André Leon Talley

When the daily newsletter theSkimm asked André Leon Talley to tell their readers who is he is, he answered as with the following:

"I’m a larger-than-life fashion personage with a great deal of gravitas, having gone through five decades of fashion. . . . I’ve been at the forefront of great fashion moments in the 20th century and 21st century. So I’ve been through the chiffon trenches."

And while that is a lovely and vivid description it doesn't actually answer the question. The answer is that he is currently a contributing editor at Vogue after leaving his position as editor-at-large of the publication, a title he held from 1998 through 2013.

image via Vogue.com

Talley studied French as an undergrad at North Carolina Central University, going on to earn his Masters, and originally hoped to teach the language. After graduation however, he took at a job working for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine for $50 a week as well as volunteering for Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the late seventies Talley worked for both Women's Wear Daily and W magazine, continuing to expand his already impressive professional network.

In 1983 he landed the job of Fashion News Director at Vogue, eventually working his way to Creative Director (alongside Grace Coddington) before leaving to work for W in Paris. As a creative director, Talley helped to style and direct the fashion editorial shoots appearing in Vogue. Similarly to Coddginton, Talley became somewhat of an accidental celebrity after appearing in the documentary The September Issue. His celebrity grew after he joined the judging panel of America's Next Top Model from cycle 14 through 17. He is perhaps most recognizable because of his penchant for dramatic fashion, particularly over-sized caftans.

Talley has long been a champion for African American designers and has consistently pushed for more diversity in fashion magazines, both in terms of models and designers.

Fast Facts:
- He was raised in Washington D.C. by his grandmother, Bennie
- Talley has a Masters in French Studies from Brown University which he attended on scholarship
- Out magazine ranked him 45th in their 2007 list of '50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America'
- He appeared in the Sex and the City movie and in an episode of Empire
- Talley is close friends with Serena Williams, Kimora Lee Simons, and Mariah Carey
 

Jenna Lyons

Some consider J.Crew the best store to stock up on wardrobe staples, others think of it a place to splurge on one special piece. Either way J.Crew has surely solidified itself as a necessary American brand and much of the credit for that success is due to Creative Director Jenna Lyons, the woman who thinks sequins are the new black.

image via Glamour.com

Lyons first became creative director in 2008 and has worked for J.Crew since she was 21. "I was an assistant to an assistant" she told Cindi Leive in an interview with Glamour. Her actual title was assistant designer in menswear and her first task was to redesign men's rugby shirts for the brand. She quickly worked her way up the ranks to the point that now I can barely imagine a J.Crew without her. Her signature style of mixing well tailored basics with loud, sometimes over-the-top details like sequins or feathers has become the new norm for the brand. And if you think her outfits look like they have been copied and pasted from a J.Crew catalog, then you would be absolutely spot on. Lyons is responsible for changing the catalog to a "Style Guide" meant to more closely resemble a fashion magazine editorial. Her influence on the styling and design of the guide is undeniable and many see Lyons as completely synonymous with the J.Crew woman.

Lyons was born Judith, not Jenna, in Boston, MA but moved to Palos Verdes, CA at the age of four. She was born with a genetic condition called incontinentia pigmenti which causes scarring, hair loss, and tooth problems. She began taking sewing classes at 11 partly as a solution to the problem of finding clothes to fit her lanky frame and partly as an escape from the bullying endured from her classmates. it wasn't long however, before fellow students began admiring her talent as a budding designer. "A girl in social studies passed me a note saying, "I like your skirt." I was like, Is this for me? It was major (Glamour)." She was named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year in 2012 and currently holds a much revered position on the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Board of Directors. In the latter position she assists in choosing the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalists and winners.

images via 1. Instagram @theOutsiderBlog // 2. WhoWhatWear // 3. Jean Stories // 4. Vogue UK // 5. Vanity Fair // 6. Madame Le Figaro // 7. Elle // 8. How To Spend It // 9. WWD // 10. Jean Stories // 11. Vogue // 12. Where did U Get That // 13. Style and Forks // 14. Elle // 15. Popsugar

Fast Facts:
- Because of her genetic condition she wears dentures
- She graduated from Parsons Design School in 1990
- She has a son Beckett with artist Vincent Mazeau
- Lyons currently resides in Tribeca with her son and girlfriend Courtney Grangi
- She owns almost 300 pairs of shoes as seen in this video (and I want them all...)

