The Eclectic Style of Leslie Gelber


After following fashionistas from afar on Instagram for a long time, we had a shock recently to find out that fashion blogger, Leslie Gelber actually knew about us! We decided to reach out to say hello and find out more about her. Here is our interview with fiber artist, IG fashionista and blogger Leslie Gelber. Enjoy!

leslie-gelber-advanced_style-easter-parade-Denton-TaylorAt Easter Parade 2018. Photo by Denton Taylor

Escama: Hi Leslie, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. A few weeks ago, you were in the Easter Parade in New York at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Your photos on Instagram were great. Question: What's the feeling of the crowd at the Easter Parade? Everyone looks so stylish, well turned out, colorful, and happy. Does it feel that way when you're there? 

Leslie: Thank you Andy. This was my first Easter Parade. The energy was wonderful. An event for people to express themselves through adornment, from everyday wear, to full-on costume. The really fun part was meeting people who were visiting, and not necessarily dressed up, and their questions to us who were dressed up. We made them happy. It was a live performance of sorts.

alt="leslie gelber photo by denton taylor - escama studio"

Photo by Denton Taylor

All the photos I posted on IG for the Easter Parade were taken by street photographer Denton Taylor. He encouraged me to embrace Instagram posting a few years ago. It has changed my life, in a great way. I never thought I could be comfortable being photographed. It has become so much fun. Taylor makes it so comfortable and easy to relax for these shoots.

alt="leslie gelber advanced style photo by denton taylor - escama studio"

Photo by Denton Taylor

Escama: For someone who likes to dress up, is the Easter Parade the biggest event of the year or are there other parties throughout the year in NYC where the fashionistas can really show their stuff?

Leslie: If you mean by biggest, it does have the largest crowd that I have experienced for dressing-up/costume. Fifth avenue is closed to vehicles for several blocks. People from all over the world attend. So just that empty space for people to meander is a luxury in NYC.  
alt="leslie gelber by denton taylor - escama studio"
Photo by Denton Taylor
But there are many events I attend throughout the year where I can dress up and express myself through my creations.  Opportunities to show our stuff are limitless. A recent party I attended was called the Bonnet Bash. Hosted by the National Arts Organization. The theme this year was Neverland, and all things Peter Pan. My first time wearing a cocktail hat! I've found my tribe, so to speak, in NYC. 
Photo by Denton Taylor

Escama: You mentioned that you got an Escama bolero from a trunk show hosted by Debra Rappaport, one of the ladies in Ari Seth Cohen's movie Advanced Style. Question: Do you guys all hang out? It seems like among the Advanced Style gang there's a real sense of camaraderie of like-minded ladies who enjoy looking good.

alt="leslie gelber street style - escama studio"

Photo by Denton Taylor

Leslie: Yes, the Escama bolero was my introduction to you! During a gathering that Debra Rapoport and Harrice Miller organized, I saw someone hang it on a rack, or at least she tried. I grabbed it as if my life was on the line if I didn't try it on. I'd never seen anything like this. Wow, it fit like a dream, and I could see styling it in so many ways. 

alt="leslie gelber wearing upcycled soda pop tab bolero - escama studio"Photo by Denton Taylor
We creative-types do tend to hang out together a lot. There is always something exciting going on, to keep us inspired. For me, it is not necessarily about Advanced Style. There are so many ages in the mix. Which is my style, all ages, makes it invigorating. To see what the youngsters are doing is amazing. Gives me hope for our future.

alt="leslie gelber wearing upcycled soda pop top bolero - escama studio"Photo by Denton Taylor
Escama: You're very active on Instagram and you mentioned that you used to write a blog. As anybody who has ever written a blog will tell you, it's a hard task master and it's not necessarily fun keeping up. Question: What's it like to change into the new medium of Instagram and step away from your old form of blogging?

Leslie: I have had a lot of experience with blogs and websites. It was beginning to take up so much time, there was little time left for me to create.  And I had retired, I wasn't running my textile conference or teaching anymore. So when I discovered the ease of Instagram, and to be able to still share what I do in seconds, and meet new people, I was excited. 

alt="leslie gelber wearing upcycled soda pop tab bolero - escama studio"Photo by Denton Taylor
Escama: How do you put together your looks, how often do you shoot new styles and how do you collaborate? Is it with friends, stylists and photographers?


Leslie: Well, I guess a lot of my time now is putting together each 'look'. It is a huge part of the creative process. The 'looks' are my own. I usually begin with one favorite piece. Like the Escama bolero. My mind starts twirling with ideas. I might find an existing piece in my closet that works, a dress, skirt, top or pants. I take off from there. And shoes, oh the shoes, they are so very important. Head to toe. It all has to come together. Which sometimes takes weeks or even months. I will, for instance, keep the bolero in mind when I'm fabric or trim shopping. I collect as I go. Right now I'm gathering supplies to make a fascinator (cocktail type) hat that will compliment the Escama bolero. I like to put a twist to the finished ensemble. I try not to get too matchy-matchy. It's nice to have a little surprise element. People always comment 'how did you think to put that together?" Again, it is part of my creative process. It's a thrill to pull the finished look together. It's like playing dress-up for me. Which I have been doing for over 60 years!

Photo by Denton Taylor

I have a photography shoot about once a week. Sometimes more. Just depends on what is going on at the time.

I keep busy with the wonderful friends I have made, attending theater, museums, galleries, creative workshops, and simply dressing up for events. There is never a dull moment in NYC. I usually spend my time in California sewing the new pieces I will wear for soirée's and events when I am in NYC! Although I have set up a tiny area for sewing if I get the urge when I'm in NYC. 


Escama: Thanks Leslie, it's great to know more about you.

Leslie: Thank you Andy for inviting me to chat with you.

You can follow Leslie Gelber on Instagram!

Connect with fashion photographer Denton Taylor on Instagram!

Check out more Advanced Style on Instagram!

1 comment

  • cordy sander

    Leslie was always wonderful!

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