The Art of Styling: Decoding the Celebrity Stylist Myth - Bubblegum Club

The Art of Styling: Decoding the Celebrity Stylist Myth

From Law Roach, Kate Young, and Maeve Reilly, to Jason Bolden, celebrity stylists are the genius behind every red carpet look, and the ever-changing fashion looks that grace the pages of Vogue. In the dazzling world of glitz and glamour, where every public appearance is a red-carpet event and each snapshot is a potential headline, the role of a stylist becomes paramount. However, stylists are not the greeting card of a career in Hollywood. Celebrities often have to climb up to A-List status before landing a much-sought-after stylist, while everyday individuals might not even think about the benefits to having a stylist at all.

The job of celebrity stylist has become a coveted job anywhere there is a glamorous event and celebrity in attendance. Although it may seem alluring to be responsible for Beyonce’s next red carpet look, any professional stylist will tell you that the day-to-day demands of the role are often not so glamorous, Law Roach called celebrity styling “The being in service and at the service of other people.”

While many celebrities often enlist the help of stylists, many often just say “Thanks, but I don’t need your help to look this hot!”. Meghan Markle, Timotheé Chalamet and Erykah Badu are examples of celebrities who don’t have stylists, to develop a more personal and signature style. While this may seem unfathomable for Hollywood A Listers, it is how most celebrities on the African continent operate, and of course, its how regular folk like you and me get dressed every day sans a Law Roach picking the latest Prada runway looks for your latest trip to the mall.

Image courtesy of Mike Afolarin

One individual who has seamlessly navigated the intersection of fame and fashion is the effortlessly chic Thando. With her magnetic presence and innate sense of style, Thando has become an icon amongst up-and-coming personalities and everyday folk who want to dress with a bit of an edge. We can all admit that picking the perfect outfit for any occasion can be difficult, especially with the ever-evolving fashion trends (What is this season’s colour again?) and the constant social media videos telling you how you should or shouldn’t dress for your body. Thando is there for anyone’s styling needs, reminding us that stylists can be the saving grace of celebrities as well as ordinary folks.

In an interview with the stylish Mike Afolarin, Nollywood’s latest rising star, Thando confronted the misconception that celebrities like him are under the constant care of a stylist, meticulously crafting their every look. Mike known as Ishaya in Netflix’s “Far From Home” series has been acting since 2013, with his breakout role in Nollywood coming in 2016. In the Zoom interview, Thando and Mike discussed his style, and how most of his wardrobe choices are made by him rather than a stylist. “I don’t mind wearing odd pieces for photoshoots. I’m open to trying anything, but when I need to be out to parties and events, then I go all out” The conversation went on to talk about his simple style, statement pieces, and how black is often the best colour to build an outfit from.

Like any person with a strong fashion identity, Afolarin plays an active role in curating his own wardrobe and defining his unique style. While he usually throws on a pair of smart satin pyjamas after a day on set, he still uses events and his social media platform to showcase his style, mainly his venture into wearing colour. The myth that celebrities, especially actors and singers, are always adorned in show-stopping ensembles carefully chosen by a stylist is a narrative that needs debunking. Afolarin, despite his busy schedule, manages to maintain a distinct and authentic style that resonates with his personality, but with the help of a stylist who understands the latest trends, and has relationships with fashion houses, Afolarin’s personal style has a chance to further develop and become something more iconic.

Image courtesy of Mike Afolarin

What distinguishes celebrities from the rest of us is not the absence of personal style but the heightened scrutiny they face when it comes to their appearance. An outfit from a Hollywood A-lister can either be the trend that takes over fashion trends for months or something they are shunned for. Look at Hailey Bieber’s doughnut glazed nails, what was probably a random pick at the manicurist’s became an internet sensation overnight.

Celebrities are not immune to the challenges of navigating the vast world of fashion, trends, and designers. In fact, their exposure to these elements is often more intense, making the need for a stylist even more crucial. While everyday people might not face this scrutiny, stylists bring a wealth of knowledge about the latest trends, emerging designers, and the intricate world of fashion that can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned celebrities.

One might wonder why an everyday person, who exudes confidence in their fashion choices, would need a stylist at all. The truth lies in the collaboration between the individual’s innate style and the expert guidance of a stylist. It’s not about relinquishing control but rather enhancing and refining the natural flair.

Stylists, in essence, serve as the co-authors of anyone’s fashion story. However, as we have seen in the stylist/celebrity relationship between Law Roach and Zendaya, fashion goes beyond the clothes we wear. It becomes a statement to the world and a stamp of an individual’s personality. Stylists bring a fresh perspective, introduce new elements, and challenge the boundaries of their client’s comfort zone. Thando, with her bold fashion choices, understands the importance of pushing boundaries while staying true to her client’s core style. A stylist acts as a sounding board, helping people experiment with different looks, ensuring they stay relevant while staying true to their individualistic expression, and providing a discerning eye to curate a wardrobe that stands the test of time.

Image courtesy of Thando Motswalo

Contrary to popular belief, the red carpet is not the only runway where celebrities showcase their style. Everyday life demands a diverse and adaptable wardrobe that seamlessly transitions from casual outings to high-profile events. Afolarin, like any individual, faces the challenge of curating a wardrobe that is versatile, functional, and reflective of his evolving identity. A stylist becomes an invaluable ally in this endeavour, helping celebrities maintain a wardrobe that is both practical and stylish. The demands of a diverse lifestyle require a wardrobe that seamlessly adapts to various roles and occasions. A stylist plays a pivotal role in ensuring that every facet of an individual’s life is complemented by a wardrobe that is as dynamic and multifaceted as they are.

Thando’s approach to styling is a testament to the collaborative relationship between the client and their stylist. It’s not about adhering to rigid fashion norms but about embracing the individuality of style. The narrative that celebrities are fashion puppets, controlled by stylists pulling the strings, undermines the agency and autonomy that these individuals possess in crafting their personal brand.

Thando’s journey through the world of fashion and styling serves as a compelling narrative to debunk the myths surrounding what styling is and who it is for. While the allure of the red carpet may suggest a constant presence of stylists, the reality is far more nuanced. Thando, much like any regular person, understands the symbiotic relationship between personal style and professional guidance. Stylists, far from dictating fashion choices, enhance and refine the natural flair that individuals like you and me bring to the table. The collaboration between Thando, the stylist, and anyone she works with is a testament to the fact that, in the realm of style, non-celebrities are not exempt from the need for expertise, guidance, and a fresh perspective.

Image courtesy of Thando Motswalo

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