Trendsetters: The Height of Style

by Editorial

Big personalities. Rule-breaking wardrobes. How these trendsetters stand above the rest. 

Photography: Nick Ghobashi |

Editorial Direction: Erica Moody and Catherine Trifiletti

Shot at Union Market | 1309 5th St. NE

From left: Eric Hosbach, Isoke Salaam, Dani Sauter, Gary Williams, Tara Papanicholas, Barnette Holston and Lena Farouki

Erich Hosbach: The Graham’s sales and marketing director looks to the words of Coco Chanel for style advice: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off … because even in today’s anything-goes culture, less is more.” His effortless appearance was honed after living in Rome, and when he’s not traveling back to Italy on biannual shopping trips, he looks to STITCHED at MGM or the shops at CityCenterDC like Paul Stuart, Canali and Hugo Boss for classic, yet modern, finds that are “refined with an edge.”

Isoke Salaam: You won’t find this self-employed public relations professional in jeans because her life is “always a fashion show.” Her ’70s Chaka Khan style is inspired by pieces from Solace London and Kenzo. At a local level, she frequents Meeps on U Street and any of Salvation Army’s numerous outposts. Salaam turns to statement coats to spice up everyday looks. “A great coat is like having on two fabulous outfits,” she says. “Nothing like having pretty armor.”

Dani Sauter: “If there is one thing every woman needs in her closet, it’s a sequin dress,” lifestyle blogger Sauter says. She inspires Washingtonians with her colorful, sequin-filled, body-positive blog, “Blonde in the District,” that encourages self-confidence through style. Locally, she shops at ELOQUII, ZOPHIA, Sophie Black and Rachel Pfeffer; counts Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga as style icons; and adores Christian Siriano for his inclusiveness in sizing and Gucci for its creativity. Her advice to novice fashionistas? “Be open to trends, but stay true to yourself. If it speaks to you, wear it … unless it’s Crocs.”

Tara Papanicholas: “Set yourself apart from the rest,” the vintage queen of Washington advises styleseekers “Don’t overthink. If you’re not feeling it immediately, it’s not for you.” Papanicholas lives by these words when shopping for a personal wardrobe fueled by “eclectic vintage glam with a bit of tomboy.” She looks to the 14th Street shop Redeem for androgynous pieces and style icons Marlene Dietrich, Gwen Stefani and Grace Jones for inspiration. Having spent years collecting unique vintage pieces and selling them via her Etsy shop, Papanicholas has learned to look at fabrics, silhouettes and seams with a critical eye.

Lena Farouki: “My style is entirely a result of my upbringing in Abu Dhabi, which saw a lot of colors and textures,” Farouki says. The Curio Concept store owner promotes emerging international designers in her eclectic Georgetown shop where favorites include Vivetta, Isa Arfen and Taller Marmo. But her ultimate style icon is her mother, whose open-minded approach to style allowed Farouki to experiment with hers. “My style has done nothing but evolve,” she says. “Resisting style evolution is just as detrimental as resisting any change.”

Gary Williams: The director and co-founder of Creative Theory cites Marvin Gaye, Pharrell, old Kanye West and Barack Obama (specifically for his “dad swag”) as style icons. Williams blends casual and athletic pieces to achieve his cool look, frequenting local shops Maketto, Redeem, Hugh & Crye and UBIQ. He wasn’t always so confident about his style. It took ample GQ-perusing for Williams to narrow his focus down to timeless pieces instead of fleeting trends. Of his style maturation he says, “I began to buy quality staple items, pairing them with more budget-friendly purchases.”

Barnette Holston: “Invest in great well-made pieces and wear them with confidence,” is the philosophy that men’s fashion blogger Holston follows in his sartorial pursuits. For tailored looks, he turns to Billy Reid, Paul Stuart, Saks and Suit Supply and to Whiskey Ginger and Redeem to boost the “elevated casual with an edge” side of his wardrobe. He feels most elegant and stylish in a classic tuxedo. “There’s nothing like being dressed to the nines,” he says.

This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of Washington Life Magazine. 

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