Bermuda Style with Shiona Turini
Fashion editor and stylist-to-the-stars Shiona Turini returns to her home country to decode the island’s signature style.If you’ve been to a fashion event in New York City recently, odds are you’ve spotted Shiona Turini. She’s the striking beauty with pre-Raphaelite curls wearing a brightly patterned outfit in a sea of all-black uniforms—and most likely a crop top, Northeast winters be damned. “The tropics are an integral part of my identity,” says the Bermuda-born Turini, who’s worked as style consultant for Solange Knowles music videos, and has contributed to Elle, Nylon, Paper Magazine, and New York Magazine’s The Cut. “I don’t shy away from vibrant colors.”
Turini grew up in Paget Parish and Devil’s Hole, in eastern Bermuda. After attending college in Virginia, she moved to New York at age 21 and worked at Yves Saint Laurent under both Tom Ford and Stefano Pilati, followed by stints at W Magazine, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan.
Despite her love of the fashion scene in New York, visits home are a priority for Turini. “I’m lucky the commute is only two hours. A weekend in Bermuda is faster to get to than the Hamptons!” A highlight of her island visits are laugh-filled Sunday night dinners with extended family, each aunt and cousin contributing specialty dishes.
And of course, Turini allows for plenty beach time. “I’ve traveled all over the world, and I promise I’m not biased when I say our beaches are top notch. The sand is like powder and the waters are crystal clear.” A favorite is Johns Smith Beach, a secluded stretch of pink sand on the south shore. “I experienced childhood to the fullest there,” says Turini. “I camped there in the summers, skipped school to go for a swim there in the fall, played there with my cousins every Sunday after church. I never leave the island without stopping by.”
The island’s influence on her own look is clear. “My personal style is playfully sophisticated. I inject a lot of elements that are fun, but always base them in tailored classics I know work for me.” Balancing a tropical mindset with an urbane sense of polish, says Turini, is typical for the country. “Bermudian style is a melting pot of American, Caribbean and British influences. There is a conservative, traditional ethos in the way men and women dress.” Men’s standard summer outfit, for example, is Bermuda shorts with knee-high socks, and women don traditional garb for church. “We greet holidays and special occasions with a degree of over-dress.”
That said, even Bermudians aren’t immune to global influences in the Instagram era, incorporating international trends to suit their island needs. “Style everywhere is always in a state of evolution. Bermuda isn’t exempt from that,” acknowledges Turini.
But on an island where sewing is still common, even among youth, exposure to the world’s increasingly homogenized fashions via social media can lead to innovation, rather than conformity. “Learning how to sew gives agency over your wardrobe and the courage to try new things,” says Turini. “My mother did the same in her childhood, and I find that young people are being quite experimental, incorporating trends from overseas into their school uniforms and formal wear, and tweaking them with consideration of the warm climate.”
Turini is quick to point out that Bermuda’s local style is progressing, not disappearing. “We’re still quite traditional in the way we dress,” she says. “Our fashion expresses how steadily tied we are to keeping our culture alive. We’re also celebratory, and don’t take important moments for granted.”
Plus: Two of Shiona Turini’s Favorite Stores For Bringing Bermuda Style Home
“They support local designers and vendors, as well as source a lot of vintage Bermuda specific pieces, so it’s my go-to for authentic gifts,” says Turini of this boutique on Hamilton’s Front Street. Expect vintage and new furniture, island-chic dresses, jewelry, and accessories, like bow ties made from bird feathers.
Urban Cottage: Somers Building, 11 Front St., Hamilton; 441-296-3039
“While a lot of local jewelers have focused on incorporating Bermuda sand into their designs, he has taken the unique approach of focusing on blue stones to highlight our crystal clear blue waters,” says Turini of this jeweler with two stores, one in St. Georges and another in Hamilton. “I recently got an amazing gold pendant – the shape of the island floating in a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ that I haven’t taken off.”
Davidrose Studio: 20 Water Street, St. George; 441-293-7673; and 47 Front Street, Hamilton; 441-295-7673
A revitalized island escape
Rosewood Bermuda has just reopened following a tip-to-toe renovation. Learn more about its style transformation here.