When It’s Time For A New Look

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - October 26, 2005
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The fashion savvy Gilian Armour uses a red scarf to analyze the skin tone of Christine Yang
The fashion savvy Gilian Armour uses a red scarf to
analyze the skin tone of Christine Yang

Gillian Armour’s downtown studio is a place where transformation begins as clients seek her help with improving their look.

Her work as an image consultant and her love of fashion could date as far back as dressing up from the back of her mom’s closet as a child.

“I teach, I don’t lecture,” explains Armour, who stands 6’2” without heels. “It’s a very fine line to walk between teaching people and critiquing them.”

Armour says that some of her customers have had a life change and that’s why they want her services. Some patrons may have gotten a promotion or they want to get promoted. Some people lost weight, and now they need a new wardrobe.

“First impressions are lasting,” adds Armour. “Clothing can be a powerful tool, and in that case, your clothing practically screams.”

The Roosevelt grad says the most rewarding result is when clients say, “I didn’t want to wear this, but when I did I got so many compliments.”

Armour first asks her customers to explore why they feel they need her services, and then they do a personality analysis.

The second step in the process is to identify what body type clients have, using measurements. The numbers are put into the computer and a fashion bible is generated that tells clients exactly which clothing lines work best and what colors are good.

Then Armour encourages clients to define their own style by asking them what image are they now and what visual image they would like to have.

Based on the client’s personal fashion bible, her customers go shopping on their own. One hour later, Armour gives them guidance on the items they chose. The entire process takes about five hours and is done in three sessions with before and after photographs.

“It can be a life-changing experience,” says Armour. “If you’ve got increased confidence, then people will give you a feedback from that energy. Having that good appearance is a Catch-22 with confidence and feedback.”

She can also do 800 different hairstyles and makeup looks on the computer. She does grooming classes for men and women. With strategic partners, she can recommend hairstylists and vocal coaches. She also plans to bring her fashion sense to Oahu high schools by talking about body image.

“If you have an image consultant, you have one for life,” Armour tells her clients. She sends them an e-newsletter, The Fashion Journal, that she writes herself quarterly. And she has an fashion emergency hotline which clients take full advantage of. She also does follow up seminars.

Armour, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, was a buyer for I.Magnin, and a fashions manager in London at Dickens and Jones, where she started their first personal shopper program. She also worked as a global production manager for Jessica McClintock in California. In 2001, she ran in the Honolulu Marathon. It was then that she and her husband Philip decided to buy the gallery and garden in Kahaluu started by Richard Hart and Hiroshi Tagami. Now they own the Armour Gallery and Gardens. Her paintings and jewelry design are displayed there along with 25 local artists. Philip maintains a day job with the e-Vehicle shop in Kakaako.

“For the first time in my life, I’m not working for someone else,” says Armour. “I gave myself permission and I’ve had to overcome my internal feelings, and anxiety.”

She credits her husband for his support as she just celebrated her first year in business this month.

“I love what I do,” says Armour.

Gillian Armour Image Consultant is located at 125 Merchant St., Suite 103. For more information, call 533-3561 or log onto www.gillianarmour.com.

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