HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It is a long arc from the dusty orange groves of California’s central valley to the world’s most intriguing cities: New York, London, Singapore, Beijing, New Delhi, Amsterdam. It’s an arc made possible by honoring who you are. Identity leads and guides, carries us to places and into the lives of people we would have never imagined possible if we hadn’t been affirmed and told it was ok to be different. To be unique is to be free. It opens one to the potential of being celebrated, of being requested, heralded, sought after. Being memorable is easy, be yourself! This is Carla’s story. She committed herself long ago to making it your story as well.
It began with a gift. A fellow High School teacher gave her the experience of having her “colors done” with Suzanne Caygill. It was a consultation that would change the course of Carla’s life. Suzanne is the woman credited with pioneering personal color analysis and modern image consulting. Carla went on to study with Suzanne, assisting and eventually teaching her style classes. It was while observing Suzanne “saying” one thing in class and watching her “do” something else when working with clients that Carla began to explore beneath the surface of the “seasonal color” system. Carla knew intuitively that each person was beyond classification. That everyone was unique and could not be bounded by a “type”.
In 1994 Carla published, The Triumph of Individual Style, co-written with Helen Villa Connor. In this seminal text Carla applied the universal language of art to the human body in a way that had never before been explored. For centuries works of art had been appraised using the design elements of Line, Shape, Proportion, Scale, Color and Texture, but for the first time Carla and Helen identified a unique Body’s Design Pattern for every individual. We are works of art! Carla and Helen showed us where to look on our bodies and how to appreciate how we are made in a new way. Their simple 3-step progression: 1. From Art… 2. To our Body… 3. To Clothes and Accessories transformed the image industry and introduced women and men everywhere a new level of self-acceptance and selectivity when getting dressed.
In 2004, Carla’s son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Erin Mathis, joined her to expand on the discoveries she had made in the years since the publication of her book. Through a consulting practice that takes Carla all over the world, she discovered that human beings on every continent, from every ethnic and socio-economic background are ATTRACTED to People, Places and Things that look like them, that share the same design signatures as their body. The implications of this and two other discoveries are what propel us forward. As integrated beings: body + soul + spirit, we are gifted at birth we all we need to chart our course in this life, to take our place, fulfill our destiny and become beloved citizens of the world. The Style Core is committed to your growth, to your becoming the person God has designed you to be!
Identity is a celebration of what makes us special. To be celebrated is all a child wants, all a child needs really. I was born with webbed hands and feet (My mom was very sick in her first trimester when my hands and feet were being formed). When I was born, my father declared, “Every baby is a special gift from God. Our baby is special on the outside, aren’t we lucky!” This initial shot of affirmation was followed by a childhood rich in honor where lots of room was made for me to grow. After 14 years of surgeries to repair my hands and feet, every opportunity to explore the world was encouraged. A “can do” attitude was instilled in my brother and me, in my case, literally, from day one. There was never any whining over what might have been or could have been. Connecting my personal history with the beauty of what makes each of us special is what I live for. We all need more encouragement than we receive from mom and dad. Its a constant and pervasive need. We must be affirmed to become all we can be. We are relational creatures. Words of affirmation, and identifying what makes each of us unique is a passion I carry with me everyday as a stylist, mentor, grandmother, mother, wife and friend. For God’s glory we have been made, for love we have been created.
Carla has a BA in English Literature with a Masters in Music. She is a founding member of AICI (The Association of Image Consultants International) and CDI (Colour Designers International).
I had my first color palette designed when I was two years old. I have lived my life surrounded by women and men pursuing their passion to dignify and beautify people. I cannot remember a moment when my mother wouldn’t stop my sister and I on a walk or pull the car over on a drive to describe in gripping detail how someone, she was now pointing breathlessly, had the most unusual and extraordinary bounce in their step. She would design, in an instant, the perfect skirt, made of a light cotton jersey that would accent the movement and further animate for all the world to enjoy their unique walk. I was raised to celebrate people. I left a career in film almost before it began, I was working as an art director, to help my mother expand the appeal of her work and uncover the deeper connections between who we are and how we look. Human identity is precious. There is nothing on this earth more valuable than the sanctity of life. My wife Erin, and children Tristan and Sierra, are not an extension of me they are their own divine creatures. Men everywhere need to slow the impulse to project themselves into other people’s lives and learn to harness their masculine power to protect, call out what is real in the other and preserve the dignity of all living beings. Can I get an amen?!
I joined The Style Core in 2004 after helping Vitra, a Swiss German furniture manufacturer, open their Los Angeles showroom. My first, last and most memorable diploma was from Mrs. Hale’s Pre-school in Menlo Park, CA.
I’ve always loved beauty, fashion and I come from a long line of glamorous women who know that true beauty radiates from the inside out. As Director of Operations, I bring 20 years of experience as a branding and graphic designer to The Style Core. I oversee development of all visual materials across the entire company, create the looks that Carla wears all over the world, and am the coordinator of our global Stylist Network. Before joining The Style Core, I worked in Silicon Valley designing media for Apple, Hitachi and Adobe along with many SiliconValley start-ups. I am married to Eric Mathis, and am very happy to be a part of this life-changing work alongside my family.