Meet this month's Of The Moment profile Veronica H. Speck, Luxury Communications Founder of VHS Ventures, Strategic Adviser, Style Maven, and Art Expert (and the list goes on, really!).
We first met Veronica while photographing our April Style Guide at Coconut Grove’s Mr. C (one of the many luxury clients Veronica represents)and were instantly inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit, sharpness, and knowledge on anything and everything (from art galleries to restaurants to luxury fragrances to fashion).
Below, Veronica sat down with us to talk all things of the moment—from reading Charlotte Brontë to her favorite NYC hot spots to the J.McLaughlin styles she plans to wear this summer.
Veronica H. Speck
New York City
“If you want to be happy, be” – Leo Tolstoy
Best Part of Your Job:
I have many favorite parts! However, the best aspect is working with wonderful people and companies on a daily basis. I am very fortunate to surround myself with clients and partners whom I admire and respect. Many of my friends are now clients or vice versa, which is very fulfilling. As they grow and achieve goals, we succeed together.
I am also constantly learning. Working with interior designers, architects, luxury fashion brands, hotels, restaurants, publishers, and even cryptocurrency and blockchain companies is very rewarding for someone who has unlimited depths of curiosity.
Finally, I am able to give back. I work almost exclusively with sustainable brands or companies that donate or partner with non-profits and charities. For instance, AERA is the first luxury shoe brand to be awarded B Corporation status; Marie Laffont donates a portion of every sale to BCRF, and Studio Lél is a Peshawar, Pakistan-based design collective that employs and provides access to education for Afghani refugee artisans and craftsmen.
Tell Us A Little About Where We Photographed You & Galerie Philia:
Galerie Philia is a nomadic collectible design gallery with locations across New York, Geneva, Singapore, and Mexico. Their roster includes emerging and established sculptors and designers including Rick Owens. I met the founder during Salone del Mobile last year in Milano and helped open their “First Times” exhibition in Tribeca during the fall. Their current “Hometown” exhibition in Chelsea features many of my current and former clients including Assouline, Hagit Pincovici, Studio Lél, and Christina Z Antonio.
It is incredible to see the way they transform spaces and create atmospheric exhibitions and unique environments. Their “Transhumances” show during Zona Maco in Mexico City was superb. In addition to the current New York exhibition, Philia has debuted “Héritages” at Le Corbusier’s famed Unité d’Habitation in Marseille. They will also host events during Salone in Milano again next month.
The Best Piece Of Career Advice:
My grandfather was an entrepreneur and began a successful business in the 50s. It is still family-owned and operated by my Uncles. His motto and words of career advice were always the same: “work hard, pray hard, save hard," which I try to abide by.
My mother! I refuse to shop for jewelry and prefer to beg her (along with my grandmother) to let me borrow their vintage pieces. Most of the compliments I receive on my sartorial selections are on their items actually. The women in my family are not exactly wallflowers, so I have inherited chunky gold jewelry, statement belts, blouses with puffed sleeves and blazers in bold colors, and even a pink chiffon former prom dress, which I tailored and wore to a Met Opera gala at Lincoln Center.
My Personal Style:
Pre-pandemic, if I had my way, I would be in a ballgown every day. However, lately, with a frequent travel schedule, I have come to appreciate tailored separates and menswear-inspired pieces including crisp blouses, cigarette pants, cashmere sweaters, and ballet flats.
On the other hand, I attended the recent Latin American Fashion Summit in Miami this spring as my client, Cipriani’s Mr. C Hotel in Coconut Grove, was a partner. I came across incredible emerging Colombian and Brazilian designers, especially those focusing on resort wear and the idea of “barefoot luxury.” I am looking forward to wearing some of the colorful printed kaftans, white linen dresses, and unique bathing suits this summer.
As far as accessories, I am a fan of the timeless classics-- a constant companion is my Cartier tank watch inscribed with a Guillaume Apollinaire quote and a Maison d’ Etto silk scarf tied around my head, neck, wrist, or handbag.
Go to bed angry.
Given Your Affinity For Art, Any Favorite Artists?
