Fashion Masochist: My Celebrity Stylist

By Rachel Baker | Boston Magazine |

With self-touted “professional dressers” turning up everywhere, Rachel Baker learns you don’t have to be an out-of-control starlet to be styled like one.

Ever since celebrity outfitter Rachel Zoe earned boldface status by transforming Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan into designer-whoring paparazzi queens (and carbon copies of herself, in all her emaciated, Chanel-loving, jumbo shades–wearing glory), anyone who ever had a Barbie doll and a subscription to Vogue has started billing herself as a stylist. Though I’m fond of my own taste, when newly launched Boston company Stilista offers me a makeover, I decide to accept.

The Pitch: CEO Alice Miles—whose experience dressing others, I discover, is limited to the mannequins at Louis—will clothe, accessorize, and beautify me for three events and, in true Zoe form, accompany me to each. I give her free rein over all my looks, and hardly glance in the mirror until it’s showtime—and too late to change.

1. Movie Premiere
For the Boston debut of Maria Menounos’s In the Land of Merry Misfits, Miles assembles my ensemble at Neiman Marcus in Boston. Prada! Chanel! Missoni! I silently cheer. Instead, she chooses a floaty Cynthia Steffe dress and a Vince sweater, both with disappointingly modest price tags. She and Stilista co-owner Maria Vasilevsky handle my hair, makeup, and outfit, down to tying the laces on my booties. The finished product, with accessories and a sleek low ponytail, turns out quite nicely. It’s very me—so much so that when, post-premiere, I run into my boss’s wife at the Liberty Hotel bar, she’s shocked to learn it didn’t come from my own closet.

2. Opening Party
For the soiree in honor of Stil’s new Natick store, the duo puts me in a high-necked, long-hemmed patterned frock by London line Issa. Though it’s from one of my favorite boutiques, Dress, I feel so schoolmarmish that I accessorize with a rumpled shopping bag filled with a change of clothes. (The embossed leather handbag they wanted me to tote resembles something old ladies would stuff with tissue and carry to church.) Still, the results surprise me. Just about everyone in the fashionable crowd tells me how fantastic I look. Should I cover up more often?


3. Night On The Town
For a dinner with a friend at Gaslight, the girls select an emerald trapeze top and high-rise jeans from Intermix. I’m loving the color and the comfort—until, in the restaurant’s bathroom mirror, I see a pregnant elephant staring back at me. Thankfully, I have a gray V-neck tee in my purse, which I swap out for the villainous top: I’d rather look gym-ready than delivery room–ready any day.


The Verdict: Though the results varied, I must give Miles and Vasilevsky credit: They’re accommodating, generally pleasant to be around, and passionate about their work. I’d recommend them to anyone seeking a wardrobe revamp—just not to hypercritical style writers.

Stilista, 617-787-8953,

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