Terry Gibralter

Location: New York, NY
Age: Over 50
Marital Status: Married
Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Wellesley

“I was embarrassed about getting married because I’d always said I’d wait until my 30s. That’s how we talked then–we weren’t going to be like our mothers, you know? But Robert and I just fell in love.” Thirty years later, the two have one son and are still crazy about each other, and share a life filled with love, art, and travel.

Terry graduated Wellesley with an anthropology degree and snagged a job at Grey advertising, where she worked on fashion and beauty accounts. When Robert was transferred abroad, the family lived as expats in France, then Singapore. In Paris, Terry finally found her heart’s home, connecting instantly with the city’s aesthetic, spirit and style. There she started a business called Shop Paris where she took Americans on shopping forays off the beaten track.  After four years in Paris, the family moved to Singapore where Terry became a stylist for Singapore Elle.

When it was time to return to the States, close friend and former colleague Alice Ericsson asked Terry to rejoin corporate America, but the idea of resurrecting her agency career after a 15-year hiatus had her “really shaking in my boots,” she recalls. “A lot had happened in 15 years.”

But her friend was unrelenting and Terry, who had been volunteering at her son’s school, finally agreed to go back. Today she is senior vice president and creative director on Procter & Gamble CRM beauty business at mega ad agency Grey Worldwide.

How would you define your style?Image

Edgy. Fashion obsessed. I love how fashion gives you the ability to be creative with yourself. To me, it’s an art form.

Have you always been this way?

I’ve always been an early adopter. As a teenager, I worked in boutiques and just handed my paycheck right back to them at the end of the week. I made all my clothes in high school. I used to be a really good seamstress. I’d think, ‘how do I want to look?’ and just whip up an outfit to wear that night.

Who influenced you?

Both my mother and grandmother were huge fashion and beauty people. I mean, my grandmother did her own nails at 101 and they were beautiful, perfect.

But living in Paris has had the most influence on my fashion and my life. I got there and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe the style of the women. I thought, I’m just gonna live here for the rest of my life and be French. When we moved to Singapore, I cried all the way there.  It didn’t take long, though, to get caught up in the excitement and energy of Asia.

What are your favorite shops in Paris?

I love L’Eclaireur and Maria Luisa.  Both cutting edge, fabulous boutiques.  And I love Bon Marche, such a classic French department store.

How was the shopping in Singapore?

Singaporeans are insane about shopping. When we left Singapore, I had a garage sale and put an ad in the paper for it.  People lined up outside our house at 5:00am!

Do you have a signature item?

If I had to pick a signature category, it’s jewelry. I have tons of costume and vintage jewelry and a killer collection of ’80s earrings. One year I decorated my entire Christmas tree with all my earrings. I’ve put all my jewelry on a wall in my closet and if you saw it, you would say “oh my God, this girl is sick.”

Are there designers you like?

Yes, plenty. It would be hard to narrow it down, but I love Dries Van Noten, mainly because every season he seems to reflect a different culture.

You’re also passionate about art.

Yes. And my tastes are eclectic. My husband’s parents were in the art business, and that’s why we have a lot of great pieces from artists like Miro and Chagall. But I just mix them up with other stuff. We collect Patrick-Earl Barnes. He’s known for his shirt and tie pictures. He’s selling his on the street in Soho at the corner of Broome and West Broadway.

You like to mix it up.

I think everything is about mixing. It’s interesting how mixing in our culture has taken on a life of its own. I just feel like it’s so perfect for me because I’ve been doing it forever.

French women have been doing it forever too.

Oh my God, are they great. The biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten is when my French friend said, ‘you don’t even have to speak French because you are already so French’. I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.


Do you have a signature perfume?

I’d never wear the same fragrance for my whole life. That’s too limiting. For several months I’ve been wearing Chanel Coromandel, from the Les Exclusifs Collection.  It’s named after those screens that Madame Chanel had in her apartment. I like really spicy, deep, almost slightly masculine fragrances. And I love Tom Ford’s private blend collection of 20 fragrances. You can mix your own scent. How fun is that?

Favorite restaurants in New York?

Palma on Cornelia Street in the Village. It’s charming and they have a garden in the back.

What about a great book?

I just read a book that I loved, loved, loved: The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It’s about a Dominican kid who is very overweight and ostracized in his community. It won the Pulitzer last year.  The author, Junot Diaz, is Dominican and has a very irreverent street style of writing.

Your secret favorite spot in New York.

I know it’s not very “secret” but the Union Square green market is a favorite place for me.  I love to cook.  Looking at all the flowers, the fruits, and vegetables. The colors and textures are so inspiring!

How do you rejuvenate?

I’m not a spa person at all. I go to the movies all the time. I just saw the new Almodovar, “Broken Embraces.” Talk about a perfect movie for me. His movies are always so full of texture, color–so much style.

Who inspires you?

My girlfriends, who are all in their own way doing something amazing.

What about wine?

My favorite drink is champagne. I love Veuve Clicquot Rose.

Do you exercise?

Yeah, oh my God. My favorite form of exercise is dance. I’m doing it now at the 92nd Street Y, twice a week. I’m doing low impact Latin that incorporates salsa, mambo, and samba. The time just flies.

What have you learned in your career?

Be flexible, be open to change, and realize that you can do anything.

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