I hate to admit it but recently I’ve found myself watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on a semi-regular basis. I will just watch random repeats on E! on a lazy weekday morning if I don’t have class. My newfound interest is funny because apparently the national interest in the infamous family is wavering. Kim’s robbery, Kendall’s myriad PR mishaps, Kylie’s ongoing plastic surgery rumours, Kourtney’s relationship drama, and Khloe’s latest break-up with another NBA star, Kris’s heartbreak over C(K)aitlyn’s book – all big moments yet failing to make the same impact as before. Charlamagne actually talked about this on a recent episode of The Brilliant Idiots, his podcast with Andrew Schulz, saying that in a world where Donald Trump is president, we no longer need reality tv. However, the point of highlighting this Refinery29 article was not to mention the Kardashians but to put a spotlight on Stephanie Shepherd, or Steph Shep as most of us know her. Shepherd is Kim Kardashian’s assistant, but, as the interview proves, she is so much more than that, encompassing the role of brand manager, friend, and general all-around helper. I find her job interesting because it is such a 24 hour role. I know that in most companies, the executive assistants work the same hours as their bosses which often means very early mornings and late nights, plus constantly being on call in the evenings, checking emails and messages. However, they get the weekend off when their boss isn’t in the office. Working for a celebrity is so different because there’s no such thing as a traditional work week. They don’t take the weekends off. They may be travelling constantly. It seems to me that Shepherd has given up much of her personal life for her job. Regardless, she comes across as genuine, earnest, and eager. Often profiles of people make them sound vapid, especially those who are in Hollywood, but the Refinery29 profile of Shepherd was fair and actually a really interesting read. I might end up becoming one of her 600k+ followers on Instagram. Not bad for an assistant. And remember, Kim started off as Paris Hilton’s assistant. How they rise!
Continuing on the theme of careers, Fashionista sat down and did an in-depth interview with Rachel Zoe. It’s impossible to think of the 2000s without thinking of Zoe. Her style was definitive of the decade with the army of Zoebots. Now she has transitioned into building her brand, moving away from celebrity styling almost completely. I just enjoyed reading this article so much because I have such a fondness for Rachel Zoe. She seems like a good person, she has perhaps my dream life, a wonderful family, and she has worked so hard. I find her inspirational and can only hope that I reach her level of success someday.
A couple of weeks ago I received my daily newsletter from Vogue, that day entitled “What The Hell Happened to Personal Style?”. To give you the gist of it all, basically the writer was disappointed in the homogeneous, Kardashian style that has swept the nation and is worn by millions of young girls every day. They were sick of neutrals, topknots, and bodycon and missed true style icons like Kate Moss being lauded instead of those who work with a stylist. The latter point is what I’d like to hone in on.
The idea of working with a stylist seems strange to me, especially if it is for a non-red carpet occasion, but you cannot underestimate the power of a celebrity stylist. Think about what Rachel Zoe did back in 2004/2005! Nicole Richie had a major makeover and suddenly became an international style icon. This was a woman who was often ridiculed and thought of as just a famous-for-being-famous, reality tv star suddenly transformed to a real star. You cannot discredit Zoe for that. Nowadays it is Monica Rose who is spreading the same effect through her work with the Kardashians/Jenners and their gang of friends like the Hadid sisters. Just like the band of Zoebots who were constantly photographed this time a decade ago, Monica Rose’s clients often wear very similar looks today. It doesn’t help that they are currently some of the most talked about women in the world right now.
In the article the writer says Kate Young’s work with Selena Gomez is different because it is a “creative partnership”. Unfortunately I don’t agree with this. I don’t think what Kate Young does for Selena Gomez is any different than what Monica Rose does for her clients (although Selena does look so incredible now). Both stylists are picking “off-duty” looks as well as outfits for official appearances. I don’t have a problem with stylists doing this for clients. In fact, I think it is a super smart thing for all celebrities to do – a good branding move. However, I really do hate when people cite the celebrity’s personal style as their inspiration because I really don’t think it is their personal style at all. If your stylist has to pick out your clothing, whether they pre-pick your outfit or just provide you with pieces that would work well together, I don’t think it is your personal style, I think it is just a style. To me it is about those who the look originated from getting credit, but that rarely happens.
If I were rich and famous, I can’t imagine that I’d want a stylist. It would probably make things easier for calling in looks for events but then again there are some celebrities who do it all themselves and still manage fine: Diane Kruger, Dita von Teese, Blake Lively (for the most part), January Jones. Dressing yourself every day should be straightforward and actually fun. However, maybe if you’re getting photographed everywhere you go you’d want to look photo ready at all times. Perhaps that’s why celebrity personal style seems manufactured.