Friday, January 20, 2012

First Look Fridays: Stylist Leanne Ford

I had the pleasure of meeting Leanne Ford about a year ago. We were on a flight together from Pittsburgh to New York, and the second I met her -- wearing this fabulous long fur coat and rocking a fedora and oversized shades -- I adored her. Leanne's fashion sense is completely on point and she's brilliant and sweet to boot. Read on to find out which footwear she can't help but rock, the fragrance she can't live without and so much more.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Pittsburgh and went to Ohio University. (Such a fun school!) They didn’t have a fashion program, only retail and merchandising, which was not exactly what I wanted, so I just designed my own major. I took all the classes I wanted to take -- Art, Advertising, PR, Retail -- and combined them to learn everything I wanted. AND a perk was I got out of econ and accounting!

I also did an internship for a full quarter of credits and designed my own line in college for fun, Messandmod, then got school credit for it. Really that started because I was just making all my own clothes in college, or at least spray painting them all! I graduated early, got in my friend's car and moved to this teensy apartment in NYC to work for free for a little (but very well known) fashion line, Heatherette. The stories from that time are wild. And those guys really inspired me to keep following whatever crazy dreams I could think of.

How did you first become interested in fashion, and what led you to become a stylist?
I guess to be honest I was never really interested in “fashion” so much as creating things. I have always loved being creative and clothes are just one way to do that. I don’t care about brands or trends, but I love making things look interesting or clean or crazy based on a mood. I went from design, to PR, to owning a company, to being a fashion editor, to styling.

Let's talk designers. Who are some of your favorites and why?
Love all things Alexander Wang. Clean lines and cool downtown vibe. Love Chloe just simply based on their history and beauty. And I'm really into Etro, I plan to wear that all the time with tons of turquoise and silver. And then buy a place in Topanga Canyon!

Is there a shoot that's stood out as one of your favorites? What made it special?
My favorite shoots are always the travel ones. Mexico, the Bahamas, Alaska, Costa Rica, Argentina ... any shoot that feels like you are all traveling and in it together, it makes for great pictures. At the end of it you feel like you're saying goodbye to all your summer camp friends, hugging goodbye and promising to write! I have made some great friends from those shoots.

What are your top 5 fashion essentials and why?

1) My black leather motorcycle jacket.

2) Boots! Any and all boots. Especially my Frye brown boots that I added some cowboy flair to the back heel.

3) Sequins. But only the vintage kind. And all forms.

4) Vintage fur coats.

5) Long dresses for daytime AND nighttime!

And how about your top 5 beauty essentials?

1) Mascara, mascara, mascara. My go to! My fave is YSL.

2) Now that I'm a (new) blonde I love wearing red lipstick, and then I put some of it on my cheeks so I look rosy.

3) I've been using Booth's moisturizing lotion and eye cream which feel good.

4) I love two go-to perfumes: Dolce & Gabanna Light Blue and Bulgari Au The Blanc.

5) My new favorite secret weapon is Chanel Le Blanc Whitening Concentrate Continuous Action. It feels so good. And I swear the first day I used it I was on set and the makeup artist told me I had amazing skin. Instant results!

What are your top 3 style and fashion tips?
1) Forget sizes! Try things on. Take the bigger and smaller sizes into the dressing room and try on a couple different options and just see what sits and drapes best on you.

2) Get creative. If you surround yourself with creative souls that don't judge and have fun with life and clothes and fashion you will feel more open to trying new things and finding YOUR style. Don't let the squares stifle you!

3) If you really feel it, then wear it. People are so quick to judge style and what's "in" and what's "out." And this may be against all stylist code books but I say, if you really love it then rock it. Ideally, it's flattering or interesting, or something, but ... do your thing! I can go through and tell you exactly what looks good on you and what's on point in fashion, but unless you are feeling good in it there is no reason to wear it!

Being a stylist must be fun, but what do you do in your spare time?
Oh that's when the real fun happens! That's actually why I am a stylist, I believe in living a good life first and foremost. Your job is just a means of facilitating that. I just didn't want to ask anyone for two weeks vacation anymore. I'm constantly traveling, working on the one room school house my husband and I bought (meettheshaffers.com) and writing. I write a lot of songs now with my Nashville friends, Escondido, Jess Maros, Carey Kotsionis, Nikki Lane. That's my newest creative outlet these days.

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