Estee Stanley is one of Hollywood’s most well-known fashion stylists with a roster of clients that includes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele, Sofia Vergara, and Elisabeth Moss. While Stanley continues to craft looks that top the “Best Dressed Lists” at every major event, she has more recently made a name for herself as an interior designer. Using the same keen eye and fabulous sense of style that has made her an incredibly successful stylist, she eventually found friends, family, and clients asking her to extend her services into their homes, transforming them into chic, one of a kind spaces reflective of the owner’s personalities and interests. The Southern California native has taken a very individualistic approach to her work and says she does not have a signature look, but instead works closely with each client to help them hone a look that truly reflects their own inner style.
La Dolce Vita: What is your favorite period of design?
Estee Stanley: I don’t have a specific period that I really draw from, but I do gravitate more toward European design and architecture. Almost anything French or Italian makes me happy.
ES: I of course turn to fashion, and my travels to Europe. I just got back from Antwerp – it was my first time there and things that I saw there I am now using in a lot of my designs.
LDV: Do you like to mix in fashion references or influences when you are designing a space?
ES: Definitely – when I’m designing a home that has more of a colorful palette, I get more inspiration from my favorite fashion designers, Giambattista Valli and Dries Van Noten. If I am designing a more neutral space, I look more toward Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row.
LDV: How does your approach differ in designing a room from the approach you take when styling a client?
ES: It doesn’t. For me, everyone has their own individual style, and that should be reflected in their living spaces. There are no formulas to my designs – every project is based on who my client is. I like to hang out with my client for a few weeks before I can form my interpretation of them.
LDV: Has living in Los Angeles influenced your design sensibility or personal sense of style?
ES: I definitely think it has helped me to have a more laid-back approach, and it has helped me incorporate that into every room of people’s homes in some way. For me, I try to make every room very cozy and livable, which I think is very LA.
LDV: Do you embrace trends or do you prefer to veer away from them?
ES: I veer away from them. I grew up in the 80s, where everything was a trend, and my style has matured a lot since that era. I like styles that are long-lasting and classic. I don’t want my clients to feel they have to change their décor every time a trend pops up.
LDV: If someone can only splurge on one big ticket item for their home or wardrobe, what should they spend their money on?
ES: Something that no one else has – search for that major piece that is one of a kind. Or if the piece is similar to something a lot of people own, look for that piece with a unique twist. For example, my dining table is basically a big slab of wood, and a lot of people have that style table. But I did a different kind of finish on my wood so it turned a more purple-grey, which I love. It has become a focal point in my home.
LDV: Who has most influenced your career?
ES: My grandmother for her style, which I was fortunate enough to inherit from her. My grandfather for his work ethic – he survived WWII and worked so hard to build a successful life in America.
LDV: Who are your personal style icons?
ES: I would say Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen, as well as Karl Lagerfeld, Giambattista Valli, and Kate Moss.
LDV: What has been your proudest moment in your career as a fashion stylist and interior designer?
ES: I am proud every time I finish a project and execute my vision, and when I know my client is happy and feels at home.
LDV: What is your principal weakness?
ES: I’m obsessed with anything made of stone, marble and any type of wood, so I have to really exercise my willpower to not use them in every bit of my decorating!
LDV: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?
ES: Being lucky enough to have a great family and friends, and being able to hang and spend quality time with them.
Artist: Cecily Brown, Banksy, John Currin
Museum: Musee d’Orsay
Chair: Vintage leather wingback
Cocktail: Sea Smoke Pinot Noir
Go-To Outfit: anything by The Row
Coffee Table Book: VOGUE Living
Paint Color: Dunn Edwards White Sand no VOC
Musician: Chris Cornell
Comfort Food: Spaghetti Bolognese
Film: Too many to count!
Extravagance: A good pair of Blahniks
Words of Wisdom: “Doesn’t matter!”
For more on Estee Stanley and her work, please visit her website.