Last fall, I got a job request that made my heart skip a beat. You know that feeling you get in your stomach right as the plane is taking off? When it’s like everything inside your body is just floating around for a second, and you left your stomach behind? It was like that. British Vogue was calling—and trust me, when British Vogue is calling, it’s probably something important. They said they wanted to have Z on the cover of their October issue. And they wanted me to style it!
Of course, my mind immediately started going a mile a minute, dreaming up all the references I wanted to have and the story I wanted to tell. It had to be sophisticated and sexy, sleek and elegant. I called Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino and asked if he would do a custom dress for us, something that could give Z an 80s supermodel-type glam. Like a Kelly LeBrock. Everything had to be perfect. I knew it was going to be the biggest cover of my career, maybe of Z’s, too. And I wanted to do something Edward Enninful would be proud of, because I think of him as my fashion father.
So we did the shoot, and all of the clothes were black. It was so mature and refined. The Valentino was this silk minidress with an asymmetric shoulder, and it made Z look like Gloria Burgess in that Lanvin ad from the 80s. Edward loved it. I remember he texted me when he saw the pictures and said he thought it was “absolutely beautiful.” It meant so much to me, to have worked with him so closely, to have been guided by him, and to create something that he truly adored.
A little while after, British Vogue reached out again. I thought I had to be dreaming! Every year, the magazine does this thing they call a Hollywood Portfolio. It’s this really spectacular photo spread. Basically, it’s a snapshot of all the most talked about performers of the moment. It’s like a weather forecast, but they’re predicting Oscar nominations. They wanted me to style the whole thing!
We did 25 different shoots over the course of a couple of months, and if that sounds like it’s a lot of work, it’s because it was. It’s probably more work than you think it is! Everybody thinks styling is a glamorous job—and sometimes it is! But for the most part, you need as much stamina and endurance as any other job. Because it can really be a marathon!
Greg Williams took these really beautiful photos. Part of what made the whole thing so exciting was that I thought each performer could be an opportunity to tell a different story. You have someone like Kristen Stewart, who has this cool girl mystique to her. And Simu Liu, who’s like a new leading man. Some of them were actors who had never even been in movies before last year, and they were going into the same award season portfolio as Halle Berry and Jessica Chastain and Judi Dench. It’s this whole range of actors from around the world, some at the beginnings of their careers and some already industry legends.
It felt so special to be a part of that. And I was honored that Edward trusted me with dressing some of the biggest stars in the world for British Vogue. Here's the portfolio, if you want to see it on their page: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/hollywood-portfolio-2022.
But I have to know which of the looks are your favorites. You know the drill. What photos do you like best? Which performances do you think deserve the Oscar? Say something in the comments…
Enjoy the photos, and until next time,