When it comes to fashion industry veterans, it doesn't get much more major than Kate Betts. The TIME Magazine contributor and former Harpers Bazaar editor-in-chief has helped shape style reporting everywhere from Vogue to Women's Wear Daily. Betts, the youngest editor to ever take over a fashion magazine, was also the subject of a Lifetime documentary, Putting Baby to Bed: Wife, Mother, and Editor in Chief. This consummate tastemaker recently published a book, Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, dedicated to the influence, sartorial and otherwise, of the First Lady. Today, she shares her most precious possession with MRKstyle, a necklace she has owned for 29 years.
Tell us how you came to own this precious object:
My father gave me this necklace when I was 18. I love the totemic nature of jewelry, particularly the jewelry of designers like Elsa Peretti.
How do you live with your heirloom?
I've worn it everyday for the past 29 years. Sometimes I think maybe I should change it up, maybe it's too young for me now. But then I miss it when I take it off. It's become a part of me!
Who in your life has most influenced your personal style and taste?
My mother. She had great taste and a curiosity about people and places that shaped her taste. I think endless curiosity is a great gift—not to mention a sign of intelligence.
[Fill in the blank] Whenever I look at___________, I can’t help but smile.
Whenever I look at my kids I can't help but smile. I'm incredibly proud of them.
What’s the best part of your day? I love the early morning in my house, before anyone else is up. That's about the only time of day I can really think straight! Before the chaos begins.
What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
Two gifts, one from my mother, one from my father. Neither gift was material, both were pieces of advice given to me at critical moments in my life. Both pieces of advice changed my path in life in very distinct ways. But in both cases my parents were quite subtle about the way they guided me. They weren't forcing me to do something, just advising me. That is the greatest gift you can give anyone, especially a child.
What was your last purchase that you believe will mean something to you 10 years from now?
A toaster. I am not kidding. We just got a new one, it took five days to get here. You would be surprised how reliant you can become on a toaster! We had our last one for 12 years. Hopefully this one will last that long too.
Session Notes: Kate Betts is the real deal: intelligent, witty, strong and beautiful. A lioness came into my head, so I shot her from above with her hair flying in all directions. I hope you like the results as much as I do. -Monica