by Linda Viertel
“Helping people with their self-image is what I enjoy,” said Jessie Matrullo, personal styling consultant, vintage clothing purveyor and visionary portrait photographer. She created her company, Bohemian Royalty, as a self-described “full-on image-style salon and portrait studio.” Located in the YoHo Artists building in Yonkers (a former Alexander Smith Carpet Mills historic building), Matrullo’s salon is filled with one-of-a-kind hand selected vintage clothes, props, and jewelry – a true visual feast. So many textures, colors, and wearable art pieces for both men and women greet her customers, it is easy to become immersed in Matrullo’s passion for the extraordinary in fashion.
Her studio, in its fourth year, also serves as a space for styling, portrait photography and intimate photo shoots. There, she encourages her clients to “foster self-growth and discovery…..to take risks and explore parts of themselves that they never knew existed as they develop their own signature styles.” So, whether you are entering her world to purchase high-end vintage clothing, select a “look” for a special event, or have your picture taken in a unique ensemble created to match your individual personality, Matrullo encourages her visitors to “love what they see” in themselves.
While Matrullo’s vintage clothing collection ranges from the 1920’s to the 1990’s, her signature items are mostly vintage couture from the 1980’s and 1990’s. With 75 designers to select from, her customers have ample choices to begin crafting a distinctive wardrobe suited to their old or new sensibility. Her expert advice and flair, plus intimate knowledge of her curated and well-cared-for collection, will help guide her client, often into uncharted territory.
“I also like to work with what people have in their closet,” she added. Many bring their wardrobes to her for culling and ensemble suggestions, or she will visit their homes for a consultation. An interview helps her assess what her clients’ needs might be, as well as giving her an understanding of their openness to new fashion horizons; she helps them extract clothes that “don’t work” and emphasize those that do. She frequently puts outfits together so that they don’t have to think about what to wear; everything is on one hanger, including accessories.
She finds people often say, “I never thought I could wear that color or that piece.” But, they alter their sensibility when they “feel good in it, comfortable in their own skin.” She calls taking a look in the mirror and liking what you see, being a “Revivalist.”
Treating garments as heirlooms and treasuring a wardrobe also makes them last – her salvo against our popular consumer culture. Wearing yesterday’s fashions in hip, new ways, not only celebrates the past and our connection to it, but also limits our environmental footprint moving forward.
Matrullo, a seasoned costume designer for films and videos, was most recently a costume designer and stylist for an independent company specializing in reality TV. As an aside, she noted, “ Most people think that reality TV is real, but it’s not. It’s scripted, in terms of a back story, characters, opposition – there has to be struggle and fighting. They are commedia dell-arte pieces wherein characters interact and dialogue is actually created.”
So, why is the new Sleepy Hollow resident’s company called Bohemian Royalty? “I adopted the title ‘Bohemian Royalty’ because once I was accused of being just that,” she explained. “I thought about the literal meaning, the abstract, esoteric, even humorous concept of myself being a royal bohemian, and it stuck!”