Mary Alice Haney is not just a stylist – she has been the fashion editor of Marie Claire, GQ, and Allure, and is the host and producer of “Celebrity Closet Confidential,” a one hour Style Network special.
The show takes celebrities such as Leanne Rimes, and enhances their fashion profile. Her ability to capture each client’s unique personal style, has led her to work with celebrities such as the Sex and the City gals, Blake Lively, and Eva Mendez.
Based in LA, Mary Alice traveled to NYC with her son to view the Fall/Winter 2013 collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW). Below, is a Q&A interview with Mary Alice, where she comments on her favorite runway shows, traveling to NYC with her son, and offers advice to fashionistas just starting out.
Make sure to take a look at the slideshow, for exclusive photos Mary Alice took herself, with handwritten notes, documenting her travels during MBFW!
Q. Which shows did you enjoy the most at MBFW 2013?
A. I loved Kaufman Franco and Naeem Khan. I seem to have such limited time to see the shows in New York because they fall during award season. So, I only go for a day or 2 and tend to concentrate on the ones that will have great red carpet dresses. When I go to the Paris shows I spend a week and get to see so much more!
Q. Which looks from these shows will you be incorporating in your future styling?
A. Well I always love the 70s and Marc by Marc Jacobs was really inspired by that era. I also love a dress with sheerness to it and one that moves beautifully. I saw quite a bit of that in the shows.
Q. Besides the shows, what do you most look forward to when coming to NYC for MBFW?
A. I love getting to see so many of my New York friends. I love starting dinner at 9 rather than 7 like we do in LA and I love trying to see a play or go to the museums for inspiration. Central park is magic and I try and go for a walk there if I have time. I tend to pack in other business meetings as well with editors and TV executives who I have future projects with. This trip I spent some time meeting with fabric and beading sources for a possible clothing line I am working on.
Q. Did your son Gray attend any shows or events with you? What does he think of them – is he a fashion-mongrel in the making?
A. He went to all of them with me! He loved the music but was a little bored. That is until he realized we were sitting next to the mom from karate kid! Then he got a little excited. But we also went to the zoo, Dylan’s candy bar, the park and he saw some of his New York friends. So it wasn’t all fashion fashion fashion.
Q. How would you describe your own personal style?
A. I tend to buy really great prices and wear them over and over. I am not a Zara or H&M girl. I would rather splurge on a Gucci jacket or a top from Saint Laurent and wear it again and again than buy cheaper items that don’t last. I also tend to wear black and I love sparkle. I never wear flats and my personal style is more sexy than classic.
Q. Where do you look for inspiration?
A. Everywhere! Movies, museums, street style and on other fashionistas whose style I love. I recently saw photos from Vanessa Traina’s wedding and she has a style that is one of my favorites. She is the little sister of some of my best friends and I have so loved following Vanessa and her sister’s style journey. I look at vintage designers like Galanos and vintage Halston for inspiration and I love to look at older editorials. I went back and looked at a shoot I did when I first started out at Allure. I was Polly Melon’s assistant and we did a shoot in LA with Mario Testino. Those pictures are 15 years old and would hold up in any fashion magazine today. I look at fashion as a modern art form and people like Polly, Galanos, and Mario as real artists.
Q. Within your career, is there a certain moment or event that you are most proud of?
A. I loved collaborating with Blake Lively on her Emmy look when she wore the red Versace dress. It was such a fashion moment and she is such a knowledgeable and impressive fashionista.
I always loved working on the GQ Hollywood issues when I was west coast editor. From helping decide who was included on the cover and the features, to styling the shoots and then throwing the amazing Hollywood party to celebrate it….. Those years at GQ when Art Copper was editor and chief were so special. He was my mentor and was the person who got me to think about getting into television. Art was one of the greats and I miss him.
I have loved shooting “celebrity closet confidential” because I created the show and was really hands on as a producer. Being the “on air talent” is so much fun but I also love putting the story together as a producer.
As a celebrity stylist I decided long ago that I only wanted to work with a very small number of people. In order to change my client’s career with his or her style, I have to treat it as a business, without losing the art form. Just as an agent maps out a client’s career, I do the same with their style. This allows me to hopefully help transform them into fashion icons or brands. I am very excited about a few of my clients right now and where I see them heading.
Q. As a woman who has had such success in the fashion industry, what advice would you give to “fashionistas” just starting out?
A. I think I would say just get your foot in the door and be willing to work hard. When I first started out I wanted to be the west coast editor of a magazine. I couldn’t get a job as an assistant in LA so I moved to Paris and worked at Harpers Bazaar there. A few months in Paris and I was offered my 1st job at Allure (and then became west coast editor of GQ, Domino Magazine and Marie Claire). When I decided I wanted to get into television, I used my credentials at GQ to get me on a red carpet at the independent spirit awards. I got a friend to tape me asking celebrities questions and created my 1st “reel”. You have to sometimes get creative in order to follow the path to your dream. So much of it is luck but you have to be fully prepared when you are lucky or you will miss your opportunity.