Words by Don W.
Miss Style Coach cannot be put in a box… and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Read more about her ever-expanding creative skillset below.
Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Anna Deane but I go by Miss Style Coach in my professional life. I guess most people would categorize me as a “Wardrobe Stylist” but I hate that cause I don’t think that encompasses all that I do. I would say that I am a Professional Thrifter (yes that’s a thing!), Style Coach, Custom Couture Designer and Fashion Editor.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Chicago?
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon: the land of thrift shops, vegan restaurants, coffee shops and everything WEIRD. I was always a creative human being. I did everything. I played piano and sang in the choir starting at just 5 years old. I was heavily involved in theatre growing up, too. My mom taught me how to sew when I was in grade school and so I started altering my clothing. I was always doing my friends hair and makeup. I wrote songs and poems and always kept a sketchbook full of drawings and paintings. Around the age of 11, I started collecting fashion and pop culture magazines. I would cut out my favorite people and tape them to my wall. Those four walls were my vision board. I had a desk that the legs were entirely made out of Vogue magazines with a piece of wood on top.
Around the time that I graduated from high school, I decided that I wanted to do makeup, hair, and fashion but I wasn’t sure how I could possibly do it all. There wasn’t really a name for what I wanted to be. I just looked into magazines and knew that whoever would come up with these centerfold shoots is exactly what I wanted to do. The creative part of me never slowed down. I really did dabble in it all. In 2015 I was going through a divorce and having a major longing for something new in my career. I was shedding my old skin, which was terrifying and also the best I’ve ever felt. I felt like I was only using half of my potential in my current field, so I went to LA and became certified as a personal stylist at School of style. Just a few months later I moved to Chicago to chase my dreams.
Not only do you work in wardrobe styling, but you also provide hair and makeup services. Which came first?
Hair and Makeup came first for two reasons: it was cheaper than college and I could start a career in just 16 months. I started Aveda institute one month after graduating from high school and graduated in 2009. I worked at an Aveda Salon for about 5 years and specialized in wedding hair and Corrective Color. After I left Aveda, I owned my own business doing hair and makeup for 3 years. I freelanced and participated in a lot of runway shows as a hairstylist. In 2015, I finally came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t satisfied with being a hairstylist and makeup artist. I didn’t want to work behind a chair for the rest of my life. I was not creatively fulfilled even with all the extra things I was doing like singing, songwriting, and fashion shows. I knew I could do way more than that. That’s when I went to School of style.
We were blown away by your wardrobe styling for Phobez Apollo’s MISTAKES music video. What were your key inspirations for the looks featured in that video? What were some of the challenges you faced?
First of all, thank you so much! Appreciation for your art can mean even more then getting paid at times, so I appreciate the acknowledgement tremendously.
Some major inspirations for Mistakes were 1920’s-1940’s boudoir, 1990’s high fashion adaptations of vintage boudoir like Chanel and Mugler, as well as people like Madonna, Lil Kim, and Naomi Campbell. Recently, we’re seeing this style come back into popularity with women like Cardi B and Kim Kardashian. One big thing Phobez Apollo and I agreed on was that Cardi B’s “Money” video was our favorite music video of 2018. So that played a huge part.
Most of Phobez Apollo’s outfits are completely custom. We knew the most important thing in every scene was for him to create a major fashion moment. I am blessed to be a full time stylist at Luxury Garage Sale and to be able to bring them on as a sponsor for major productions like this one. So all of the Chanel jewelry, furs, and Louis Vuitton bags were provided by them. We spent a lot of time going back and forth with what inspires us and shopping at fabric stores.
When Phobez came to me originally, it was because he had seen some of my experiments with designer dust bags. I have made countless pieces from them. We decided he needed an entire suit made from dustbags. Then, one day he sent me a picture of a 1990’s Chanel headpiece that was just a bunch of CC’s in the shape of a cap, and we knew we had to recreate that to go with the suit. When making these custom pieces, there’s no youtube tutorial or instruction manual. A lot of times you just have a blurry photo to go off of so measurements, an abundance of materials, and lots of patience is required. It took me two attempts and we had to adhere it to his head with eyelash glue for the shoot day. Looking back, wig glue would have been more ideal.