 

Monica Rose

Though it may be done reluctantly, it can't be doubted that the Kardashian-Jenner women have surely solidified themselves as true fashion mavens whose style is beginning to define a generation. But one look at images of Kim in her early days as Paris Hilton's sidekick and you'll quickly remember they weren't always so fabulously styled. The secret behind their no-fail wardrobes and constant outfit hits is none other than stylist to the stars Monica Rose.

image via  theCoveteur.com

image via theCoveteur.com

After working in retail for many years, Rose switch the styling in 2003 taking on any and every styling opportunity she coudl find. All that hard work seems to have really paid off as she can now count celebrities like Michelle Rodriguez, Rebecca Romjin, Gabriel Union, Kevin Bacon, and Giuliana Rancic as clients. Rose's has credited her work in retail as important to her skill in dressing different body types. She creates both everyday and special event looks for her clients, always staying true to her aesthetic of sexy simplicity.

So what is most important when trying to put together a stylist and flattering look? "Anything tailored to perfection! I think that is key— even my street style looks are tailored for my clients' bodies," (as told to Kerry Pieri of Harper's Bazaar).

Looks styled by Monica Rose

Fast Facts
- In 2015 Rose designed a jewelry collection with retailer Sarah Chloe
- She continues to expand her client list and just began working with Kaia Gerber, model and daughter of Cindy Crawford
- Visit her website at MonicaRose.com
 

header image via HarpersBazaar.com // styled looks via Pinterest

Grace Coddington

Most ladies and gents don't read Vogue for actual shopping advice. The editorial spreads aren't meant to inspire you to go out to the local Givenchy boutique to pick up a few ballgowns or holographic leather jackets (but hey, if it does then absolutely go for it!). Instead they are meant to show the fantasy and fun of fashion. At least, that's the way Vogue's legendary creative director Grace Coddington sees them.

image via MyDomaine.com

Coddington only recently left her position as American Vogue's creative director, a position she held from 1988 through 2015, to pursue other projects as a creative director at large, meaning she can work with all versions of Condé Nast publications including international editions. During her tenure at the infamous publication, Coddington helped create some of the most iconic fashion images with her ultra-romantic styling and fantastical view on the power of fashion in imagery.

She began her career in fashion at age 17 after winning the Young Model section of a Vogue modeling contest. Coddington modeled for the next nine years before a car crash at the age of 26 left her missing one eyelid. It was later fixed with reconstructive plastic surgery, but effectively ended her modeling prospects. She then met with Beatrix Miller, an editor at British Vogue who promptly hired her as a junior editor in 1969. Coddington worked at the British publication for 19 years before moving to New York to work briefly for Calvin Klein, and then at American Vogue.

Some of Coddington's work for Vogue. All images via Vogue.com

She has long been a influential figure in fashion but suddenly found herself something of an accidental celebrity after appearing in the 2009 documentary The September Issue. In the film she is portrayed as a foil to Anna Wintour, the two women pushing one another to create the best issue possible while simultaneously pushing one another's buttons. Both she and Wintour are excellent examples of strong and forceful working women without falling into the stereotype of being a "bitch", a label all too often forced upon women in high power positions.

Check back to see updates on Grace Coddington's work as a creative director at large.

Fast Facts
- Coddington and Anna Wintour started on their careers at Vogue on the same day in 1988
- She was temporarily banned from Instagram after just one post — a cartoon of herself tanning topless
- As a teenager in rural Wales, Coddington got all her fashion magazines delivered almost 3 months late
- She recently launched her own fragrance which will be available in April 2016
- She adores cats, as everyone should