The Creatives: An Interview with Stephani Lewis

I have spent half of my adult life on and around  film sets and have come to know that the best ones feel like one big family. So by that definition, I guess you could call costume designer Stephani Lewis my younger (and cuter and red headed relative).  She started her career as a seamstress on the film No Country for Old Men and evolved into the role of assistant costume designer for the Oscar nominated Blue Valentine before taking the reigns as costume designer for this years break out film The Beasts of the Southern Wild. Stephani has had her hand in some of the most important and unusual films to come out of New York or LA in the past decade. I caught up with her earlier this summer at a rooftop party in New York. I hadn't seen her since we shot Sugar way back in 2008. She was her usual sparkling self, happy, engaged, and downright gorgeous donned in a perfect navy maxi that she probably stitched by hand. These days she splits her time between the two coasts, managing the increased demand for her talent and time at home with her guy.

What do you see trending in fashion now?

I love street fashion right now! People are incorporating their own unique and personal touches into their wardrobe.  I guess that makes creativity and and individuality trending! I find it so refreshing and exciting when I see the same piece worn by multiple people but in completely different ways. I feel like there was a time when it I see the same piece worn by multiple people but in completely different ways. I feel like there was a time when it was popular to be a cookie cutter version of  the latest fashion trend. Things are much more interesting now! I love the website, it's a photo journal of people all over the world  expressing themselves through fashion.

When was the last time you had a fashion epiphany?

I moved from Brooklyn to LA in October. I recently went back to NY for a 2 week visit. I forgot the importance of stylish but sensible shoes! It's not something I had to think about in LA, and the shoes I though we comfortable turned out to be more style friendly then walking friendly.  I had to have a complete shoe makeover!

What is your favorite High brand? And your low brand? How do you mix high and low? 

It's funny, my style changes so frequently. I feel like every time I start a new project my wardrobe starts to transform. I did a movie that took place in 1994,   I ended up with a closet full of thrifted crop tops and high waisted jeans. A few months after that project wrapped I went through my closet and thought, "what was I thinking! I can't wear this in public!" Right now I'm very into  GIRL by Band of Outsiders, and I always love what the Rodarte girls are doing. For low brands I'm either thrifting or shopping at Club Monaco. I just took a trip to San Diego, I found a few great vintage stores that were super cheap. Austin TX also has great cheap vintage. I think the trick is to mix and match appropriately for the occasion while still keeping your look personal, fresh and interesting. 

What is your go-to uniform for a day of work? The weekend?

When shooting I'm usually getting up so early I just roll out of bed and throw on the closest pair of pants and a tank top.  But I always dress in layers no matter the season, with such early mornings and long days I have to in order to stay comfortable. Plus, I always spill coffee on myself at some point during the day so it's nice to have a back up piece to throw on! The weekends are when things get fun. Right now my go to is flowy dresses, both long and short, new and vintage with a pair of sandals or open toe heels. I have a old beat up denim jacket that I wear almost everyday not matter if I'm working or playing, I'm just in love with it!

What is your favorite ILR piece and why?

I love the Snake Double bracelet and the Drape Oval necklace. The spacing between the lines and the asymmetry of the metal makes it beautiful and interesting. It wraps around the wrist perfectly. Also you  put on 1 bracelet instead of 3 but get the same effect! The reason I like the Drape Oval Pendant is because I'm drawn to contrast in color between the chain and the oval. I love mixing metals and stones when wearing jewelry. I think its more exciting than wearing all gold or all silver. When I was younger I thought there was some sort of rule, you either wear all gold or all silver, if you wear a pearl necklace you should wear your pearl earrings, etc.  Now I just think that's crazy!

Who are your style icons?

Peggy Moffit in the 60's! She was beautiful, but wild and daring and intriguing. I just love her!