The Chandelier Hat was definitely the most challenging. It was the last add on we decided we needed. The beads were originally on a curtain rod and the hat was about twice as small. Neither arrived until 2 days before the shoot. I had to make a whole new hat brim with super stiff cardboard and cover the whole hat with fabric the first night. The night before was all about how to get the beads on there. I really didn’t know if it was going to hold all of the beads until about 8 hours before the shoot. They are extremely heavy! I glued and taped the beads down, said a huge prayer, Facetimed Phobez, and had him cross his fingers while I lifted the hat up… and Jesus, it held together! It’s still in its box in “the vault” with all my other favorite creations.
What are the key elements you take into account when styling? Do you have a blueprint that you follow when you’re working with clients?
Yes. You have to have a regimen that works for you and that you stick to, to not only get you into a flow but to keep you organized.
Step one is always CONSULTATION. Consolation is HUGE! It’s the most important thing in the entire process. It needs to be extensive. I have over ten years of consultation experience from working behind the chair, so that helps me a lot. While attending School of style, they give me so many work books and references on how to run my own personal styling business. That helped me create a regimen that works for me. The first thing I always tell people before I get started are my rates. Then at the end of the consultation I give them a quote range of what I will charge for the amount of work. The depth of the consultation is determined by the size of the project. For “Mistakes” I had 3 Consultations with Phobez Apollo including one with the Director Jamison McDermott. In total, it probably took 4-5 hours just to get on the same page. But with a project that’s just 1-6 looks, I would say an hour conversation is enough. And if it’s a client you’ve already worked with, sometimes just an email is good enough to get you started.
Second, I ALWAYS follow up in a few days with a mood board, usually for each look. The key to personal styling success is to write everything down, over communicate, and be incredibly organized. That way, when it comes time to create I don’t have to worry about whether or not the client will like what I do.
Depending on the client, my third step is a fitting. The smaller the project, the less necessary a fitting is. For a big project like “Mistakes” where there were 30 looks in total, it’s mandatory. At the time of a fitting I can edit a lot of my work, see what’s working and what’s not, which makes the day of a shoot much smoother. Most of what I do is for photo or video shoots, so being as organized as possible for the day of the shoot is also key. I label everything. Every person has their own bag with all of their wardrobe options. Also, being an expert packer helps tremendously. I am always over prepared. I bring a steamer, sewing kit, and a second option in case something isn’t working, something doesn’t fit, or God forbid something breaks.
You’d think that would be a job well done for a stylist but often times there’s still returns and then a follow up with the client on the production side. Like I said, recognition is often times more important than money for us creatives that work behind the scenes. Make sure your name is on EVERYTHING you do and that you get a copy of the final product.
If you had to choose 3 of your favorite current trends, what would they be and why?
This is actually the hardest question to answer. It changes EVERY ten seconds. Recently, I’ve been really into “western” styles in preparation for a trip to Texas. Think: bolo ties, thigh high western boots, cowboy hats and using them non traditionally. I’ve also just been experimenting and creating two piece sets from vintage blazers and loving the results. The third thing I’ve personally been really into is DRIP. I’ve really started searching for vintage jewelry and even making pieces from old designer bags and hardware I’ve found.
You’re already killing it in your field(s) but what are some goals you have set for the future?
Right now I am at a stage where I finally feel like I can breathe. I plan to focus on selling and marketing my custom creations like the two piece vintage blazer sets, Designer Dust Bag remakes, and custom up-cycled designer drip. I want to have a campaign where I feature some major artists and other creatives in it and have a release. I have some huge long-term goals as far as working with fashion magazines. I’d love to one day be an editor for any of the major publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Nylon Mag. I’m also agent hunting, so if you know one or are one holla at ya gurl!
What can we expect to see from you moving forward? Any interesting projects in the works?
I am not done with “Mistakes” actually. We now have press for the video and I plan to continue styling and creating custom couture with Phobez Apollo. I can’t say much other than that, because I can’t share the goods, but just know we are working on some straight fire. You can also find more of my work on PRGirl series which will be available on Amazon prime in the fall.