Vintage Levi’s, Dr Martens and a black shoulder bag are the building blocks for a timelessly stylish wardrobe, a stylist who creates looks for Hollywood’s biggest stars has revealed.
Sophie Shannon, 26, is a senior stylist with Mimi Cuttrell, 28, a California-born celebrity stylist who dresses world-class supermodels and music megastars when they’re off the runway and resting between tours.
Sophie, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, believes the best wardrobes are built around nine basic pieces, starting with a chunky pair of flat black boots, high-waisted denim jeans and a silk camisole top.
The costume design graduate says accessories should begin with a classic black shoulder bag, large enough to hold your phone, keys and wallet but sleek enough to wear to dinner, and cat-eye sunglasses which flatter almost every face shape.
The rest should rotate according to season, with an over-sized blazer with shoulder pads for spring, a slip-style mini-dress and open-toe strappy heels for summer, and a statement coat for autumn and winter.
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Dublin-born costume design graduate Sophie Shannon, 26, who is now a senior stylist with top celebrity stylist Mimi Cuttrell
Sophie (pictured in Paris in February 2020) believes every woman’s wardrobe should be based around nine key pieces, including chunky flat boots, vintage jeans and a silk camisole top
After graduating with a degree in costume design in the summer of 2017, Sophie left Dublin for New York to start a sought-after internship with editorial stylist George Cortina, the contributing fashion editor at the Wall Street Journal.
‘The basis of costume design is understanding the character you’re designing pieces for and creating accordingly. In a sense, the world of styling is just an extension of that process,’ Sophie told Daily Mail Australia.
Nine pieces for a capsule wardrobe
1. Chunky day boots
2. Open-toe strappy heels
3. A baguette purse
4. Vintage high-waisted denim jeans
5. A sexy silk camisole
6. A slip-style mini-dress
7. A vintage blazer with shoulder pads
8. A statement coat
9. Cat-eye sunglasses
Two days into the job she found herself on the set of a photoshoot for Vogue Italia, a surreal experience that left her ‘feeling quite shell shocked’.
‘I was on cloud nine, it was a different world,’ she said.
Her skill was quickly noted and Sophie was hired as one of four on the global press team for Marc Jacobs, one of America’s top designers, loaning runway looks to magazines and photographers and dressing A-list celebrity clients.
One year later in September 2018, shortly after working on the New York Fashion Week premiere of Marc Jacobs spring/summer collection, a friend introduced her to Mimi Cuttrell who was looking to hire a new member of her styling team.
‘We met and the rest is history!’ she said.
Sophie is now her senior stylist, working on all client dressings and look requests from Paris, France.
‘It’s been of huge value to me,’ she said of her experience with Cuttrell.
‘Mimi’s achieved a lot of extraordinary things in a short space of time and it’s a privilege to work for her.’
Sophie beams on a skiing holiday in the French Alps during a short break from Paris where she works pulling looks and styling clients for Mimi
Worth the investment: Sophie in Soho, New York wearing a Chloe mini-backpack (left) and her favourite Dr Martens boots (right) – two accessories she says every woman should spend on
Working in the notoriously demanding, fast-paced fashion industry has taught Sophie to push the boundaries of her creativity while staying ultra-organised at all times.
‘I’ve definitely become accustomed to thinking fast on my feet, to expect the unexpected and not to drop the ball on anything, ever!’ she said.
Her favourite designers are Jean Paul Gaultier, Rick Owens and Thierry Mugler, the man behind Kim Kardashian’s iconic ‘dripping wet’ corset dress for the 2019 Met Gala.
But whenever possible, Sophie loves styling clients in lesser-known labels to shine a spotlight on talent teetering on the periphery of mainstream fashion.
‘I love seeing up-and-coming designers killing it, especially when I consider them a favourite. It’s always special to see their looks worn,’ she said.
Sophie in Brooklyn, New York during her time at Marc Jacobs, where she worked on runway shows like the 2019 S/S collection premiered at New York Fashion Week in September 2018
The skilled stylist (pictured in New York in January 2019) has always marched to the beat of her own sartorial drum and loves to dress clients in up-and-coming designers
Sophie’s swift ascension to the inner circle of fashion’s elite has not been without hard graft, and her best advice to aspiring stylists is to accept every job that’s offered.
‘I have not passed up an opportunity to this day,’ she said.
‘Although not every role is going to be your dream one, I think it’s important to get a rounded view of the industry you’re interested in.
‘I’ve also found that sometimes the thing you suspect you won’t enjoy can be quite the opposite.’
Three pieces worth investing in
1. Vintage Levi’s jeans
Sophie says you ‘can’t go wrong’ with vintage denim. She picked up a passion for thrifting while living in New York and always stops for a good quality pair of Levi’s.
‘Another style I adore right now are the ($188 AUD) Dianas from Mimi’s collab with 3×1,’ she said.
‘It’s the perfect denim, great for tall girls who are looking for a pant that grazes the ground.’
2. A black handbag for day and night
Sophie believes it’s worth investing in a classic everyday bag that also works for evening wear.
While tastes vary, her top investment picks are the Alexander Wang cross-body ($665), Prada nylon baguette ($1,030) or Chloe miniature backpack (sold out).
‘I love not having to worry about changing my bag or swapping out items inside,’ she said.
3. Dr Martens boots
Sophie says perhaps the most important investment is a good quality pair of boots.
Her favourites include iconic Dr Martens ($349), Alexander Wang’s black vinyl Mascha heeled boots ($804) and Celine Madame leather ankle boots (sold out).