Lorraine’s latest project is the launch of her website www.lorrainedownes.com. The site features information on her styling and image consulting services, plus testimonials from past clients. Not only that, the site features image galleries from Lorraine’s career and information on her work as a brand ambassador. I caught up with Lorraine to hear her thoughts on fashion and beauty, and her excitement at the launch of her newest venture.
1. You’ve been involved in the fashion industry since becoming a model at 18, and I loved looking at the retrospective of photos of your time as Miss Universe, as well as the various modelling shots. Describe your personal style, and how it has evolved over the years.
My personal style is about simplicity. I guess I would call it classic with a bit of an edge. I like structure, no fru fru or layering for me. I love wearing colour especially in block colour with black. Colour is my way of bringing my femininity into my style. Fabric is paramount. I love fabrics that feel beautiful to wear- velvet, silk, chiffon, leather, merino wool – texture is vital. Accessories are my way of personalising my look. Over the years I have learnt that quality lasts and less is more.
2. You’re so beautiful – what is your beauty regime? What is your favourite beauty secret?
I do believe that before you even start on the outside of how you look, you have to spend the time working on your inner self- i.e your physical and emotional wellbeing, because there lies the beginning of how we feel about ourselves and how we are going to look. As far as my beauty regime, it has always been quite simple. Cleanse, moisturise, eye cream, rosehip oil for night, exfoliate once a week with a mask, sun block, drinking lots of water, managing stress, getting a restful sleep, healthy diet, exercise regularly, alcohol and chocolate in moderation! My favourite beauty secret is after I finish my makeup I always reapply my concealer under my eyes which just pops the eyes out and gives my whole make up look a fresh look.
3. You are now working as an image consultant. Do you have any tips you could share with our readers?
The most important factor for anyone is wearing the best colours that suit you personally which will make you look younger and give you that ‘wow’ factor. Fit of clothing is paramount. Nothing looks worse than clothes that are too tight or too big. Go for quality fabrics in your most worn garments and accessories in your wardrobe because they will last. When you are trying anything on, if your instant feeling isn’t “I love it”, don’t buy it. If you are hesitating there is a reason for that! Lastly, as I have worked with many clients over the years, let me tell you, the majority of people don’t just walk into a shop and find that everything fits perfectly, and that doesn’t mean that they have a weird or difficult body shape. The only way to get a perfect fit is to have something made specifically to your body measurements.
4. Who is your favourite New Zealand designer, and why?
For me personally, I love designers that want to make woman look confident, beautiful and sexy. Yvonne Bennetti is one of my favourites as she knows how to do beautiful very well by using gorgeous colours and fabrics while still keeping it elegant. Helen Cherry is another of my personal fave’s. I bought a classic black silk trench coat that I know will be much loved for a very long time.
5. What is your favourite fashion purchase of all time?
An Ashley Fogel black leather silver studded bag and this seasons David Elman black suede ankle boots –they haven’t left my feet!.
6. What has been your biggest fashion mistake?
It would have to be shoes! I have bought a few that do look great but having me wincing by the end of the night, so I haven’t worn them again. Bad buy!
7. What have been the highlights of your career?
My very first year modelling in New Zealand back in 1982-I had a blast! Winning Miss Universe changed my life dramatically. Starting a model and talent agency from scratch and building it up to a successful business. Finally my work as an image consultant is so rewarding because my clients allow me into their wardrobes and share with me who they really are and I think that is a huge privilege to be given that trust. After I finish working with a client and see the change in them and their personal confidence grow, it is a lovely experience to be part of.
8. You have just launched your new website – how has the process of getting the site been for you?
Very very exciting. Your website is a reflection of you and the team that worked with me on my website truly were a pleasure to work with. I feel the result totally reflects who I am. So big thanks to Natalie Wright the web mistress and Michelle Maude from Mint Creative and of course my agent Louise Henderson who put us all together.
FashioNZ has two Methven Shower Infusion kits to give away, courtesy of the lovely Lorraine Downes. These shower infusions have become an essential part of Lorraine's day. Enter here for your chance to win!
Article by Natalie Cosgrove