Ever wonder what it’s like to be a celebrity stylist? Ask Xavier LeBron
Los Angeles is our hometown and aside from the fabulous weather and epic sunsets, one of the most exciting aspects of life here is all the media and entertainment that’s permeates every part of the city. Industry proximity means we see plenty of outlandish styles out and about on influencers and celebrities, but it also means the presence of an entire local ecosystem of wardrobe, style, and beauty professionals that work almost exclusively behind the scenes.
Xavier LeBron is a Hollywood celebrity stylist and creative director based in Los Angeles whose eccentric style and attention to detail has garnered him a steady following of celebrity clients. We reached him to ask more about life in the industry and how his job differs from more commercial, brand-driven creative direction and styling.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background. What led you to where you are today, as a freelance celebrity stylist in Hollywood/Los Angeles?
A: When I first entered fashion, my focus was on the business side, reserving styling and design projects as a creative outlet for a few clients. Early in my career, I took a contract post in London and it snowballed into a career in styling rather quickly. The majority of my projects were commercial: styling look-books, adverts, a few red carpet and press appearances.
I had just moved back to New York and only two months in, I was brought on to work on Madonna’s press tour for Rebel Heart. Not too long after, I was asked about relocating to Los Angeles to work under her team. Once I arrived, I was poached by an agency and I was throw back into the freelance celebrity stylist world!
Q: Let’s get this one out of the way. Which of your current or former clients would we have heard of? Feel free to name-drop!
A: Haha, I don’t want to name-drop toooo much, but here are some of the most fun ones I’ve worked with: Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, and Thandie Newton.
Q: What does your daily work look like? What are the main elements of being a celebrity stylist?
A: On a busy week, like during award season or if I’m double-booked on productions, I generally start and end my days by researching new brands and reaching out to showrooms and designers to prep for my fittings during the week. If time permits, I’ll shop online. I try to carve as much time for researching and pulling options as possible. I tend to bring a lot of options to my fittings and push extra looks on my clients.
The main elements of being a good stylist are an equal mix of industry knowledge, client rapport, and the right tools by way of your “styling kit.”
My “styling kit” always has a foundation of basics and underpinnings like neutral-colored bodysuits, high-waisted briefs, tights. Also, double-stick tape and safety pins are my best friends.
Q: How do you approach a creative brief? What is the selection, sourcing, and editing process like?
A: I know several celebrity stylists that focus on finding the exact pieces/moods that a client presents in a brief. I tend to take a more wholistic approach and think “how can we make this better than the reference presented?” It’s easy to make a client happy, but I like to push them further and within that creative negotiation is where amazing ideas spring forth.
Q: You must work across aesthetics, brands, designers, and garment price points. Does celebrity stylist work give you a window into trends or what is about to be “trending” or is it completely a separate thing from consumer fashion?
A: Trend forecasting is a crucial element of my work, but more often than not, clients lean on historical references or what they know works for them, rather than emerging trends. I let my clients’ day-to-day needs dictate what works for them, rather than what’s on trend now. If a client looks best with flare trousers, I have no hesitation pushing a look from several seasons ago.
Q: Are there brands that are more highly sought-after by celebrities and for campaigns, or does it vary by project/context?
A: My client base runs the gamut; from one that will only wear sustainable and vegan, to one that only wears corsets and Swarovski crystals.
Q: Los Angeles is rapidly becoming the most relevant U.S. city in global fashion (eclipsing New York). Why do you think that is?
A: The proximity of celebrities, coupled with its elevated standard of living, has made Los Angeles a hotbed for creatives to work. In New York, for example, there’s no escaping the gravity and stimulation of the city. LA is such a sprawling town with neighborhoods and spots where you can get away and recharge. Also, social media and influencer culture has been an effective force in championing LA as an aspirational home for creative energy.
Q: Do you work with local designers and brands? Which ones are your favorites and why?
A: Greg Lauren has created one-of-a-kind pieces for several projects I’ve worked on.
Another talent that has quickly become my go-to is Mike Amiri. His brand DNA is quintessential LA and the details of his work are always impeccably clever and cool. I recently used one of his handbags for a shoot and loved the amp plug detail he applied to the closure. It’s so LA!
Q: When you shop for clients, what are your local go-to shops? What about for yourself?
A: I often shop at Just One Eye and Maxfield for clients. Their buy is always so luxe and I always manage to find something that excites my client, as well as an item or two I save my lunch money for.
