This book of stunning images is an accessible overview of the most important contemporary fashion designers working now.
Today’s designers are savvier and more daring than ever before. Happy to exist within or outside the established houses of haute couture, their reputations are cemented by smart consumers who are willing to navigate the thin line between setting and following trends. This book of the most creative and iconoclastic members of today’s fashion scene includes Fashion Week regulars and cutting-edge up-and-comers. Each designer is profiled in double-page spreads that include runway-ready products as well as notes, sketches, and biographical information. These 50 men and women have embraced the global, economic, and environmental realities that serve both to challenge and inspire.
Norma Jean (named for Marilyn) and I met just under 10 years ago- which makes me feel old- in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I met her when she was just two days old, so small that her eyes weren't open yet. She had five brothers and sisters, but she was the only striped one and I really wanted a striped cat. The people who had rescued her mother sent me photos of her as she got bigger and I'd go over to play with the kittens every couple of weeks. One day I took my best friend, and then roommate, Anna, with me, but she made me promise not to let her go home with a baby. Of course, within minutes she fell in love with a little white spotted kitten and that was that. Three months after our first meeting, Norma Jean and her sister, Pawtucket, came home with me and Anna to our first Williamsburg apartment. We brought them home on a cold December morning, which just happened to be my birthday. She is definitely the best birthday present I'll ever receive and truly the best pal I could ask for. Things Norma likes: drinking water out of the faucet, pawing my face to wake me up for breakfast, sleeping underneath my blankets and licking the tops of beer bottles.
TASTE THE STYLE / BOSS BABE PROFILE
When it comes to fashion, it’s not about the clothes, but the way they make you feel…right? For us, we’d love to feel like Alexa Chung twenty-four seven, and if clothes can do that, then so be it. But while we’ve all had those moments when we’re staring into the deep abyss that is our closet hoping that our clothes will magically levitate onto our bodies and style themselves, the majority of the time our room just becomes a field of clothes that we tiptoe across just to get to our beds after a chaotic day of not knowing what to wear…and knowing you won’t be picking up your mess later. #thestruggleisreal. Although the infatuation that we all have with fashion will never be obsolete with each designer perpetuating new style after new style, there are just those times when we have NO idea how to actually put together each individual piece for everyday wear. So thankfully, we have today’s Boss Babe to help us out with any styling issue that we may have.
Doria Santlofer is no stranger to the world of fashion. With a degree in art history and previously the fashion editor at New York Magazine, we are sure her creativity is just pouring out her mind like the endless supplies of things in Mary Poppin’s bag. Now she is her own boss by styling for some of the biggest names in the biz. Oh, you know, like Target, Teen Vogue, Barneys New York. NBD. We would tell you the rest, but your head might explode with envy. The deal is that Doria is truly a styling boss; the way she intricately lays patterns and colors over each other makes our daily styling game seem like child’s play.
We got to hang with the charming beauty where we talked about her styling business, and asked about her creative process all while hanging at her equally charming LES apartment.
So, without further adieu, meet the stylishly-talented Doria Santlofer.
New York, NY
Favorite show this season during NYFW?
Who is your style muse?
It changes every day! I re-watched Great Expectations the other day and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ’90s Estella is a pretty major muse.
I keep getting pulled back to Nosara in Costa Rica and the beaches on that strip of the peninsula. The water is so warm and everything is happy. I’m hoping to take a proper trip soon, though, and I’d really love to explore Japan.
Favorite era for fashion?
1920 La Garçonne.
How did you initially get involved in the fashion industry?
I started with internships at Seventeen and Harper’s Bazaar when I was in school. When I came back to the city I got a job scanning all of Patrick Demarchelier’s contact sheets for Hearst and I truly fell in love with fashion photographs that summer. I got hired as an editorial assistant at New York Magazine that winter and a year later, with no real styling experience, I somehow convinced the magazine’s then Fashion Director, Harriet Mays Powell, to hire me as fashion editor. We started shooting the Spring Fashion issue that month and I was hooked.
What is your creative process like when styling outfits? And what would you say is your “style”?
If it’s an editorial shoot, I’ll spend loads of time making inspiration boards with references for wardrobe, mood, color etc. After I’ve resolved the concept for the shoot, I’ll begin calling in looks and pulling specific pieces and accessories. Once all of the clothes and accessories are at my studio, I’ll spend a significant amount of time putting them together into outfits and tweaking them. It’s a lot of adding and taking away until the clothes feel like they tell a cohesive story. For an advertisement or a lookbook, it’s my job to tell the story of a brand though the clothes. Usually, I’ll receive a moodboard or a brief from the art director or designer and I then get to build the wardrobe based on that.
I like to mix classic elements of masculine and feminine. For instance, it’s fun for me to play with heavily layered, menswear-inspired pieces, but in bright colors and mixed prints.
How is your personal style similar or different from your styling work?
