From Beyoncé’s leotard to Bieber’s luxe-grunge – the stylists behind 2016’s biggest trends

Between them, three taste-makers have created the most-copied outfits of the year. So who are they?

Once upon a time, the red carpet was where we looked for celebrity style – it was all about princess gowns, diamonds and the kind of hair that takes several hairdressers several hours to create. Unattainable, basically. But who wants to try to replicate that any more? These days, it’s all about the airport, the street, the gym, the selfie. So spare a thought for those behind-the-scenes teams. Celebrities now have to look good – they have to have A Look – wherever, whenever. Off days are not an option. A focus on off-duty style demands a professional.

Enter a new breed of stylist who makes sure the Gucci and the Thierry Mugler is laid out for any photogenic stroll, green juice in hand, all to ensure their client’s look is faithfully replicated. There’s the woman who helps Gigi Hadid, say, look the business whether at an award ceremony or flying out of the airport the day after. Or the one who helped turn Beyoncé’s dance studio workout look into Ivy Park. Or, indeed, the one who gave Justin Bieber the wardrobe makeover to match the edgier sound of his Purpose album. Monica Rose, Karla Welch and Karen Langley are three names that you probably have never heard of. But they have more influence on the way people dress than you realise. Here’s how.

Karen Langley – superstar sportswear

Langley is creative director for Knowles’ Ivy Park label.
Langley is creative director for Knowles’ Ivy Park label. Photograph: PR Company Handout

Langley styled Beyoncé for the cover of Dazed & Confused in 2011 wearing Givenchy, with an ice-cream in her hand, a look of pure trashy Americana pop culture. Knowles has moved through several looks since then – from sexy bombshell to borrowed-from-the-boyfriend football shirt - and some of them have come from Langley’s very style-conscious brain, including the tough, spiky plaid shirt and denim hotpants in the Flawless video, which has become a uniform of young women everywhere. While the styling credits for Lemonade are Marni Senofonte’s, Langley is now doing good work as creative director for Knowles’s Ivy Park. The sportswear line – very stretchy, very dance routine rehearsal-wear – launched in April at Topshop and JD Sports, and immediately made everyone want to go to the gym. With Ivy Park, athleisure finally went mass market. It is thanks to them you are now actually wearing your leggings all day and have a name for it. LC

Monica Rose – the high/low ratio

Having made her name styling Kim Kardashian, Rose now works with Gigi Hadid.
Having made her name styling Kim Kardashian, Rose now works with Gigi Hadid. Photograph: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

There was a point in the mid-noughties when Kim Kardashian became less famous for what she wore and more famous for how she wore it. That moment came in 2007, after she was shot for a Complex magazine cover and dressed by jobbing stylist Monica Rose. The shoot was a cinch (underwear) but it made names of both Rose and Kardashian, who then started working together. The LA stylist has been working since 2003 but is now known for dressing people by body type, as opposed to look – she has worked with Jennifer Lopez, and more recently the Hadid sisters and the Kardashians. Rose follows a specific ratio of high/low (three parts Balmain to two parts American Apparel) but her overall look is more accessible than that (blink and it’s the sort of thing you can see in-store at Topshop this season). It’s hardly subtle – the focus is on bodycon, thigh flesh and gold, real eyes-on-stalk stuff – with added Roseisms: chokers, always a waist, giant coat. But, in a roundabout way, it’s body-positive. MF

Karla Welch – luxe-grunge

Welch’s ‘luxe grunge’ look for Justin Bieber.
Welch’s ‘luxe grunge’ look for Justin Bieber. Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Justin Bieber model from 2014 was all slick edges, tailored leather and crisp white tees. Preened and preppy, Bieber looked very much like David Beckham’s style heir apparent. Two years later, the look for his Purpose tour was a volte-face. Stylist Karla Welch chose 60 pieces for Bieber’s new “luxe-grunge” look, which referenced the catwalk as much as River Phoenix and VHS-era skater videos. It started a menswear trend that can now be seen on the high street from Zara to H&M. It comprises flannelled and oversized garments alongside pieces from Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God label and vintage Saint Laurent, topped off by a spinning wheel of ever-changing hair styles (from ill-advised dreads to a bleached crop in the style of Lolly from Orange is the New Black). Bieber’s move from stylist’s puppet to a more personalised, grown-up look was very much Welch’s plan. As she told fashion site Into The Gloss: “I think you are your own business card.” PE

Contributors

Lauren Cochrane, Morwenna Ferrier, Priya Elan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
How Beyoncé’s Instagram pregnancy makes her a modern fertility goddess
The latest images from eight months of fabulous photo ops show the singer at her ‘push party’ wearing west African wax prints and a tie-dye bikini, with a henna tattoo on her naked belly

Lauren Cochrane

22, May, 2017 @2:53 PM

Article image
Reign of the scumbro: the meaning of Justin Bieber’s ugly style
The hottest trend in men’s fashion involves looking badly dressed in oversized trousers, obscure graphic T-shirts and ridiculous shoes and hats

Hadley Freeman

05, Sep, 2018 @3:09 PM

Article image
Justin Bieber takes the white T-shirt – and turns it up to 11
The singer may have cancelled his tour to make his soul more ‘sustainable’, but he’s still got the brain power to help create the perfect tee

Marina Hyde

03, Aug, 2017 @3:47 PM

Article image
The leotard as power uniform – from Wonder Woman to Rihanna
The look created by a 19th-century trapeze artist – equal parts athleticism and sex appeal – is still flying high today

Jess Cartner-Morley

21, Jun, 2016 @3:54 PM

Article image
Kim and Kanye's wedding: who can you trust?
Marina Hyde: Will an illusionist make the couple disappear? Are guests being tested for leaks with false information? Will Jay-Z and Beyoncé perform at the reception? Who really knows?

Marina Hyde

22, May, 2014 @4:20 PM

Article image
How Beyoncé’s Ivy Park made sportswear sexy
The singer’s fitness label rebrands bodycon by merging fashion and functionality. But can a gym-friendly version reclaim this unforgiving trend?

Morwenna Ferrier

12, Apr, 2016 @6:04 PM

Article image
Kanye and Kim Kardashian: the new showbiz power, er, kouple

He's relaxed about the occasional leaked naked snap. He's used to paparazzi. His name even begins with K! Is Kim's new man her perfect partner?

Hadley Freeman

14, Jun, 2012 @7:00 PM

Article image
Beyoncé's haircut: the meaning behind her new short style

Beyoncé's short cut might just be the biggest news of all time. But what is the singer trying to say with her 'fierce' hairdo? Hadley Freeman explains

Hadley Freeman

12, Aug, 2013 @3:11 PM

Article image
To everyone calling Kim Kardashian a bad role model, ​you're not exactly Gandhi yourself
So, women columnists who spew bile about other women have gone to war with a woman who posts selfies on social media. If these are their options, no wonder girls today are so miserable

Hadley Freeman

10, Oct, 2016 @2:01 PM

Article image
Who wears floral curtains better: Mrs Doubtfire or Kim Kardashian?
This summer’s big fashion look is curtains. But far from a frumpy win for feminism, this elitist trend only looks good on models – or Robin Williams

Hadley Freeman

30, May, 2016 @2:55 PM