Ali Levine is one of the busiest celebrity stylists in Hollywood, and with good reason. The red carpet regular is a true fashion artist. The spirited founder of Ali Levine Design and its fun and informative YouTube series Fashionably Yours is beaming with good intentions, great energy, and amazing outcomes. A native New Yorker, Ali relocated to Los Angeles for the creative freedom. Clinging to the belief that confidence is your best accessory, the energetic red-head who admittedly “can’t think in anything other than heels” dishes on styling Kanye West, showrooms that close too early, and cats named after famous designers, with SEXEE Magazine.
written by ToneSwep
(SEXEE) Without revealing any trade secrets, what exactly does a celebrity stylist do? I think many people are unaware of the actual roles, responsibilities, and functions of a stylist. Demystify that for us if you will.
(ALI) Styling is 90% grind and 10% glamour. Don’t get me wrong, that 10 percent is a whole lot of glam and that is what everyone sees in images of my clients in fashion magazines and on red carpets. However, most people rarely get to see what it takes to make that magic happen. I am constantly sourcing around the clock for the latest trends and designs. When I am not sourcing, I am at a fitting with a client or styling a shoot. I work long days with little sleep. It’s something I like to call “red headed insanity” (Laughs!). Fashion is my passion and there is rarely a time when you will find me not working. There’s always something to do and I’m so thankful to be a part of this world because it, and my wonderful husband, make me the happiest.
(SEXEE) What are some of your earliest experiences with fashion and accessories? Even as a young girl? What initially drew you into the world of couture and glamour?
(ALI) Some of my earliest memories with fashion are when I was three-years-old. I would layer my jewelry with my grandmother and she would take me shopping. She has always been my inspiration for fashion. Always will be.
(SEXEE) You are originally from New York City. What compelled the move to Hollywood?
(ALI) I really enjoyed the styling aspect of fashion, more specifically, dressing celebrities. I worked in costume and television in New York, but I wanted more creative freedom. Especially with red carpets, editorials, and music videos, so I made the decision to move to Tinseltown to follow my passion. But even though I’m here in La-La-Land these days, you can take the girl out of New York but you can’t take the New Yorker out of the girl!
(SEXEE) Aside from the weather, what are the most glaring differences between living and working in New York and Los Angeles?
(ALI) In Los Angeles showrooms are only open Monday through Friday, and close around 5pm. In New York I was so used to being able to pull at just about any hour. It definitely took some conditioning and getting used to when I made the move. I remember calling a showroom for a last minute fitting and they told me there was nothing they could do ‘till the next morning. I was so shocked. What about my fashion emergencies?!?! LA likes to rest. NY never sleeps.
(SEXEE) Who are some of the dynamite names you have worked with so far in your career?
(ALI) Kanye West, Agnez Mo, Gregg Sulkin, Jillian Rose Reed, Stefanie Dawson, Perez Hilton, Oona Chaplin, Samuel Larsen, Justin Timberlake, Drew Sidora. Holly Robinson-Peete, GQ model Matt Cook, and Margaux Brooke just to name a few. I’ve had some pretty amazing clients and they make my job even more amazing. I get lost in my style moments with them.
(SEXEE) Name your celebrity stylist crush? Someone you would love to put your personal touch on for a high profile outing.
(ALI) Zoey Deutch. She’s next-level beauty to me, and I would love more than anything to style her for Vogue. Vogue is my ultimate dream and goal.
(SEXEE) You are known in industry circles as a true fashion artist. Define your approach to making the amazing.
(ALI) I define my style as edgy and classic with some bohemian elements and of course bling. I would say my approach when styling is to dial up one’s own personal style. I am not the type of stylist who pushes “the new thing” on anyone who is not feeling that particular trend. I find what trends work for them specifically, and also where they want to be daring. The look itself, the jewelry, the details. I always say confidence is your best accessory and you can’t feel confident if you don’t love what you are wearing.
(SEXEE) What’s bigger, styling celebrities for red carpets or magazine covers?
(ALI) Oooh! That’s a tough question! Ahh! (Screams!). I love both so much but if I would have to choose I would say magazine covers. Who doesn’t like seeing their work as the main cover spread?
(SEXEE) No industry or career is perfect. If you could change one thing about styling as a business and profession, what would it be and why?
(ALI) I would change the politics of styling. Everyone is trying to climb to the top and loyalty is out the door.
(SEXEE) Name some of your favorite go-to brands and glam lines. What about some hot up-and-coming indie lines we may not know about.
(ALI) For beauty go-to’s, I am obsessed with Lip Sense lip-gloss. I love “party pink” for summer. In terms of indie designers, Saccharine Shrine is so next level. It is an iridescent label from London and a new favorite of mine. Sarah Nami for elegant, ethereal gowns. They’re breathe-taking. Sarine Marie the designer line has very classic staple pieces with some luxe and edge mixed in. For a modern yet vintage twist, I love Jacqueline Quinn. For swim, my pick is Femme Couture. For hot one of a kind shoes it’s House of Face and Zack Lo. They are both works of art and unreal in their own ways. And I’m a major sucker for shoes, especially heels. I can’t think in anything other than heels.
(SEXEE) Your “Fashionably Yours” web series is gaining popularity for its fashion tips and style techniques. What inspired you to create the show?
(ALI) My followers inspired me to create my web series. People Tweet me regularly with their style questions, so I finally decided it was time to showcase my tips on YouTube. I was even inspired to make a video where I answer my follower’s questions directly when they use the “#AskAli” hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
(SEXEE) Madonna famously sang that we’re living in a material world. What does this mean for Ali Levine? How do we find a balance between style and substance?
(ALI) I find balance in this material world through my family. The arms of my husband. And the love from my fashionable pets, Oscar – my rescue dog – and my two fluffy cats Dolce and Ferragamo. It’s the little things in life that matter most.