Photo Credit: Mary Jean Murphy
Dressing celebrities for red carpet events, working backstage New York Fashion Week, styling the runway, assisting high-profile private clients – her resume is quite impressive. She is one of San Francisco’s most respected stylists, Fashion Director of House of Borel and Brand Director of luxurious brand Michael Costello. Her name is Charlotte Welch, and she is Haute and Fabulous.
I fell in love with Michael Costello gowns from the moment I saw one on Beyonce. Since then I watched him closely obsessing over his sexy, often transparent, but always head-turning spectacular creations.
I met Charlotte through a mutual friend, and it didn’t take me long to fall under her fashion spell. We talked about styling the celebrities, our style icons, red carpet glamour and, of course, about what happens backstage during Fashion Week.
Here’s what she shared with me about her day-to-day work with some of her incredible clients.
Charlotte, you helped to work on designs for Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Is it difficult to interact with such high profile celebrities?
Honestly, no, I think of the celebrities I work with as regular women with a lot more pressure on their shoulders. In my mind, these ladies have to be more available to criticism and just consistently ready to be fabulous. So in a certain way it’s a great challenge to think of how to give a woman who inherently has all eyes on her the confidence to shine when she walks into a room.
You style a lot of people in the public eye. Do you ever get nervous if the looks you put together don’t get a great response?
Of course I get nervous, but ultimately my eye and ability to style as well as my hard work ethic got me these opportunities in the first place. And so I lean on that whenever I get nervous or self conscious.
Please, tell us about your experience working with designer Michael Costello. It seems like a unique bond that you have. How did you two meet?
Working with Michael is fantastic. He is so talented and since it has been almost 7 years of collaboration between us, it’s almost like we’re family. We speak the same fashion language and know each other so well that it’s a great symbiosis. When michael and I met it was an instant connection, we both wanted to work hard and make it in this tough industry – no matter what it took.
Photo Credit: Photo credit: Mary Jean MurphyWhere are you from and how did you start styling?
I am from Sonoma county and I started styling in college. I apprenticed as an image consultant in Marin and worked with a stylist in San Francisco for two years before I decided to go out on my own.
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
My first time styling NYFW will always stay with me. It had always been such a big dream of mine, and when I saw that runway come to life after all the hard work Michael and I put in… I will never forget that feeling.
Do you consider yourself a trend setter?
I consider myself someone with a lot of ideas. Trends never appeal to me, but new ideas about how to style or put colors together is something I think I do well.
Photo Credit: Photo credit: Mary Jean Murphy
Do the clothing choices you make for your clients reflect your personal style?
That’s a good question. I don’t think so. To me style is very personal, so when I work with clients it’s much more about their needs and their personality than my own. I try to bring in the knowledge and understanding of fashion that I have, but I cater that to the individual more than to my personal taste.
Do you have style icons? If so, who are they?
Oh yes. Of course. Patricia Field is a huge icon of mine. I absolutely love Gwen Stefani and have had her as a role model since I was a kid. As far as designers go, I’ve always been inspired by Mr. Dior. He was absolutely magnificent and built one of the most iconic brands ever.
What are your favorite items in your own closet? Is there anything you would never get rid of?
There are so many favorites! I don’t think I can choose. The gowns that Michael and I worked on together that live in my wardrobe are just irreplaceable, though.
What is one thing you would never put your client in?
Something that makes them very uncomfortable. I always help my clients test their boundaries with style, but if they are visibly uncomfortable, I would never have them purchase or wear something like that.
We are in the middle of the Fashion Month. NYFW, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. What are the “must haves” to buy now to look like a “street style” superstar?
The mini skirt. Almost anything white – from a cocktail dress to a pair of tailored pants – and a pair of high waisted trousers.
To learn more about Charlotte Welch visit thesfstylist.com