I’ve spend entire afternoons ping-ponging between departments at Dover Street Market shopping for myself. I always leave with a haul of streetwear, fun leather goods, and gifts for friends and clients. The best finds in my closet however are from H. Lorenzo, including a super cool pair of twill Bottega Veneta trousers and the most beautiful nappa leather jacket!
Q: What’s your personal style philosophy? Are there any principles that you live by?
A: Your wardrobe should consist of timeless staples and works of art. It should be impossible to part with any given piece of your wardrobe.
Fast fashion depends on you borrowing an identity short-term, creating waste. Dressing based on trends versus what speaks to your soul is not style. I still own pieces from many years ago because I wear what I like.
I always say to myself and to my clients: “Don’t bore me, don’t bore yourself.”
Q: What do you like to wear? What are your favorite brands or designers?
A: If I’m splurging, I tend to like Prada or Bottega Veneta. A lot of my day-to-day work wardrobe is Jacquemus or Maison Margiela.
I just discovered the streetwear brand Brain Dead and instantly fell in love. I probably wear something from them every other day.
Q: Are there any emerging designers that you particularly like or plan to watch? What’s hot in LA right now?
A: Cult Gaia is an LA staple and I literally love every look from MONSE since their inception. Unravel is super cool and super LA.
Q: From the site, what are the top 5 looks you’d build for a client?
LOOK 1 is 100% Red Carpet ready: a Balmain silver fringed top, this Pinko fringed metallic wrap skirt, Moschino Beer Can earrings, Casadei 130mm “Blade” heels in silver glitter. OR alternatively, for something slightly softer, with Bottega Veneta silk trousers and this Maison Margiela Tabi evening bag.
LOOK 2 is a classic day-to-night or work-appropriate look: a Burberry black and tan trench (a nice twist on the classic style), Prada lipstick-motif cashmere sweater, Saint Laurent leather skinny trousers, and The Attico pink tied-slingback satin heels.
LOOK 3 is quintessential cocktail hour look: a Nanushka leather-look button-down blouse, a Prada embroidered leather skirt, these platform Maison Margiela clogs (super fun!), and gold Alexander McQueen spider earrings.
LOOK 4 is suitable for any party or celebratory moment: a Saint Laurent sequined strapless top with Prada paillettes trousers, a Givenchy pearly headband, Alexander McQueen heeled sandals, all capped by a sheer Dolce & Gabbana double-breasted trench coat. OR a slightly different look is with these The Attico tied-slingback satin heels.
LOOK 5 is the sort of thing you might see on the sidelines of a runway show: a Prada black nappa leather jacket, a Bottega Veneta black ribbed cardigan, a Thom Browne high-waist miniskirt, and a Maison Margiela Glam Slam black puffy handbag, and white Alexandre Vauthier boots. OR to dress it down a bit, substitute a pink A.P.C. hoodie with these white Stella McCartney platform Elyse sneakers. ever the LA daytime “who is she?!” look.
Q: As a longtime Angeleno insider, what are your favorite spots in LA to eat, drink, and shop (for gifts, books, gourmet food)? Favorite bars? Are there any places you would suggest our readers not miss if they visit?
SHOP: Mohawk General Store and House of Intuition. ROW DTLA (777 Alameda St) is awesome for strolling the shops and buying super rare and special gifts. Erewhon Market is a must if you’re visiting LA. Its fun to stock up on post-hike snacks and juices.
BARS: The Friend Bar, Harriet’s Rooftop, Edendale.
EAT: Café Gratitude, Speranza, Dune, Jeni’s Ice Cream.
Q: What does a quintessential “stylish day in LA” look like? Where to go, what to do/see, etc.?
A: Wake up, go home (just kidding!), hike up to Runyon Canyon, head to Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese to compile a cheese plate and a good rose to bring to El Matador beach later.
More about Xavier LeBron: with a career that began in Paris, his aesthetic is lauded as impeccable, unexpected and irreverent, and it was this point-of-view that landed him the opportunity to make an impact on a global scale.
Early in his career, LeBron helped to ignite the luxury goods sphere in the Middle East, commanding the Western market to take notice. LeBron’s savor-faire to activate a brand has led to him to work with celebrities, influencers, and broker exclusive partnerships for top brands like Victoria Beckham, Land Rover, and Nordstrom. As fashion’s gatekeeper for the market, designers are keen to secure his perspective and knowledge for their own collections and campaigns; he has cosigned on the most influential and anticipated shows in the fashion week schedule and is a highly-sought celebrity stylist.
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