There are very few actors that do it for me and Angela Bassett is one of them. Her swag says it all. The way every garment that she dawns, either in her foyer before the black car comes, or on the red carpet of another award show nomination; just makes me tingle in all the right places. I found out recently that her style has changed over the past few years; she’s now being styled exclusively by Jennifer Austin, a Redondo Beach, self-proclaimed “Cali Girl” who had an epiphany after a brutal car accident. “My pelvis was broken in three places and I was in the hospital for two months after I had a car accident, ” remembers Jennifer. “I took a look at my life and listened to God. That next December I volunteered as LA Fashion Week with no plans.”
Jennifer reminds me a lot of a younger Angela; dark dooey-skin, toned arms with a six foot frame to match. I’d suspected after meeting her on this hot and muggy late summer day that she started as a model in the fashion business. “I never wanted to be a model. There were little whispers because I was tall but I am bottom – heavy. My style icon was my mom. She dressed to the nines…she taught me how to be a leader.” believes Jennifer. “Being a stylist is so much more. We get to see all the flaws. Everything we do is what people don’t want to see. It’s also my job to make my clients feel comfortable. They’re put in a very vulnerable position.”
Fashion stylists like hair stylists have become our therapists: our best friends and certainly our greatest cheerleaders. Remember that lime green (which photographed yellow), deep V-neck, dolman sleeve, fitted floor length dress worn by Angela Bassett at last year Emmys?
Who would think to wear a lime green dress of all colors. But she made that color and that dress front page news on all of the fashion blogs, awards show coverage and editorials that next morning. “She (Angela) never says ‘No.’ She has given me free range and allowed me to push the envelope with grace and sophistication,” beams Jennifer. “I’m not much of an online shopper because I have to shop and feel the clothing. It’s a feeling for me. How I feel the energy and what we want to evoke. I know it’s right when she takes my breath away.”
The Stylist Suite is a weekly series that profiles the most influential Stylists, Designers and Costume Designers of Color created by Darralynn Hutson. Take a look inside LA fashion studios, wardrobe rooms and studio lots to peek at Stylists, Designers and Costume Designers at work and at play. Be sure to visit www.stylistssuite.com for more images and information. Be sure to stay connected by using the #STYLISTSSUITE on Instagram!