So my friend Phillip showed me pictures of the stylist, Aya but it wasn’t until I looked at her website and her portfolio did I see really became intrigued. Honestly she is amazing. She reminds me of one of my favorite bloggers ( Style Bubble) with her quirky, off the wall style, mixing Japanese street fashion with American urban fashion. Which turns out to be a match made in heaven.

Aya was born and raising in Murray Hill, Manhattan. She went to school at Oberlin College and graduated with a double major in Visual Arts and Religion and a minor in East Asian Studies. From that point she took a road never traveled. She got interested in sculpture and began making puppets. With nothing to do with all her creations, she went into the field of performing puppetry. Her imagination grew. Soon after her graduation from college she won the Watson fellowship which allows 30 students to travel and pursue any field of study for a whole year. OMG where is the sign up sheet for that one-in-a-lifetime-opportunity?

With all the resources she had available she was able to travel to Poland, the Czech Republic, France, England, and Japan to study puppet theatre, didn’t see that one coming huh ? After her year abroad she returned to NY to get involved in puppet life with performances for real audiences at La MaMa and St. Ann’s Warehouse.

Though puppetry was a passion of hers , she became bored of the robotic lifestyle of performing 8 times per week. She realized that “you can have a passion about multiple interests, but it doesn’t need to be your paycheck.”

With that, she moved on to fashion which she believed was parallel to puppetry because in both professions you take a pile of nothing and bring it to life. And that, my friends, is what she does best.

She didn’t come into fashion as a stranger, her mother is head of the Issey Miyake’s New York office, so connections were already in the bag for her. However she doesn’t really do the avante guard scene because she wants to do stories that she is interested in and that her readers will feel is relevant.

Once she got in as the fashion director at Nylon in 2004, she was running her own, personal, life sized puppet show with large teams of people, all the while making clothing come to life.

Let’s Get Personal with Aya’s stye:
Now at Teen Vogue, Aya dished to the Sartorialist about her own style. She considers her mother and grandmother her fashion icons, in addition to Pipi Longstocking ( I can see how that is relevant, men’s shoes, mix-matched shocks, beat up dress, that all seems pretty relevant to Aya’s style.) Her own personal style has a recipe: one part statement piece, on part quirky charming piece, and one part classic piece. She also admits to loving animals prints but she would never be caught wearing fleece. Aya expects herself to wear more white because it wouldn’t get as dirty as it would in NYC.

While in LA she looks forward to supporting young designers, going to farmers markers, cooking, beach time, and exploring the the American west. Her favorite established designers include YSL, Chanel, Alexander Wand, Preen, Mulberry, Balenciaga, and Burberry Prorsum, just to name a few.

Bag by Alexandra Cassaniti

She goes against the grain because her favorite stylish movie is Ma Femme Est une Actrice where the character has one outfit, but Aya believes it was so perfect. Usually people name the generic Devil Wears Prada, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or Confessions of a Shopaholic. Stylish books she likes are Confessions of a Window Dresser and Excess: Fashion and the Underground 80’s.

As Aya embarks on her new bi0coastal life style as the Senior Fashion Editor at Teen Vogue she enjoys crafts and sewing projects like quilting and applique. She is a master of mixing prints and dressing the best dressed of Hollywood’s Elite. I highly suggest following her on Twitter at . Also check out her web page where she has her entire life’s work. I have taken the liberty of posting a few of my favorite looks that she created.

New Segment: Links for Citation ( I go to Penn so I should know a thing or two about citing my sources. So, I am now going to make sure I don’t forget to list them at the bottom of my posts in a section called LfC.)
LfC 1, LfC 2, LfC 3, LfC 4, LfC 5, LfC 6, LfC 7

Eric Daman is a stylist that is not new to the scene, but his presence is now being felt. He is the star stylist of the hit show Gossip Girls. He has also collaborated with Patricia Fields in styling for Sex and the City series. Eric has styled for other movies such as 40 shades of Blue, The Door in the Floor, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Quip Pro Quo, and others.

Eric’s career began when he was studying in Paris at Sorbonne and working as a buyer at Magic Circle. He was spotted by Steven Meisel in 1993 who was a model scout. Steven saw Daman in a store and next thing you know, he was casted with Kate Moss.

After moving to New York as a full time model he was able to secure the editorial shoots for Rolling Stone, Spin, The Face, and Visionnaire Magazines. While he was in New York living the fab life of a model, he ran into an acquaintance, Patricia Fields. She immediately hired him as her assistant in styling for SATC. It’s no doubt he took a few pointers from our favorite, Ms. Fields, and used them when concocting styles for the Gossip Girls crew.

