Robert William Edison Bell-Spotlight


With a career spanning over 30 years, Robert William Edison Bell has gained the reputation for being one of the greatest stylists South Africa has ever seen. Robert has worked both locally and internationally. Neofundi had the opportunity of getting to know him a little better.

Tell us about your work in the fashion world?
I have been working in this industry for 30yrs, in magazines, television and advertising. My interest into the world of fashion started when I was 16, and I started modelling with Leigh Downing Model Agency in Durban. I then moved to Johannesburg and began working for Tin Pan Alley, a chain of the trendiest boutiques in the 80's, which taught me a lot about international Designer labels, trends and retail. A friend of mine who was an art buyer in an advertising agency, asked me to come along one day and see how a fashion TV commercial which they were shooting was done.
I agreed, and having spent the day helping the stylist, I knew that this was the career I wanted to do.
My first jobs were in advertising, music videos, film and television, before meeting Lucille Booyzen, who I worked with for 13yrs, styling and co-ordinating fashion shows and events both locally and internationally.
I then moved on to work in magazines, and started on Playboy SA- Fashion Editor; True- Love - Fashion Director; Marie Claire - Senior Fashion Editor; Style - Fashion Editor; Cleo SA - Fashion Director; Woman & Home SA - Style Director.
I resigned from Woman & Home 7 months ago, to be able to free-lance again, and work more internationally.

What was a highlight for you as the style director for Woman and Home SA?
Besides travelling to beautiful exotic locations to shoot fashion editorials, I was successful in giving the fashion pages wonderful style and elegance.

Best memory for you being Senior Fashion Editor for Marie Claire SA?
Having been able to travel to Paris and attend the shows, meet incredibly talented people and attend the most fabulous parties.

Best part of being involved in fashion shows?
When I have been able to succeed in styling and co-ordinating every garment from head to toe, and still being able to allow each their complete individuality.

Favourite local designers?
Clive Rundle and Suzaan Heyns

Which international celebrity would you love to dress?
Angelina Jolie - she epitomizes style and femininity

If you weren’t a talented stylist what would you be doing?

What are your passions?
Fashion, Interiors, Art and Travelling.

Your top 5 fashion brands:
Dolce & Gabbana
Louis Vuitton

5 styling tips for women?
Invest in good underwear.
Buy quality shoes, bags and accessories.
Always have a LBD in your wardrobe.
Less is more.
The older you get, the more important it is to invest in quality clothing, even though it comes with a higher price tag, you cannot match the fit or cut.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living in Italy. I want to buy an apartment very soon in Venice, and hopefully in the near future a big old villa in Tuscany which I could renovate and restore.

Best in Jhb for:
Coffee: The Coffee Rotisserie - 4th Ave Parkhurst
Drinks: Polo Lounge - Westcliff Hotel
Pasta: Tortellino D’Oro - Oaklands
Sushi: Willoughby & Co - Hyde Park
Breakfast: tashas – Athol

Dior or Prada?
BOTH - they are completely different from each other, and are both unique.

New York or Paris?

Best in Paris for:
Coffee: Custom Cafe' - 47 Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris, metro St. Francis Xavier
Drinks: The Pin Up - 27 Avenue Jean Moulin, Paris 14th
Pasta:The Head in the olives - 2 rue Sainte Marthe, Paris 10th, Metro Goncourt
Sushi :Toyo - 17 rue Jules - Chaplain, 75006 Paris
Brunch: Eggs & Co - 11 rue de Bernard Palissy, 75006 Paris, Metro Saint-Germain des Pres'

Favourite music?
My taste in music is incredibly diverse, I like everything from classical, rock, disco to house and lounge.

Best book and best movie?
Best Book: Helmut Newton- Polaroid’s.
Best Movie: The Eyes of Laura Mars - starring Faye Dunaway.

Give us the recipe for your favourite cocktail:
My favourite Cocktail recipe is tarte Tatin - Cocktail recipe tarte Tatin for 4:
16 cl vodka
4 cl caramel syrup
16 cl of apple juice
Mix everything and add ice cubes .
It's ready! © Bruce Shippee -

5 things on your gratitude list:
1. Having had the most incredible parents, brothers and sisters, and family where individuality is respected and encouraged.
2. Always being surrounded by people who are creative and entrepreneurial
3. My own creativity and talent
4. I have been able to travel and experience places which very few get the opportunity to do
5. Friends

Favourite quote:
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

Robert's website

Views: 496

Comment by Socratis Avgitidis on October 21, 2011 at 8:24
Having worked with you in the past, I can truly say you are a legend.
Comment by Beth Seagal on October 21, 2011 at 8:27

Inspired!  Now for a tarte Tatin, which sounds stunning.

Comment by alexandra avgitidis on October 21, 2011 at 12:20
Not only is Robert brilliant,he is honest and humble.
Comment by Dimitri Martinis on October 22, 2011 at 9:16
Loved the Jobs quote about living your own life ... And definitely ready for one if those cocktails ... Wonder how it will taste if you use caramel vodka?

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