>SpotLight: Mary Alice Stephenson -Style Expert and Celebrity Stylist

14 Dec

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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY


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To outsiders, Fashion has the bad rap of being an industry rife with snotty anorexics who are heavy on drama and who could use a little dose of nice. That happens to be untrue and I’m devoting a series of Q&A’s to dispel that notion, which starting next week run on Mondays. Every Monday, I’ll be Spotlighting a fashionista who is talented and personable.
First up to kick-off the series – Mary Alice Stephenson, Style Expert and Celebrity Stylist. We met years ago, when she was an Assistant Editor at Allure Magazine. She was one of the nicest people who walked into the Michael Kors showroom I worked in and most definitely not “flaky”in any way shape or form. I first noticed her because she looked like a model [height and face]. After talking to her, I picked-up on her irreverent sense of humor about everything [self-included] and her razor sharp eye for fashion. She had me laughing five minutes into what would have otherwise have been a routine ho-hum market appointment.
She worked with some of the coolest photographer in the business: Matthew Rolston, Peter Lindbergh, and Richard Burbridge, trained under styling legend Polly Mellon’s watchful eye while at Allure, and been a fashion editor at Vogue, Marie Claire, and currently, Harper’s Bazaar. On the commercial side of the business, here’s just a partial listing:
MAC Cosmetics,
-Swarovski,
-Saks Fifth Avenue,
-Mastercard
-Calvin Klein
– Victoria’s Secret Beauty
-Talbots
-Old Navy.
M.A. is a concept person who has the knack of being able to be an “incisive yet approachable personality”, meaning you can count on her to tell you the truth, but in a nice way.”While searching for truth in fashion on the Tube, you may have caught her on any of the following: MTV, VH1, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’ Early Show, Fox News, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, E!,The Style Channel – the list goes on.

It’s this combination of editorial and commercial work in the fashion world topped with lots of experience as a top celebrity stylist that gives her real street cred.

The list of stars Mary Alice has styled reads like a “Who’s Who” of Hollywood.

On the List:

Jennifer Lopez

-Sarah Jessica Parker

-Halle Berry, Beyonce

-Renee Zellweger

-Drew Barrymore

-Nicole Kidman

-Cate Blanchet

-Scarlett Johansson

-Jennifer Aniston


The hardest and funnest part of putting this post together was deciding which images to run.

There are so many that they may spill over into their own photo pictorial, which I’ve got scheduled for the weekends.

I was impressed at the work portfolio she’s put together in the last decade [How could I not?] and recently got to ask a few questions as she sped home in a taxi.
As we were crunched for time, I focused on the recent “I Remain You Desire” Photo Exhibit Party, staring herself, supermodel Lindsey Wixson and photographer Gabrielle Revere.

Gabrielle Revere, like Mary Alice, works in the celebrity and fashion worlds. She shoots for clients such as Sony Music, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazineand Life.

Mazdack Rassi is referred to as “the Milk Man” by industry insiders, appropriately so, as he’s the founder of the 80,000sq. ft. studio in NYC’s Meatpacking District that’s the go-to place for fashion editorial shoots.

TheFE: What was special about this particular party? There are so many…. You said earlier that it was a more intimate gathering?

M.A: The timing, location and who was involved in it. It was during Fashion Week and Sotheby’s understands how fashion permeates pop culture.

What’s always amazed me about Mary Alice is that she has the knack for speaking really quickly yet so clearly that you don’t miss a word. She also always has a huge smile on her face and engages – nothing phony hear. Talent aside, this is why I like her so much.

I’ve worked with Gabrielle in the past, think she’s talented and Lindsey’s a star. I think it was smart of Sotheby’s to have these little intimate soirees – it was sweet, it was good. I’d love to do a series on this. In the past, Sotheby’s have had great exhibitions such as [the one on] Resurrection, the Vintage store.

Lindsey is ranked #12 of the top 50 models according to www.models.comand has representation in NYC [Marilyn Mgmt], London [Storm] and LA [Vision LA]. In addition to all of her editorial work, she walks just about every show in the bi-annual fashion week trifekta, most notably Miu Miu, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton – in Paris, New York – Jason Wu and Marc Jacobs, Milano- Iceberg and Missoni. Although this is an impressive lineup by any standards, editorial “stars” tend to have the life expectancy of a fruit fly. I wanted to know if Lindsey was different.

TheFE: Before I flipped through your electronic press kit, I knew you’d worked with pretty much everyone in the world of fashion and celebrity. I’m still a die-hard fan of the original “Supers” – Linda E., Christy T., Naomi, Kate.
[From Left: Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Polly Mellon, Christy Turlington]
Most girls [models] just don’t stand out like these larger than life stars. What’s special about Lindsey? These photos Gabrielle shot of her?

M.A: Lindsey is really current, kind of this girl who’s on the cusp of becoming a supermodel and yet on the cusp of becoming a woman. She still very much looks like a kooky little girl within the Glamazon, a Lolita.

Gabrielle has so much exuberance and personality and she gets that from her subjects. It was just about Lindsey being Lindsey and you get about whom she is.

Her imperfections [are what] make her perfect.

TheFE: Thanks for squeezing this in – in a car ride, no less!

Photography Credits

Exhibit Photos, Gabrielle Revere

Party Event Photos, Andrew Rothschild

Photos from Mary Alice’s Portfolio, MICHAEL FLUTIE’S OFFICE

TALENT BRAND MANAGEMENT


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