Making It: Christina Pacelli
Meet Christina Pacelli, a top celebrity stylist extraordinaire and true power player in fashion. For Pacelli, working in fashion doesn't seem like a career choice, but a fate that she could not resist. After getting her start as an intern to stylist Mark Holmes, Pacelli's career took off as a stylist to celebrities like Laverne Cox and Lauren Adams. She's made her mark in the industry by dressing clients who typically don't fit the standard sample size. These days she bounces between styling clients and editorial shoots for Elle and major publications. I had the pleasure of catching up with Christina about her fashion emergency kit, styling secrets and more importantly, the one closet staple she can't live without!
INTERVIEW BY: SOMI BASATHIA
Describe your personal style in three words.
Edgy. Cool. Glamorous.
How did you first get into styling?
Growing up I always followed an accelerated goal path - I graduated early from UCLA and started working in entertainment public relations. But I thought about working as a fashion stylist for years. One of my friends whom worked for Jennifer Lopez’s style team suggested I look into it and sort of sparked my interest and curiosity in it. I moved to New York with my husband where I had an offer from a major PR agency on the Samsung team and I declined it. I took a leap of faith and started from the ground up in the fashion industry. I started working with my own clients within a short time. Being a stylist isn't something you learn in a textbook, you learn by experience and in practice.
Who are your style icons?
Celebrity stylist Kate Young keeps the work with her clients so fresh. She is fashion forward and never falls into a 'safe’ zone.
What's the most challenging part about your job?
You would be surprised but there's a lot of work and preparation that goes into the creation of one look.
At the end of the day, my job is very rewarding and I love interacting with different personalities, meeting creative people and making new friends.
You're based in NYC but originally from Los Angeles. How do you like NYC and what do you miss most about LA?
I definitely miss the sunshine! I also miss the beach and riding my road bike in Santa Monica. I love hiking in Topanga Canyon, trail running in Runyon Canyon and quick weekend getaways to Palm Springs and Big Sur. Oh and I really, really miss my CAR! From a work perspective, having a car is so nice.
On the other hand, being in NYC puts me at the heart of fashion. More fashion editorials take place in NYC whereas Los Angeles has a larger focus on celebrity and red carpet. More designers are based in NYC so I can access their showrooms and see their collections first hand on any given day.
What is your number one, go-to spot for shopping in New York? In Los Angeles?
In New York, Soho which has arguably the best shopping in the country within a short distance. Kirna Zabete's boutique does a great job curating and identifying emerging designers alongside offering established, high-end labels.
I also love Patron of New, IF and Opening Ceremony in New York.
In LA, I love going to Barneys and Maxfield.
What's in your fashion emergency kit?
I wouldn't know where to begin! A whole organized microsystem with the tools for my job. One time an airline lost my kit and that really sucked. It has everything from tapes, pins, labels and a sewing kit.
Best style tip for women?
Prioritize fit before anything. Fit is everything. I suggest having a good tailor on standby. 70% of my wardrobe is tailored.
Laverne Cox always looks effortlessly chic and classy. What do you about when dressing her? What type of pieces do you generally reach for when styling her?
Laverne Cox is very fun to work with. She's always open to try new things. She has great ideas and an innate fashion sensibility.
Where do you look to for reference and inspiration when dressing your clients?
I spent a lot of time researching for new and emerging designers, and trends coming onto my radar. Instagram is a big tool. In a click, I can see a designer’s new collection, trends they’re creating or following, their inspiration, who they’re dressing...Instagram can create a visual inspiration moodboard for someone within a matter of minutes.
On your bucket list?
Take a year-long sabbatical with my husband to travel the world. We prioritize travel in our lives and are always planning our next adventure.
Favorite Coffee Shop in NYC?
La Colombe! They have delicious coffee and cookies too.