We sat down with celebrity stylist Angie Smith in her home in South-West London to talk personal style and breaking the fashion industry (and a few bones on the way, too).
It’s not often a broken arm can lead to a career in celebrity styling.
But for Angie Smith, it was having her arm in a sling that first got her thinking about fabrics and their endless possibilities. She explains: “The doctor made a sling and showed how to fold it and I thought it was amazing. I started playing around with my mum’s sarongs, seeing how many different styles I could create out of one piece of fabric.”
A childhood accident paid dividends, and Angie now works as a celebrity stylist from her studio in Clapham, South-West London. She got her first job in the industry as fashion assistant for FHM while studying at university, but it was at Fabulous magazine she met Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer. It would prove to be a breakthrough for Angie, who began styling the magazine’s celebrity shoots: “I worked on a few covers and the people I styled kept asking if they could book me for other jobs.”
When styling her clients, including TV stars Holly Willoughby, Christine Lampard and Davina McCall, Angie likes to keep things informal at first, before nailing down the direction they want to take their style. She explains: “I like to meet new clients for a cuppa and a chat. People are so different when it comes to how they want clothes to make them feel and look. I try to understand ‘them’ as early on as possible.” After an initial session, Angie assembles a rail of options for her client. They take pictures and discuss what works and what doesn’t: “It’s a real collaboration and a continually evolving relationship. That’s what I love about the job.”
Her words of advice those wanting to break into the industry? “Approach a stylist you admire and ask if you can do a work placement. Impress them and make yourself indispensable.”
What three items should every woman own?
“An amazing dress, the perfect pair of jeans and a piece of jewellery that makes you feel special.”
A MATTER OF STYLE
When it comes to her own style, Angie likes to keep things relaxed but fun, ideal for someone who’s always on the go: “I love colour and I like to feel comfortable so it’s trainers, t-shirts, jeans and easy dresses all the way. Also, if I can’t run in something it’s coming straight off!”
Get the look
When it comes to helping other women find and develop their own style, her advice is simple: “Don’t rush it, and spark ideas by turning to the things that inspire you, such as interiors, art, music or characters in films. Create a moodboard and take pictures of what you wear every day. You’ll start to find pieces you feel comfortable in and identify with most.”
What three items does she think every woman should own? “An amazing dress you can put on and all will be right with the world – instant mood lifter! Second, the perfect pair of jeans that make you feel fantastic, and a piece of jewellery that makes you feel special when you wear it.”