They are quite different in one major way, which is color – I love playing with color and pattern in my work, but I wear almost none. In my closet, there is pretty much only black, white, grey and denim – lots and lots of denim!
Your client list is insane! What was your most memorable styling shoot you have ever done?
One of the first shoots I styled for New York Magazine was with Guy Aroch, we shot The Virgins and a group of their friends over a weekend at the Bowery Hotel. The concept was based on rock and roll photos of the Rolling Stones in the ’60s. It was amazing to watch it all come to life. I’ve also gotten to go to some incredible places for jobs – just recently I did a shoot for Clarks shoes in Death Valley, we were driving Land Rover Defenders through these jaw dropping canyons in 110 degree heat. It’s such an amazing, lucky thing to be able to travel for work. It never gets old.
Your background initially comes from studying art history. What piece of art completely mesmerizes you?
I could stare at Gerhard Richter’s abstractions for hours. But, my dad is an artist and I grew up watching him work in his studio, he is and will always be my favorite!
You did such a beautiful job styling the SS16 Whit show! What story were you trying to portray through the way you styled the clothes?
Thank you! Whit is an amazing designer and it’s been so wonderful working with her the past several seasons. Her pieces are so fresh and it’s really fun to mix prints and pop in key accessories to heighten the looks.
If you could style anyone in any industry, who would that person be?
Georgia O’Keeffe would have been fun.
You have written your first book, 50 Contemporary Fashion Designers You Should Know, back in 2012. Are you thinking of writing a new book about fashion styling in the future?
I definitely plan to work on another fashion book in the future! Right now, however, I’m working on a book project very close to my heart. My mother died two years ago and she had just nearly finished a book she’d been working on for almost five years. The book is called “Food City: Four Hundred Years of Food Making in New York.” It’s an epic account of NYC’s rich food history and it’s being published by Norton this spring. We have to raise quite a significant amount of money, though, to cover all of the costs incurred from additional editing of the text and images so I’m about to launch a big Kickstarter campaign. It’s been truly touching how many people in the food community and the publishing world are rallying around the book and contributing amazing rewards to my campaign — it’s a special thing to be able to do for my mom and it’s inspiring to have all this wonderful support. I’m really excited to have her work be out there in the world.
Any other projects in the works?
I am working on a design project with my friend and food writer, Colu Henry. I won’t say too much yet (Caftans!), but it’s new and exciting territory for both of us…
What’s your go-to outfit for a girls’ night out?
You mean girls’ night in? Jeans and a tee and a glass of wine!
What’s one of your beauty no-nos?
I wear very little makeup – mascara, some concealer and maybe some blush. People are always saying “do a lip,” but I was scared off lipstick early on when an old boss told me I looked “quite whorish” in it one morning. If that won’t do it, I don’t know what would!
Words of advice for future Boss Babes, specifically those looking to get into styling?
Styling is very much a collaboration — with the photographer, the hair and makeup, and often, with a client or designer. I think that while it’s always very important to bring your point of view and vision to the table, it can be just as important to listen and discuss. Because there is so much visual stimulus and collaboration in styling and on shoots, I think every stylist (and everyone!) should find time alone to quiet out the noise and get re-inspired. I like to leave my cell phone at home sometimes and go on walks around the city to be alone with my thoughts and ideas. Also, always be polite, don’t be a diva. And, most importantly: Invest in a truly comfortable pair of sneakers. There is no place for heels while running around to pulls or standing on set for 10 hour days.
Doria Santlofer is a freelance stylist, creative consultant and writer. She is of the rare breed we like to call "native New Yorkers", and she's got the "cool girl" style to prove it. She's one of those people that you see at an event or restaurant and you just know they are in the creative industry, because they look so effortless in what they're wearing. Her extremely impressive professional roster includes Teen Vogue, Wonderland, Details, Refinery 29, Target, Nordstrom Rack, ShopStyle, Clark’s and Gap (just to name a few). She also recently successfully funded a very personal project on Kickstarter. Needless to say, Doria is a very awesome lady and I really look up to her.
Continue reading to learn about where she likes to shop, how she keeps her head up when things get tough, and what makes her proud to be her!
Documentaries, making playlists, city walking, and lots of phone-free dinner conversations with my friends.
What’s your special sauce? That little trick you do before walking out the door to perk you up and make you feel your most you?
I put on some of my perfume oil, play whatever song I’m currently obsessing over (Drake), and kiss my cat, Norma Jean.
Who are your mentors? Who do you look up to?
My dad! He’s an artist and a writer. Not only is he one of my best friends, but he’s always been my creative mentor. All around, a pretty cool guy.
What makes you happy no matter what? Like if you’re having one of those no good rotten days where everything is terrible, what’s the thing that pulls you off the ledge?
