UK native Emily Barnes is one of the industry’s most sought-after stylists. With a master’s degree in Fashion Communication from Central Saint Martins under her belt, Barnes worked alongside industry veterans like Camilla Nickerson and Charlotte Stockdale before becoming a maven in her own right. The bi-coastal Brit splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles, styling spreads for Vogue and Vanity Fair and celebrities for Hollywood’s red carpets.
Hailing from London, what do you miss most about the UK?
Naturally, my family and close friends and the parks. I miss the dry humor, too.
When you were studying at Central Saint Martins – did you always want to be a stylist?
Yes. I was already assisting when I was finishing up my degree. I took a year in industry and worked alongside Camilla Nickerson in NY and after I graduated I worked in the UK with Charlotte Stockdale for two years.
What was it like assisting for Charlotte Stockdale? What did she teach you?
Charlotte was a fantastic mentor. She first and foremost taught me to work the business, but also to have fun while doing so. She has bounds of enthusiasm, which is infectious. I always tell my assistants styling is a lifestyle it isn’t a 9-5 job. Some don’t really understand and then the travel and the long hours start. It’s hard work — it’s not as glamorous as people think. A sense of humor is imperative.
What “look” do you think you’ve become known for?
When clients hire you, they know what they’re getting. I am know for producing clean, precise looks. My woman is confident, modern, and classic, often with a sensual Gallic twist.
You style celebrities, editorial, runway … do you have a preference?
These days I work as an editorial stylist. I dress celebrities for red carpet events and campaigns, I consult on brands and I style runway shows. I love the variety in my work and I wouldn’t trade one from the other. Styling at my level means you’re really more of a creative director. You’re constantly conceptualizing.
What is the Style Ouija?
It is a platform that celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin and myself set up for industry insiders to have a voice. It’s a completely unbiased platform; an independent voice. We are in the process of hiring staff to turn around the day-to-day logistics of the site. Daniel and I work inside the industry every day, so our focus is driving the content and the contributors from industry level.
Do all your projects feed off each other?
Absolutely. Projects are like networks. I might shoot an editorial with a photographer and then feel they might be right for an advertising shoot I am working on, or a model I shoot might be right for the runway I’m styling.
How did you link up with Jordana Warmflash of Novis? How have you influenced her recent collections?
Megan Maguire Steele (who does Novis’ PR) introduced me to Jordana and we talked. When working with a designer, it is my job to help them in the editing of the collection and to facilitate the show and give it a clear precise message. I consult and style with NOVIS and my working with Novis has given the collection a more coherent point of view.
What’s your personal style like?
Growing up in London and spending time in Paris before moving to NYC, I definitely have a mixed bag of style that comes out in my sartorial choices. These days. I guess a sense of British ease, a little Gallic sensuality with the polish of NY.
How is your personal style reflected in your work?
Editorial is pure fantasy, celebrity dressing is working with your client and pushing boundaries while staying within a perimeter of taste. My clients tell me I always look at ease, no matter what the occasion — dressed up or down. Maybe that’s my trademark…