“Jean Shafiroff: As You’ve Never Seen Her Before!”

Jean Shafiroff attends the NYBG 2019 Conservatory Ball
Photo by Angela Pham/BFA

Jean Shafiroff is an American philanthropist, author, advocate, and socialite. She serves on multiple national and regional philanthropic boards and acts as the ambassador and spokesperson for American Humane Feed the Hungry. Jean also produces and hosts the television show “Successful Philanthropy” on LTV.

In Pre-COVID times, Jean was out almost every night of the week attending cocktail parties, dinners, and charity galas. Her signature look remains irrefutable and self-defining. However, Jean is far more than her curvaceous cocktail dresses and museum-worthy ball gowns. I have always wanted to dress Jean in a counter-intuitive way and I finally got my chance. The following photographs are taken by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline.

Jean and Martin Shafiroff divide their time between homes in Southampton and the Upper East Side. Their beautifully appointed Park Avenue apartment was the perfect venue for the photoshoot. Each room has its distinct look and is in harmony with the clothing I selected; an eclectic mix of old and new, high and low, classic and edgy, day and evening.

JP Ramirez doing makeup on Jean
Photo: Ernest Schmatolla

Hair and makeup are crucial for any physical transformation. John Edington of Angelo David Salon expertly did Jean’s hair, and JP Ramirez skillfully created the makeup. Because Jean is so feminine and always wears dresses, I wanted to play against type with some androgynous looks.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

Nothing is more iconic than the tuxedo. The one pictured here is by Zara. The jacket is $89.90, and the pants are $49.95. They are available at select stores and on the Zara website. Jean wears her own Michael Kors Collection black satin pumps with diamante bow.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

I styled Jean with my own Polo Ralph Lauren white cotton shirt, vintage tie, and cummerbund. I accessorized with my statement-making vintage Butler & Wilson diamante lizard pin. The white shirt stands out on its own. By merely changing the wig and removing the jacket, Jean looks like a completely different person.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

What is more classic or timeless than Chanel? In this picture, Jean is wearing her own vintage Chanel jacket paired with the Zara tuxedo trousers. I purchased the black velvet top with ivory satin collar and cuffs at Barneys New York decades ago. I used my vintage Chanel earrings and Chanel gold chain belt, adding a Kentshire necklace and faux pearls from my collection. There is an alluring tomboyishness associated with Coco Chanel and her designs. Standing next to her French desk, I think Jean channels Coco perfectly.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

A black turtleneck and white jeans are genderless year-round wardrobe staples. The ones pictured here are by Zara and The Gap, respectively. They are a perfect base for the indispensable black leather biker jacket. I love how my Club Monaco “Davie” jacket, purchased seven years ago, toughens Jean up and gives her a rock ‘n’ roll edge. It reminds me of Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. I accessorized with vintage black and white FootJoy oxfords, also from my collection.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

Using the same white jeans and black turtleneck, I continue with the androgynous, black and white theme. I add my own sharp shouldered Miller Dickey Jacket by Veronica Beard and a black and white crossbody bag from Michael Kors. The black Nappa Lamb “Mona Lisa” Bucket hat is from the Kokin fall collection. It sells for $495 and is available at bergdorfgoodman.com.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

I was drawn to Bibhu Mohapatra’s chartreuse pebbled silk canvas tulip dress because of its stunning color, fabrication, and extraordinary shape. This $3900 dress is from Bibhu’s spring 2021 ready-to-wear collection, which emphasizes informal evening wear. It will be available at bibhu.com. I accessorize with Jean’s Chanel cap-toe ballet flats and an armload of Dinosaur Designs‘ green resin bracelets, .

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

Omar Salam’s orange silk organza, silk chiffon, and rasp mesh “Butterfly” blouse, $1150, and Japanese neoprene “Delta” skirt, $1235, are standouts in his Sukeina spring 2021 ready-to-wear collection. Both are available for pre-order at sukeina.co. I think they look sensational on Jean, who wears her own Christian Louboutin t-strap heels. The orange wig and Jean’s red-walled library heighten the dramatic effect.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

I love how Yeohlee’s architectural cape looks against the backdrop of Jean’s formal gallery. Made of a heavy water repellent textile that is black on the outside and white on the inside, the cape is one size fits all and is roomy enough to fit over anything. It sells for $1295 and is available for purchase at yeohlee.com. Jean wears her own black patent leather Prada boots.

Photo by Michael Paniccia for Lookonline

In this picture, Jean is standing next to her fireplace wearing Victor dE Souza’s $4500 antique tropical silk print backless gown with hand-embroidered lace detail and $1550 white silk organza embroidered blouse. Both are from Victor’s spring 2021 ready-to-wear collection and are available for pre-order on victordesouzany.com, Jean’s vintage red parasol conjures up images of Mary Poppins and adds a touch of whimsy.

Jean is no stranger to Victor dE Souza’s couture designs. She is a loyal customer, and the two have collaborated on many of Jean’s glamour making gowns. Suffice it to say, I’ve never seen Jean look quite like this.

Many things have changed. What has remained the same is fashion’s ability to transform and tap into our many different sides.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. I like her style so much more when she’s not wearing those gowns. You did great!

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