Often times your favorite celebrity is being praised for his or her appearance. After all, they are certainly people who, too, deserve recognition if they are excelling in their respective fields. To maximize this exposure, they are expected to show their faces and promote their brands during interviews, black-tie affairs and panels, among many other events.
The saying “it takes a village” applies perfectly when it comes to your faves glam squad, the group that consists of makeup artists (yes, for men too.), hairstylists/barbers and most importantly, stylists. Being a stylist is no small feat! Outsiders looking in probably assume these individuals simply go to department stores and boutiques to choose every trendy item in sight and dress their clients. However, this is just partly true.
In addition to differentiating between ugly and cute, stylists have to actually be familiar with fabric and the exact way each chosen item should fit. If a male client needs a tailored, wool suit, the stylist cannot solely rely on her knowledge of how an Italian cotton suit would fit. Similarly, if a female client needs denim culottes, the stylist cannot use the fit of cigarette pants as a reference.
Another key to being a great stylist is exclusivity. One of a kind designer items are not just found in a department store. With that in mind, obtaining clothing is a task in itself. To make this step as seamless as possible, a stylist has to have credibility. Meaning one should have a known and respected portfolio to borrow clothing. This happens first by crawling before walking, nurturing relationships and networking with the appropriate individuals.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’ve listed five bomb female stylists (in no particular order) that you should definitely know.
- June Ambrose
June’s resumé dates back to the 90s when she designed the iconic, leather suit that resembled a trash bag for Missy Elliott’s “The Rain,” convinced Diddy and Mase to wear shiny suits in “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems,” and styled the cast of Belly. Among many others, her clientele includes Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. In 2011, June earned “the biggest styling gig of [her] career” when she was chosen to style 17 contestant’s of Simon Cowell’s talent contest, The X-Factor. June continued to mainstream her company, Modé Squad, in 2012 with her Vh1 docu-series, Styled By June, where she revamped the wardrobes of celebrities who were in desperate need of change ranging from Trina to Mischa Barton. June continues to keep her loyal followers and growing clientele enthralled with her “Juniverse.”
2. Marni Senofonte
As told to Niki McGloster of VibeVixen, Marni Senofonte credits her beginning as a stylist to Misa Hylton-Brim. While Marni was working at Norma Somali, Misa was a pregnant stylist who frequented the store and needed help with clients such as R&B girl group, Total. Since then Marni has gone on to work with notable clients including Nas, Salt-N-Pepa, Lauryn Hill and many more. One of her most notable, long-term clients is Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. Marni was the stylist chosen to work with both Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj for the Feeling Myself video last year. Recently, she styled Beyoncé and her dancers for the Formation music video and Super Bowl 50 halftime show. Marni is a free-spirited, layering goddess who will not slow down anytime soon.
3. Olori Swank
Olori Swank is a blue-haired bombshell who hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Olori probably has the most unconventional start in the styling business. Although she had no prior experience as a stylist, she was asked to work with her first client and use her personal style as a reference. Make no mistake, Olori’s hustle is truly unmatched! She continued to work in the fashion industry as a self-taught stylist instead of attending medical school. Olori has since worked with celebrities such as Karrueche Tran, Angela Simmons, Lance Gross, Keyshia Cole and the list goes on! In addition to styling clients, Olori is currently the Fashion Director for Kraze Magazine and offering stylist courses via Swank School. Stay up-to-date with Olori here.
4. Aleali May
Aleali ( uh-lay-lee) May is the epitome of tomboy-chic. She is a streetwear enthusiast who’s clothing of choice for herself and clients are never provocative, yet the finished look oozes effortless sex appeal. Aleali started her career in fashion by working for Don C’s RSVP Gallery and Louis Vuitton in Chicago. From there she has earned the opportunities to style industry figures such as Kendrick Lamar, Tinashe, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Rainy Milo, Nipsey Hussle, Hit Boy and Jason Kennedy. When Aleali isn’t working with celebrities, she is collaborating with many notable brands that include Audi USA, Adidas, Nike and Vans. For a more in depth look at all things Aleali, check out her site.
5. Maeve Reilly
Maeve Reilly is the mastermind behind Janelle Monáe’s classic black and white ensembles. In the beginning of her career, she cold e-mailed all of the stylists of her favorite celebrities and was finally able to get a meeting with stylists, Rob and Maria, as told to Highbrow. From there, she started to focus mainly on male clients that included Jamie Foxx and Russell Brand to name a couple. Working heavily with males made the transition to Janelle Monáe’s tailored, androgynous aesthetic very smooth. If Maeve’s clients had to choose one thing they love the most about her work, it would be that she never shies away from accessories! Check out Maeve’s blog.