Too many! I started my career interning at Christie’s Auction House during Graduate School, followed by The Whitney Museum, and have worked with my collectible and interior design galleries including The Future Perfect and Galerie Philia. I have been fortunate to have a true 360-degree education in the world of contemporary art and design. As far as art, my personal preferences remain in the 19th century; however, design is a bit broader. Regarding furniture and interiors, I will always admire the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) and Art Deco style. Lately, my architecture and design tastes have become increasingly minimal and inspired by mid-century Brazil and natural materials – wood, glass, cream, and green neutral tones. The Villa Necchi Campiglio by Piero Portaluppi in Milano is also a personal favorite for its architecture, design, and artworks.
Must Have Beauty Items:
I am pretty minimal when it comes to beauty and makeup. I love the French way—mascara and a red lip. As far as products, I have some sweet Brazilian friends who always bring me Granado soaps and lotions! They smell delicious and the packaging is beautiful. Assouline actually just came out with a coffee table book about them.
When I Need Inspiration I...
Head to a museum or case-study house, an art or design fair, or read novels, the news, or magazines. When I am traveling, I love to visit the local museums and historic homes for art, architecture, history, and design inspiration. On Sundays, I like to pick up a copy of the Financial Times, especially the How to Spend It magazine.
The Best Piece Of Life Advice I've Ever Received:
I typically call my grandmother or my mother when I need advice. My grandmother loves to finish the conversation with “everything will work out in the end, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end.” It reminds me a bit of the Rainer Maria Rilke quote “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final." I like to live with the idea of amor fati and loving or trusting your fate. I am an eternal optimist and quite positive by nature.
Never Did I Think I Would...
Hike Mount Kilimanjaro, but that is one of the options for my brother’s birthday this year, and I can’t disappoint him!
Too many! Life is short and I would consider myself a bit of a bon vivant. Lately, the torta della nonna at the new Fasano restaurant.
Currently Reading/Watching/Listening To:
If you know me, you know I always have a large, classic novel in my bag. I refuse to acknowledge kindles and sadly don’t have the patience for podcasts or audiobooks. I am currently reading Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I am not much of a TV watcher as my evenings are normally filled with events, but I do love classic and foreign films. That being said, I recently finished Anatomy of a Scandal (mostly for Sienna Miller’s sartorial selections). As far as music, I have been re-living a close friend’s wedding in Rio de Janeiro (including the samba nights and morning runs along the Burle Marxe-designed boardwalk) by listening to Os Orixás by Monobloco. It instantly takes me back…
I have lived in NY for over 10 years now so I have seen many restaurants and institutions come and go, but some eternal favorites include:
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle - Tuck into a cozy leather booth, order a martini, listen to live piano music, and admire Ludwig Bemelmans Madeline illustrations, which cover the walls. Bemelmas painted them in exchange for staying at the hotel. In fact, he lived there for 18 months with his family. Not a bad deal?
Elizabeth Street Garden – A sculpture garden tucked away on Elizabeth Street in Nolita with outdoor yoga, movies, and more. It is adjacent to Elizabeth Street Gallery, and House of Hackney is nestled in the back.
Casa Perfect – The Future Perfect gallery took over a 19th century Italianate townhouse on 8 Saint Luke’s Place. Designed by David Chipperfield, featuring five floors of shoppable collectible design and furniture. By appointment only.
Sant Ambroeus Soho – My morning destination for a coffee and croissant.
Bellini at Harry’s Table – The Cipriani group restaurant recently opened Bellini restaurant uptown at Harry’s Table in the new Waterline Square neighborhood. Designed by Martin Brudnizki. Order the namesake cocktail pre or post-Lincoln Center.
Fasano Hotel and Restaurant – The Brazilian hospitality group recently opened a hotel designed by Thierry Despont in the Upper East Side and a restaurant designed by Isay Weinfeld in the former Four Seasons restaurant in midtown. Order the vitello tonnato and torta della nonna!
Lincoln Center – I look forward to ballet and opera season every year. I also used to work with Chef Daniel Boulud so a trip to Lincoln Center is not complete without a late-night Lyonnaise dinner at Bar Boulud. I especially love the Vik Muniz artworks lining the walls.
My Favorite J.McLaughlin Styles:
Shop Veronica’s Favorite JMcL Looks, Below: