These fashion stylists rely on their imaginations to create unforgettable couture combinations.
You know those gorgeous fashion editorials we like to flip through in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Washington Life’s pages? Those styled snapshots only tell a small part of the story, providing a surface glimpse into the extensive process that underlies the final product. Anyone who has been behind the scenes of a shoot knows that there is a well-oiled village made up of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to produce the iconic images in our favorite glossies. We turned the spotlight on four talented local stylists who make that tiny moment of perfection seem effortless, when in reality, they have spent countless hours planning and collaborating. They approach projects weeks in advance, setting the stage with mood boards and inspiration for the rest of the team. As the big day nears, you can find Joy Kingsley-Ibeh, Frederique Stephanie, Joelle Firzli and Stara Pezeshkian signing their lives away to stores and brands that have agreed to make garment loans, and hauling around thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from pulls. Once on set, stylists are the glue that hold the entire vision together. In addition to being incredibly organized, they are expected to stick to a strict schedule and stay on their toes. Despite all the chaos, these four women are behind some of the city’s most impactful editorial and commercial spreads. What are their keys to success? We asked and they dished.
Having experienced the model side of the business, Kingsley-Ibeh decided to launch her own agency Kingsley Model + Talent Management for which she styles a variety of clients. Her styling philosophy revolves around understanding the body and building relationships. Once trust is established, “the sky is the limit,” she says. Stephanie, a recent Washington transplant from London who now works at TAA Public Relations, has styled a wide array of shoots, from Rihanna to drool-worthy food spreads for French Grazia Magazine. Her secret: “You need to have stamina, be very creative, determined, diplomatic and open minded.” Firzli, a Lebanese-Ivoirian fashion researcher, writer and ethical stylist, has been featured in publications throughout the world. She draws inspiration from history, art and street style in order to create original looks that transcend individual pieces of clothing. Of the creative process, Firzli says: “It’s making stuff up, being innovative and asking questions.” Pezeshkian has been in the business working with T.H.E. Artist Agency and freelancing for eight years. She explains that there is a science behind each of her clients, through which she navigates with creativity. “It’s important to tap into a happy place of the consumer’s subconscious with color and pattern,” she says. All four agree that the intense preparation all feels worth it once images are published — a true embodiment of the old saying “Anything for the shot.”