What’s it like to be a stylist to the rich and famous? Lifetime‘s new hit TV show, Million Dollar Shoppers, gives a peek into how it’s like to shop for those with almost unlimited budgets. Styling a celeb is no easy task — not only do you have to work with a lot of strong personalities, but you’re also coming up with a large part of their image and essentially, their signature style (which will, no doubt, be on a platform to be judged by millions).
These behind-the-scenes gurus are a huge part of what celebrities are rocking on the red carpet and to the store. So how does one make it there? I got a chance to interview Derek Roche, who was offered a job as Sean Combs‘ full time personal stylist. Not only does he come armed with a client roster of A-listers like Nicki Minaj, Kobe Bryant, Jason Derulo, Roche also consults for companies like Estée Lauder, Nike, Hublot and more. He shares some insight into his world of styling and insider tips exclusively with Beauty and the Feast!Read on!
Beauty and the Feast: Tell me a little bit about your journey to styling bigs like Sean Combs and Nicki Minaj.
Derek Roche: Referrals, referrals, referrals — always work hard because someone is definitely watching! I started as an intern in fashion my junior year in college with Patricia Field’s company. After college, I moved to New York with no job but did land another fashion internship at Vibe magazine. That definitely gave me the bug to work in fashion.
BATF: How did you manage living in New York on just an internship?
Roche: The reality is the jobs did not simply start pouring in, so I worked retail at the GAP and continued interning. A good friend actually got promoted at Ralph Lauren and she insisted I give her my resume, and lo and behold, I landed a receptionist gig at Ralph Lauren. I couldn’t wait to answer a ringing phone! From there, I went to assist an editor at Conde Nast and ultimately my former boss at Vibe called and offered me a position as the market editor for men’s and women’s fashion – I couldn’t believe it!
BATF: How did you make the jump from magazines to celebs?
Roche: I worked there until a friend referred me to Sean Diddy Combs as his personal stylist and after a rigorous interview process, I was offered the position. I’ve worked with him for almost seven years now!
BATF: How’s styling an athlete like Kobe Bryant like?
Roche: Kobe Bryant’s personality is as big as his success. He is super fun! He likes to try new things, yet he is a stickler for fit and detail. I can’t get one pass on him – on or off the court!
BATF: What kind of celebrity is the most fun to style?
Roche: The client who is honest about their personal style and body type…once you can agree on those two things, then it’s time to play! It’s awesome just to vibe and try new things until we find those killer moments that can’t be denied are to die for.
BATF: You’re working with somewhat unlimited budgets–how do you pare it down? I can’t even imagine the options…
Roche: I guess you can compare it to an all-you-can-eat buffet! But I have to be realistic with the needs of my client and make sure that at the end of the day, the items are appropriate and within whatever specifics they provided aside from the budget. Word from the wise: don’t forget the high/low factor! Never be afraid to mix a designer handbag with a pair of Levi’s and a Gap tee!
BATF: What is one of the craziest things you’ve had to hunt down?
Roche: Authentic royal regalia in Paris for a photoshoot at Versailles with Mark Seliger.
BATF: What are staple pieces that should be in every man’s and woman’s wardrobe?
Roche: For men, a black tee, awesome fitting jeans, blazer, and Converse Chuck Taylors. For women, a white tee, amazing statement necklace, black cocktail dress, and basic black pumps.
BATF: Can you give me some tips to simplify layering clothes?
Roche: Start with the weather and where you’re going…is your layer a jacket or a flannel button down? Is your underpinning an oversized silk blouse or a burnt-out razor back tank? After you get those down then figure out how you want to wear them: serious and classy or fun and sporty.