Eric has proven to be a very interesting stylist because that he likes to mix the expensive fashion with the thrifty. He believes ( like we all do in times of economic turmoil) that it’s the way of all stylish women and men to mix YSL tops with H&M bottoms. Those outfits not only look great but allow those of us with a limited budget to get a cute look for less.

Something else I absolutely love is that he aspires to have a mass line that will go in Kohl’s or Target. He has shown his commitment to affordable fashion which is admirable. Now a days, this is the route a lot of designers , such as Vera Wang and Isaac Mizrahiare, are taking. He has recently landed a deal with Charlotte Russe to make some fashion forward/affordable designs. (Thank God, they need some help!) His contract will last through December 2010, we should all be looking out for some changes in their clothing lines.

Regardless of where Eric ends up, he will always be known for his A class work with Gossip Girls cast. He was even given the opportunity to designe a window at Henri Bendel (and afterward he was giving a huge bash).
He had fun, huh? Anyways the window was fabu.
He played up to the teeny-boppers with his use of text phrases. I must be old because I have no idea what these letters mean! Moving on :-)….

His styling on Gossip Girl has landed him a lot of press, which is well deserved. He does such a great job capturing the characters and making statements through their wardrobes that the scripts don’t include. His favorite character to dress is the nonchalant, yet sweetheart in his own mean way, Chuck Bass. He shows that a straight guy can and should use color to his advantage. Chuck’s character never strays from color and outstanding outfit choices. They suit him well… get it “suit.” ehh I tried.
Doesn’t he just look like a modern day Fonzi ? Ugh, you have GOT to love him. Additionally, He believes that Serena is hardest to dress, but he does such an amazing job with her too.( I have been sinspired by some of her outfits.) He says that the cast gives their opinion about what they want to wear, but ultimately they trust him, as they should–I mean he has only been doing this FOREVER.

My blog is focused on the people behind the fashion, and that is Eric Daman, however he does have a team of 25 helping him along the way. Let’s not forget the effort they put in to make this show the most talked about fashion television series since Sex and the City.

Who would have ever believed that a rural Michigan native like Eric would be so influential in the fashion world today? That just proves that anyone can make it. In his case connections and being in the right place, at the right time in addition to true talent has made him into the renowned stylist and costume designer he is today.

It is important that we don’t forget his face or his name because I guarantee he will become even more successful than he is today.

Eric, here is to you! Your quirky, individual style and outgoing personality will keep you in the spotlight and we like having you there. Please keep styling our favorite prep school kiddies ( now going to college) the way we love it!

Work the pants, doll!

Mariel Haenn is the perfect example of a stylist under wraps. She has unmistakably changed the look of pop icon Rihanna from girl-next-door to girl-that-would-never-live-any-where-near-you-because-she-is-too-famous.

With a recent birthday (May 25, 1979) she just reached her 30 year old mile-stone, but she looks no where over 23. She had her birthday bash at the Roosevelt Penthouse in LA ,with the theme being Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, this past Saturday and from her facebook and twitter messages, it was an epic party.

A little on her background: Mari ( can I call her that? ) attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in the class of 2000. This half Puerto Rican chica has made her way in and through the celebrity and fashion community. She has worked with starts like Jada and Will Smith, Ciara, Kanye, and most inspiring, Rihanna. She told Latina.Com that her favorite Latino designer would be Esteban Cortazar, who had his own line and is now creative director for Emanuel Ungaro ( who is now trying to work with Lindsey Lohan… idk if that’s a wise decision but…). Some of the designers she is feeling are Christian Dior, YSL, Zac Posen and Givenchy.

I absolutely wish I had more info to share about Mariel, but she simply has no information about her on the Internet. I had to dig through her facebook and twitter account to scoop up the information I have found.

Now what does that tell you about the industry?

It tells me that the people who are working the hardest behind the scenes of these “fashion-forward” stars get absolutely no play. For example, I googled her and all I got was mentions of her name and no pictures of her alone. That’s a shame. She doesn’t even have a WIKI page, seriously, why are we ignoring her. She is influencing the world in fashion and she doesn’t even have a wiki. I am floored. I do have some pictures that I manage to dig up from her facebook and twitter.

( Mariel in the middle with her friends)

( Mariel on the left with her friend)

I have made an executive decision not to include photographs of her celebrity clients because I feel that it is completely unfair the lack of coverage she receives. I think she deserves something completely about her. I feel like she is someone we all need to be watching out for in the future because she has the potential to become even more important then she is today. After 8 powerful years in the industry, her presence in Hollywood has been felt and she will soon get the press she deserves. And please believe this will not be the last time you see her on my blog because she is that hot!
Mariel Haenn, stylist, costume designer the life of fashion as it is today, influencing those that influence to masses. Luv ya girl and keep up the good work!


