“There’s a polished aspect [of dolls], where you want to present yourself a certain way. It works perfectly for some people for marketing purposes,” Michelle says. Just look at Beyoncé’s recent costumes, for example, on her Renaissance World Tour. The singer has taken up futuristic, chrome, and surrealist fashion elements to enhance her disco house–infused concert experience, aided by stylists Shiona Turini, KJ Moody, and Julia Sarr-Jamois.
Marketability and fashion can only get you so far, especially when trying to make an outfit look more like a choice and not a paid campaign. Sometimes, Michelle suggests, it’s important for stylists to acknowledge their client’s personal preferences in a thoughtful way. If not, they can start to feel like a walking ad. “I’m sure even some stylists have deals with brands [telling their clients] you have to wear this with the bag, the shoes, the sunglasses, and you can’t switch anything up. It’s an unfortunate case,” she says.
There have been times when I’ve gotten on the internet and felt that the heydey of well-crafted starlet styling happened years ago when glitz and glamor on red carpets corresponded more with personal choices rather than contractual obligations. Although some celebrities may only have a list of garments they can pull from a show based on their partnerships, the most versed stylists are able to craft a look that feels fresh and authentic to the talent they’re working with. In the case of Gen Z–focused stylist Tabitha Sanchez, a star’s accessories, hair, and makeup can really showcase their true personality.
“In an ideal world, everyone can mix and match and have fun and really showcase their personal style, but the conversation is a lot more nuanced than that. [The dolls showcased] are being dressed by designers for particular events,” Sanchez tells Who What Wear. She’s a fan of the Twitter thread, though. “Whenever clients of mine have to wear a particular designer, I like to have them look at the runway show or lookbooks as well to see what stands out to them, and then I’ll do the same, and we’ll see where we overlap and go from there,” she says.