Interview by guest contributor Jennifer Irizarry
Petra Barkhof—the polyvalent stylist, author, and Deputy Editor of kid’s wear magazine—is no stranger the to the Junior Style London blog; her inspiring work for magazines like Style Piccoli and Collezioni Bambini as well as high-end campaigns for the likes of Fendi and Marcelo Burlon have all been featured in these pages. If you’re unfamiliar with Barkhof’s work, you’re really in for a treat. Her creative energy speaks for itself—look no further than her uncanny tributes to Anna Piaggi, Jimi Hendrix, or Iris Apfel to see proof of a nearly preternatural ability to channel the style mojo of her muses. So without further ado, we invite you to get to know Petra Barkhof.
JI: I’m always very interested in the self-care rituals of busy working women. How do you stay balanced, healthy and fresh to conquer the day?
PB: Hmm… to be honest, I think my life could be much healthier and more balanced. I would like to do yoga. I love meditation, swimming and dry brushing. I started all that enthusiastically—but after a week I gave up.
But after an inspiring Ayurvedic holiday in Sri Lanka, I started to drink a huge glass of warm water for breakfast. To add extra excitement, I add freshly squeezed lemon juice and after the shower, I use a special body oil, Bush Essentials, made out of a mix of different oils. It’s all natural and an alternative to perfume. I order it from Australia. Before I go to bed, I use Lavender crème and 31 Herbal Oil. That’s it. I’m a night owl, sitting at the computer and working and reading till late, so my night routine must be simple.
JI: I’m going to let my stereotypes of Italian matriarchs ask this next question—feel free to defy it—but as an Italian mother and grandmother, is there a dish or two that you are famous for making well in your family?
PB: Jennifer, I’m German! But the truth is, I don’t even know exactly what I am. My German girlfriends says that I’m looking Italian, behaving Italian, and speaking with my hands and in Germany I feel a little bit like a stranger. Once a friend said that I’m a “crucca Siciliana” (crucca means germans in a not nice way), a German from Sicily, because I’m late to everything. I feel very much at home in Italy.
I love eating, but I hate cooking and one can tell by the outcome. However, my Italian husband is an excellent cook, he’s originally from Apulio. Franco does magic in the kitchen! If I think the fridge is empty and have no clue what to cook – Franco will mill around in the kitchen and about half an hour later, there is the most incredible dish on the table… I think Italians do marvellous things with few vegetables and a bit of Olive oil. My big success is my German cheesecake and Kartoffelsalat—German potato salad.
JI: What are the last three books you read? Or films? How about both?
PB: My husband is a musician and my son also sings, so there is always loads of music. At the moment I love Ed Sheeran. I only have time and peace to read books during the summer holidays but I read and read and read and read on my computer. I love to discover new things and I love research…click click click… it’s fabulous! I’m a fan of TV series, my favourites are Stranger Things, The Crown and Breaking Bad and I love all films of Wes Anderson. I take a lot of inspirations from his films for my fashion shootings.
JI: How would you describe the interior style of your own home? Is there a favourite piece of furniture or another item that brings you the most joy?
PB: Eclectic… My apartment is a typical Sagittarius home, full of travel souvenirs and some sacred or religious items. It is not too stylish but very personal, colourful and extremely cosy.
JI: In a scene from of one of my favourite movies, Amélie, a friend of Amélie uses proverbs to test the character of a potential suitor. Do you have a favourite proverb of your own to live by?
PB: Don’t be afraid to be different (Paolo Coelho). And if you are a sheep – at least be a blue or a green or a purple one.
JI: They say you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I think you can tell a lot about a woman by what’s in her purse. So—what shoes are you wearing and what’s in your purse?
PB: Very comfortable leather ankle boots and Birkenstocks. In my purse, there is an i-phone and charger, lipstick, wallet, keys, tissues, a Montblanc pen, sunglasses and a little notebook.
View Petra’s latest work for Style Piccoli on the Junior Style Blog, Fedez vs Pharrell, highlighting their very eccentric dress styles.
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Images courtesy of Petra Barkhof