(PC Above: Ryan Hartford)
Celebrity wardrobe styling is a responsibility. It is a high pressured job that takes up a lot of your time. Additionally, it requires dedication and patience to grow a loyal following. You need plenty of knowledge in fashion, trends, as well as a thorough understanding of what colors and styles work on different bodies. I also believe there is a little bit of psychology involved. A great stylist can read her clients, and know exactly who they are and what they feel comfortable in. From my experience, a successful stylist is great at interpreting body language. A fabulous connection of mine, Ali of Ali Levine Design, just so happens to be an LA babe with roots from New York. And most importantly, her job is living the life as a celebrity stylist; a career path she started just by believing in herself. She's a tough cookie but also a warm soul. Get to know all about Ali and her journey + some career and style tips in this week's exclusive.
It's Danielle Marie (IDM): Tell us what a day in the life of Ali looks like. Walk us through the routine that you follow to keep up with your success.
Ali Levine (AL): A day in the life of Ali Levine is never the same. Haha. I am asked this question all the time, and every day is different. I am involved in many projects with many clients. One day I could be sitting in my office emailing literally from the moment I wake up to the end of the evening. This is for sourcing, reaching out to designers, PR teams, and more. As well as always sourcing trends and being in the know of whats going on in the ever changing fashion world. Another day I could be living in my car, as I refer to my vehicle as wardrobe on wheels. I am going appointment to appointment, picking up clothes from showrooms, handling fittings, seeing clients, visiting new brands for ideas for styling projects. Also in the midst of all this I am constantly training new interns and assistants. An on going project. The constant set life. I am consistently on set styling my clients for photo shoots and editorials, calendars, music videos, red carpet, press junkets and more. As well as my own events that I have to attend in support for my brands, clients and more.
IDM: Describe your personal style. Is it influenced more by New York City (your hometown) or Los Angeles (where you are now). Has it changed at all over the years?
AL: My personal style is Glam, Boho Chic. I believe its stayed pretty much the same, just evolved. I am definitely influenced by New York and the New York mentality, as thats where I am from. I always was taught to dress up and not down. Living in Los Angeles has been a challenge because its a different atmosphere and a different mindset for fashion. I believe the chill nature of Los Angeles, California in general plays a huge part in what people choose to wear.The different life style dictates its fashion. To me New York's casual is LA's dress up.
IDM: How did you end up becoming a celebrity stylist?
AL: Its been a long journey and still in process. I started off in college studying fashion design and merchandising. I then went onto my first job in retail with the amazing company, everyone knows and loves. As I call it Tar-jay. From there I went on to work for some of the biggest fashion corporate companies, one of them being Coach. After learning quite a lot and meeting amazing people in the fashion and design industry, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try the entertainment industry. Where I then got my first production gig as an assistant to the great Oliver Stone, and costume Designer Ellen Mirojnick. They introduced me heavily into the entertainment industry and costume. I was blessed to meet so many amazing people along the way as I worked on movie to movie and eventually transitioned over to styling and assisted for Kanye West and the Kardashian team and more. I am thankful for every person I've met thats helped shaped my career as well as my amazing clients that have made me into the stylist that I am.
(Above: Ali at the 9th Annual Karma Masquerade Ball)
IDM: What are some of the best parts and the hardest parts about your job?
AL: Lets start with the good parts first! I absolutely love seeing my clients' faces when they love what they are wearing.Theres no better feeling than giving them that confidence that they had deep within and bringing it to life from their outfit.I always say "confidence is your best accessory" and I truly believe that in my styling business and with who I am. It's my passion and what I love about my job. I would say the hardest part of my job is sourcing. Finding brands to continuously work with for different events. Every brand is different in what they look for in a client and for their own press, and at times this can make it hard to get the right looks for my clients.
IDM: You have an incredibly radiant energy about you. You're always smiling! How do you stay so positive and laid back in such a crazy intense industry!?
AL: Aww thank you!! That warms my heart! I try to always spread positivity. Thats a huge part of who I am, how I was raised, I feel your look is never complete without a smile. I try to smile at everyone even when I am just meeting someone or working with them. I think positive energy is contagious. Don't get me wrong I get stressed all the time and have my own anxieties that get to me at times, but I try to always stay positive and keep that light around everyone I am around.I think in this crazy business, keeping a smile helps in the mayhem! I mean its crazy regardless but I think trying to have others smile back and be in a good mood can chill the craziness! I think to myself wouldn't you want to work with someone happy vs in a bad mood? Keep it smiling, and smile through the pressure.
IDM: What's that one thing you can't leave the house without and why?
AL: I can't leave my house without my jewelry. I couldn't pick a specific piece haha as I love all my jewels, but I feel truly naked without my jewels. Its part of who I am. It makes me feel like Ali. I have worn jewelry since I was young and its part of me. Especially because I wear a lot of my grandmas jewelry and I feel she's with me, since she's no longer here.
IDM: If someone is reading this and they are interested in celebrity styling as a profession, what advice would you share to help them get closer to their goals?
AL: As far as advice, I would say work for as many people as you can and learn from them. Learn every step because styling is always evolving, and there are so many steps before you get to the actual glam. Work hard and put your head down as I say and grind. Always be open and try to intern, assist however you can.
IDM: We want to know the trends you have your eye on for spring summer 2017!
AL: Oh trends, my favorite !! I am loving the cut outs on dresses and jumpsuits right now. A little bit of peek a boo action, a little skin is sexy and in style. I love the little peek of the midriff, side cut outs, and halter neck cut outs. I am also loving the high waisted looks, so chic and can be used from day to night looks!Lastly, I love a good caped look!! This can be done in many ways, especially for summer you can wear a bikini or a crop top and a light cape to still give it your look that sex appeal and high fashion angle.
IDM: We noticed that 222 has a powerful meaning to you. (If you're comfortable) Would you mind sharing what the significance is and how it acts as a reminder for you to keep going?
AL: Thank you for asking. 222 is very close to my heart. Its a number that means a lot of things for me. First, my grandmother who I call Dodo passed away on February 22nd four years ago. So 2/22 thats how the numbers go together. When I first lost her I was devastated and went through some very mentally trying times. Fast forward to getting through her loss, I started seeing the number 222 everywhere or 22 and didn't know why. I was told by a medium, I would see numbers that meant something to me and was my grandmother reaching out to me. I then learned more about the actual number meaning, 222, which is an infinite number and is an angel number!! This number means faith and trust.
So for me, not only seeing this number means she's around, but it means she's a part of me. It encourages me heavily when I am feeling lost and need a reminder to keep going. It's truly become a part of me and now even my friends and family see it. I truly believe in it and it personally helps me. I feel very lucky and blessed that 222 is in my life and my grandmother, Dodo is always around and encouraging me in my career, my endeavors, and my life.
IDM: Everyone loves timeless staples. What is a timeless piece you always find yourself going back to?
AL: A timeless piece I always go back to is a blazer and a little black dress. They are classic and never go out of style.