Ask Julia von Boehm what motherhood has taught her and her answer is simple: “everything”. “Since I became a mother, life has a real purpose. My two girls are the best thing that has happened to me in my life so far,” she says...
A mother of two girls – Josephine and Elizabeth – von Boehm is one of New York’s most renowned fashion stylists. She’s worked for magazines such as VOGUE and Harper’s BAZAAR as well as brands such as H&M and Jimmy Choo. It was when she was styling a Jimmy Choo campaign that she met actor Nicole Kidman. Kidman later called von Boehm and asked if she’d style her. “When she called me to ask me if I could style her, I felt very special. She is incredible to work for,” says von Boehm.
The stylist grew up in the small town of Hindenburg in Germany. “I knew at the age of six that I wanted to move to Paris and study fashion design. My goal was to learn French as fast as possible,” she says. When she was 18, she attended her high-school prom wearing a dress she’d made herself from plastic mosquito netting. Von Boehm got her big break in fashion when she was just 19 years old – the then-editor of French VOGUE Carine Roitfeld gave her a job. She was Roitfeld’s assistant for four years. It was a life defining moment and Roitfeld is now the godmother to her youngest daughter Elizabeth.
As a mother, von Boehm says she’s even more driven now than she was in her younger years. “I want my girls to be proud of their mom. On the other hand, I have become much more strict with defending my weekends and holidays as I have a purpose to keep them free. Before the kids, I did not even know what day of the week it was – I was always working.” We visited the beautiful mama in her Gramercy Park home to chat motherhood, career and style tips.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, sensible and energetic.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To relax from time to time, to rush less and enjoy life more.
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood?
The toughest part is to be strict and stick to rules! As a mother you love your children so much that you would like to give them everything at anytime. This is wrong and teaches them the wrong approach to life. Kids do need rules in their life. It makes them feel secure.
What’s the best style advice you’ve ever been given?
To trust my instinct (I gave that one to myself).
Do you divide your wardrobe into looks for when you’re with your kids and looks for when you’re without your children?
I probably dress more comfortably when I am with the kids. I do not want to be restricted and want to be able to roll around on the floor. I still choose my looks carefully though, that comes naturally to me and I can’t help it.
What’s your approach to health and wellbeing?
I do eat very healthy and so do my kids. They die for green juice believe it or not and their favorite vegetable is kale. Some friends of mine are shocked when we go to restaurants what my kids choose. Now and then I permit them a little treat as life has to be fun as well. I never exercise, which is bad, but my job and motherhood are quite physical and I feel ok without any exercise.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
That it is possible to have a career and be a good mom!
How would you describe your interior style?
I like to surround myself with lots of wood. My apartment at Gramercy Park looks more like a country house than an urban interior. I like to bring warmth to the city.
How do you keep your house tidy with children?
By constantly cleaning up. I am a maniac and sometimes wish I could relax for a minute and let go but I can’t – my eyes hurt when they see disorder.
What have been some of your biggest career highlights?
I recently styled the entire issue of Italian vogue with the MASTER Peter lindbergh. It was so much work, but so worth it. He is a living legend and the issue is a collector’s issue with his timeless images! I am also very proud to style Nicole Kidman.
How do you juggle motherhood with work – what are your time management tips?
I do have a fulltime nanny, which helps a lot. She helps me in the morning to get the girls ready for school and then I usually try to drop them off myself and then I rush to a shoot or my office. I try to be as efficient as possible so I can then spend some time with the kids after school if I am not on a shoot or traveling. I put them to bed and then sometimes once they are asleep, I have to go back to my laptop to finish off the days work. I try to organize my work schedule around the kids’ free time as much as I can. When I am with the girls I try to stay away from my phone and concentrate on their needs. I then catch up on emails when they are in bed.
What kind of role model do you want to be for your children?
I would like to show my girls that a woman can do both; career and motherhood. I would like to show them that work is fun and I hope they will find a job later that they enjoy as much as I enjoy mine.
What do you recall most about your time spent working for Carine Roitfeld?
The late nights and the stress when preparing shoots. I also recall having learned from the best and the passion for styling! Carine was an extraordinary boss and friend. She is now the godmother to my youngest daughter Elizabeth. I guess that says it all!
What’s it like working with Nicole Kidman?
She is an incredible person with a huge heart and impeccable taste. She is extremely elegant and fits the runway clothes like a glove. She is also a loving mother and has become a friend!
What do you want to teach your children about self-love?
I want them to grow up as self-confident individuals! I want them to be proud of their strength and conscious of their weaknesses but embrace them as well.
Can you name three Instagram accounts we should follow now…
@derekblasberg, @cigarettesandblackcoffee, @juliavonboehm
What is your favourite place in New York to go with your daughters?
Central park followed by RELAIS DE VENISE.
Typical breakfast: Coffee
On your bedside table you’ll find: Coffee, German kids’ books.
Exercise of choice: None
Book you’re currently reading: D.V. by Diana Vreeland
Heels or flats: Flats for a year.
Baby bag: Marc Jacobs and Bonpoint.
Sunglasses: Tom Ford and Celine.
Dream travel destination: Harbour Island.
Websites you regularly visit: Net-A-Porter and Smallable.