P.S. Visit her website HERE to see pictures of her work. It is a fabulous showcase. Also Check her out on TWITTER, she is always letting everyone know her projects and random updates on her life in the fashion-lane.

Today, I am debuting a new segment called Stylish without a Stylist. This segment will highlight the lovely celebrities who have acquired their own style and have stayed true to themselves throughout their career. They do not require the help of a stylist for outings, but may be styled for magazine and photo shoots where magazine editors prefer to style models.

I am going to start my segment by highlighting Tracee Ellis Ross. As you may know she is the daughter of Diana Ross. She has made a name for herself in the television and film industry. Her most famous rolls ( to me at least) have been in the show Girlfriends and the movie Daddy’s Little Girls.
More recently she has appears in the move Labor Pains, staring our very favorite Lindsey Lohan.
Before her entertainment career she attended Dalton School in Manhattan and the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. She was then a model in her teens. For college, she attended Brown University and graduated in 1994 with a degree in theater arts. She worked in the fashion industry upon graduation as a fashion editor for Mirabella and New York magazine. Ross is an award winning volunteer and award winning actress in the comedy series Girlfriends.

Tracee’s style is unmistakable. She is classic and elegant which is a reflection of her personality as well. She envelopes the style of her mother Diana Ross. She even admits that she uses a few pieces from her mothers old wardrobe collection to add a unique twist to her everyday outfits.

She is a unique woman whose style is very holistic. She has a look that would allow her to pull off clothing from all centuries. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in a swingers dress, or in those leotards that Beyonce and Ciara are wearing now-a-days.

Tracee makes a lot of appearances at parties but I would love to see more of her in the movies and television again. She is funny and charming and I cant get enough of her on Girlfriends.

She is very deserving of the first spotlight in Stylish without a Stylist because she is timeless, beautiful, poised, and is comfortable in her own skin. She has truly found her own style that works for her and she carries that theme throughout her entire wardrobe, which is why whenever she is photo-ed she looks marvelous. This is how you can look if you find a style that works well with your personality, lifestyle and illuminates your best features.

So here’s to you Tracee, you go girl! Keep doing what your doing because your doing it RIGHT!!! Living it, loving it, owning it!

Do you ever get that excited feeling when you know that you are on the right path in the direction toward achieving amazing goals? Well I know that feeling. This moment, making this blog, makes this feeling more concrete.

Style: I am in the business of style, not fashion trends. I believe that some trends, inevitably, evolve into classics pieces that every man or woman should own and incorporate into their lifestyles and personalities. When an article of clothing becomes so unique to a person that it can tell you everything about them, that is their style. Some trends fit into the styles of certain people, and some do not. Me, I want to be able to help people find the style that fits them. When you find the perfect style for you, you will look your best, hands down. The celebs, and everyday people, who play up their wardrobe to their personality come out looking best because they are mentally and physically connected to their wardrobe. As cliche as it sounds, they are one with their clothes.

To become one with your clothes it takes skill and dedication, things that not everyone has, or has time to develop. For this reason, there are people behind the scenes working hard to help you find what is right foryou individually to wear and help you find that “right” aspect in every article of clothing. There are designers, planners, magazine editors, fashion show producers, photographers, fashion forecasters, stylists, image consultant, basically a whole team of people that are here to help the world find their niche. However, some people don’t think that deeply about clothing. By neglecting to take that extra time needed to present yourself in a way that is consistent with your lifestyle, personality, and shape you could risk looking completely opposite of what you intended.

Whether you like it or not, humans base most of their impressions of people on an external image. That image could either be good or bad to the on looker, and that will set the tone for the way you are treated. You could have the best personality with the highest IQ, but if you are not presentable you may never be taken seriously, which is bad news !

The good news is that there are support teams of people ( one of which I will be one day) that are here to help you look your best. We want to help, we really do, but you have to give a little time and effort.

Because of the important role of the people who aim to make, style, fit, and present clothing in a way to help you find what’s right for you, I am dedicating this entire blog to them. Not the celebs who lightly mention the names of the designers of their outfits on the red carpet (often mispronouncing them) but to the people whose blood,sweat and tears went in to making that outfit, getting that celeb to wear it, getting it fitted to the celeb, and those that made sure the accessories complimented the outfit. Those are the people who inspire me.

The final project is only a ending point to the thought, time, and dedication put into making a look that complies with someones style. Wearing the outfit is the easy part, it’s the behind the scenes action that is only perfected by a select few hardworking men and women in the fashion industry.

I hope you enjoy. -VJ