Kathy Levine Talks QVC and Fashion Around the Main Line

Courtesy Tessa Marie Images

QVC host Kathy Levine shares a behind-the-scenes look at the show, her style inspiration and top fashion picks.

Her Style: Colorful but classic, with an emphasis on lovely fabrics and a touch of sparkle.

Fashion Genesis: My mom worked for a popular department store in Allentown, where I grew up. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, she ran fashion shows at local clubs where women enjoyed lunch and an afternoon out. She was the first to use a senior model, a junior and a plus-sized woman. Not a week went by that I didn’t have a new top, dress or something special. It’s easy to see how my obsession was fostered.

On Working With Joan Rivers at QVC: Joan came to us on the heels of her husband Edgar’s death. She was fragile and in need of a win. She made it clear that although she had a treasure trove of gems, she didn’t know how to present them to an audience that couldn’t touch them or try them on. She allowed me to be the play-by-play director with the details, and she was the funny color commentator. She was a quick study, and we grew into each other’s rhythm. It was a magical 10 years. We laughed ourselves silly, and we sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bumble bees and collectible charms.

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How it Feels to be Back on QVC: It’s serendipity. Twenty-two years after leaving the company, Diamonique was celebrating a 35th birthday, and it was suggested I make a guest appearance. That turned into a monthly show on QVC’s sister channel, QVC2. Many of my audience members were young kids when I started in 1986. Now, like me, they’re grandmothers. Can you say loyal? I love them.

Favorite Places to Shop on the Main Line: Elizabeth Maar, Latrice and SKIRT.

Style Revolution: I was a heavy child. My mother kept me in current trends but suggested I keep the colors muted—quiet, as not to draw attention to my size. It wasn’t fat-shaming, but in a time when few teens were big like me, she wanted me to look my best. Today, little of that matters. Black, brown and beige are my least favorite colors, and I feel good when I am sassy in sapphire or racy in red.

Fashion Icon: Joan Rivers was always classy and appropriate. Although she was pure Chanel and I was far from it, I saw the clean lines, the consistent tailored look, with no temptations to follow trends if they didn’t fit her persona.

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Best Fashion Buy: A tight-fitting red leather jacket I wore on my second date with my husband in Manayunk in 1998. I’m convinced that’s when he fell in love.

Thoughts on Aging: Working at something I love and volunteering keep me feeling valuable. The clock slows down and the mood goes up when we’re engaged with our community. I’m a tennis player and an avid angler. I do my best to keep my skin nice, watch my weight and stay strong.

Fashion No-No: Too short, too tight, outdated, not your best color, on trend but out of your wheelhouse. You know when you look great, and you know when you don’t.

Why Fashion Matters: Fashion is who you are, your signature on how you wish to be perceived. I love the process of picking the outfit, the jewelry, the wrap, the handbag, the shoes. It says I care about myself.

Get the Look

Lapis is the gemstone of wisdom. This bold carved pendant is teamed with a 22-inch adjustable snake chain. $378. Available at Jane Win, Wayne, janewin.com.

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carved pendant
Photo courtesy of brand

These baby carvedheart earrings in lapis are set with the jewelry maker’s signature claw prongs. Also available in pearl and turquoise. $128. Available at Jane Win.

baby carved-heart earrings
Photo courtesy of brand

Silky and sophisticated, the Zimmermann wrap midi dress features an asymmetrical ruffled hem and blouson sleeves with buttoned cuffs. $695. Available at Boyds, 201 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 726-0036, boydsphila.com.

Zimmermann wrap midi dress
Photo courtesy of brand

The Proenza Schouler ruched tote is crafted in Italy from black leather. It features an open top with a magnetic closure and an internal zip-pouch. $1,090. Available at Boyds.

Proenza Schouler ruched tote pick from Kathy Levine
Photo courtesy of brand

The Valentino One Stud pump in black patent leather pairs a low heel with a high-impact maxi stud in antique brass. $980. Available at Boyds.

Valentino One Stud pump pick from Kathy Levine
Photo courtesy of brand

Related: Anthropologie’s Social Media Director Talks Fashion Inspiration

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!