Yoga, wine, pasta and the company of my best girl friends, they are very wise and have pulled me off of a few ledges. Professionally, though, when it feels like everything is falling apart, the one thing that truly helps is working on a creative project. When I get lost in something that is just for me, as hard as that can be on a dark day, the world is usually set right again.
Where do you shop for closet staples?
I wear a lot of vintage Levis. The 512s, which were only made in the 80s and 90s, are my favorite style so I’m always searching for pairs. For black and white tees I love Acne and Barking Irons, and Brandy Melville is my secret source for cheap ones.
Jeans and a black tank, tee, or turtleneck depending on the season plus white sneakers, oxfords or pumps, depending on where I’m going. I dress people everyday as my job, so I tend to stick to a pretty classic uniform when dressing myself.
Tell us a story. What is your earliest memory of making a conscious decision about your style?
I played dress up non-stop as a kid. I’m lucky to have a very fashion-forward grandmother with a walk-in closet the size of studio apartment. When I was younger, I’d spend hours in there putting outfits together. She is probably the reason I ended up becoming a stylist.
What’s something you struggle with in your career?
Enjoying my time off. As freelancer, my work schedule is always in flux. Some weeks I’ll have three jobs at once and then I’ll be off on a random Tuesday. I always try to fill my down time with personal projects, but I do think its important to rest and recharge when I’m not on a job and I often struggle with letting myself truly relax.
Tell us about a time when you hit a breaking point, a fork in the road? Have you ever wanted to quit and run away to Bali?
Can I leave tonight? I am not a big fan of New York winters…
What is the skill you picked up as a kid/teen that you still rely on today (i.e. teaching yourself html/powerpoint/etc., getting what you want from mom and dad, making a great sandwich)?
I have a theory that my parents forgot to teach me a lot of the 101 stuff- telling time on a clock, for instance, or tying my shoes the right way. But, I am blessed with lovely handwriting. I take all of my notes in an actual paper notebook and I send a lot of postcards to friends. I firmly believe that a pen on paper is the key to creative note-taking and expressive thought.
What are you most proud of thus far in your life? Can be career or non-career related.
I worked full time as the fashion editor at New York Magazine for several years and when I left to go freelance in 2010 it was definitely a really hard transition. I’m really thankful that I stuck with it because it only gets better and better. Within a couple of years I got an agent and now I get to work with so many amazing clients. On a personal level, I recently raised over $32k on Kickstarter for Food City, a book my mother had been working on when she died just over two years ago. I had no idea how involved the Kickstarter would be when I started and it was a very emotional process, but the outpouring of generosity, press and love was truly incredible. I feel very lucky that I had something tangible I could do for her- it was cathartic in a way- and I do feel very proud that I’ll be able to have a part in bringing her work into the world.
What is the one thing you throw on when you head out the door that gives you that warm glow from deep in the tummy that says, “I know I look good”?
Lip balm for sure. Anyone who knows me knows that I get a little stressed if I don’t have lip balm or water close by! A 100% battery charge on my iPhone gives me a warm feeling, too.
When Joy Santlofer died suddenly two years ago, her daughter Doria felt as though her world had been blown apart. Among the many pieces to pick up was Joy’s nearly finished book, an obsessively researched examination of the New York City food scene spanning a remarkable four centuries.
Even in the midst of her grief, the younger Santlofer could not bring herself to shut her mother’s life’s work away in a drawer. She resolved to pick up where Joy had left off, or at least find others who could. On Friday, Santlofer launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of Food City: Four Centuries of Food Making in New York.
Just hours after going live, the project had already raked in an impressive $11,304 of its $25,000 goal. With luck, the funds will go to an independent editor tasked with cutting, reorganizing, and polishing the manuscript, plus a photo editor who will select and curate accompanying photos.
In speaking about her mother, Doria recalls a dynamic woman whose passion for food spurred a late-life career change. Though she’d worked for market research companies most of her career, at age 50 Joy enrolled in New York University’s food studies program, earned a master’s degree, and began contributing to food studies journals and books.
Though always an energetic force with a penchant for seeking out below-the-radar Chinese joints and atmospheric neighborhood haunts, Joy was now consumed with the thought of food and the history behind it. From a loft in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, which she and artist husband Jonathan Santlofer had shared for more than 30 years, Joy began writing about the city she loved and the foods it had produced — from everyday fare favored by the earliest Dutch settlers to delicacies produced by today’s artisanal purveyors.
“It combined her two great loves, which were New York City and the origins of food manufacturing and the culture surrounding food in New York,” Doria recalled. At the time of Joy’s death, she’d been working on Food City for about six years, and her enthusiasm was palpable. “There was always this excitement around the project,” Doria said. “I was so happy for her.”
Doria says Food City has the potential to change the way people think about food and food manufacturing, but also hopes its finalization will bring her some closure as well.
“There is, of course, a bittersweet element,” she said. “The only person I want to tell about it is her. I wish, more than anything, that she can see how excited everyone is about it.”