. I was immediately put at ease with Rachel's calm and cool demeanor and her style of shooting is amazing. She is more of a witness to your life, capturing those special moments that happen and resulting in a beautiful keepsake and memory of life. The light is natural and beautiful and she works so well with children which is a plus. Once I received our prints I was blown away of the beauty she had captured of my family. She is exactly the same way in life - a beautiful, natural person who captures life through her lens.
Rachel grew up in Houston, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She lived and worked in Los Angeles before making the transition to New York seven years ago. It is between these three states (Texas, California and New York) that the majority of her clients live, but she is also lucky enough to go on family vacations/excursions deemed worthy of photographing.
To get in touch you can visit her website, or email her directly right here. Rachel works on referral so be sure to mention Style File and don't forget to ask to be added on her mailing list so that you can receive advanced notice of when she will be out on location.