The red carpet coverage of the final awards season culminated with the Oscars in a series of loose ball gowns and sleek suits. From somewhere in between these two poles of glamor rose a man dressed in a revolutionary and historic jumpsuit. Lakeith stanfield is out (or rather, posted on Instagram, as he resides in London) in a fitted Saint Laurent jumpsuit with a safari jacket-style top, fitted waist and white pointy collar. Inspiration? A woman see from the spring 21 collection. The responsible woman? Stylist Julie ragolia.
The subversive look made history, according to GQ‘s Rachel Tashjian, bypassing the all-or-nothing trend to dress men in dresses the Harry Styles and Kid Cudi. Instead, Ragolia infused a feminine-inspired masculine look in a reverse ‘borrowed from boys’ style exchange. “I like this gray space between the sexes,” explains the stylist.
Whether it’s the odd curvature of a necklace or obscure gender clues, Ragolia is comfortable with a subtle but intentional ‘mistake’, as she calls it. This characteristic reinterpretation of flaws commonly present in his work not only hints at the imperfection of humanity, but guarantees relatability, which is no easy task in this fancy industry. “We are not perfect, as humans. Fashion cannot create a perfect human. We are too diverse,” says Ragolia. “We’re diverse in our origins, shapes and sizes. That’s the fun part.”
We are not perfect, as humans. Fashion cannot create a perfect human. We are too diverse. “
Although now a sartorial juggernaut, she had no plans to enter the celebrity fashion realm, nor did she want to be a stylist to begin with. “I was majoring in philosophy,” she says. “I thought I would be an academic or a curator.” A childhood spent in the Brooklyn Projects cemented not only a “fighting spirit” but a sort of “anti-fashion” mentality. Case in point: she only entered the industry because she was told she couldn’t.
Initially attracted by the “kindred-spirit” nature of her title, the young esthete took over the management of the agency. Streeters“I imagined myself street-y” for an informative passage under Alex white at W Magazine. From there, Ragolia worked behind the scenes of the catwalks (a regular at Zegna) and on editorials in various independent magazines, where she came across figures such as the aforementioned Stanfield and her Oscar-nominated colleague. Ahmed Rice. The two showed a common philosophy, energy and ability to see clothing as an opportunity to expand the culture she immediately identified with.
Photo: courtesy of Julie Ragolia
The way Ragolia describes the similarities she shares with these actors, she repeats when she says she found solace in men’s fashion. Often dressed in men’s clothing herself (or The Row, but is it really that different?), She says men’s clothing suits her personality. “I like doing my thing and doing it well, and I feel like men’s fashion works that way,” she explains. “I’m a low-key person and I think men’s fashion is cool because it’s all kind of low-key.”
With respect for this appreciation of the “magic of men’s fashion,” she credits Tom Kalenderian, former vice president of Barneys. This is where his eyes begin to light up. “It made me so curious to understand the intricacies of making a garment, especially a male garment,” she explains. “It’s so much more complex. There’s the norm of what we think of as menswear, but it’s all the things that live inside that make something so special.”
The more I learn about making a bespoke garment, the more addicted I am to the process. I am like a child everyday. “
“The more I learn about making a bespoke garment, the more I am hooked on the process,” she continues. “I am like a child everyday.” His enthusiasm is not tinged with the exasperation commonly found among those who have weathered the industry’s sartorial storm for more than a few years. While she addresses her shortcomings, she then quickly tackles them as opportunities.
Take his position in men’s fashion for example. The fact that it has yet to be fully explored, at least compared to what has been done in women’s fashion, is a chance for creativity rather than a limitation. The current moment in menswear is exciting, she explains, citing Zegna’s Rick Owens, Thom Browne and Alessandro Sartori as instigators of change.
Photo: courtesy of Julie Ragolia
These changes don’t have to be exponential, although they often appear in the female counterpart. “From a dropped crotch or skirt to a cropped sleeve or cropped ankle, even switching to a sneaker instead of a straight shoe, those little evolutionary details become bigger staples. Men learn to stay. clothing, to always be dressed for whatever the occasion thanks to the casual clothes. ”She speaks of a well-cut clutch as many of us would speak of Van Gough Starry Night.
From a dropped crotch or skirt to a cropped sleeve or cropped ankle, even switching to a sneaker instead of a straight shoe, those little evolutionary details become bigger staples. “
While most of this commentary has been, by structural default, gendered, the result of having it is that we are all more free to express ourselves simply as human beings. Some words have appeared several times: comfortable, freedom, expression, imperfection. In imagery, these descriptors take the visual form of a garment worn poorly or not at all, colors that don’t seem to go hand in hand, or even a toothy smile paired with a solemn, stereotypical fashion together. “People have told me time and time again that they see themselves in my work. This, to me, is amazing because it’s this certain universality that I always try to find through fashion with its extremes of all sides. “
In a world specific to taste, this feeling of rupture transcends preferences and is addressed to everyone. It is this frank communication carried out through the lens of the clothes where Ragolia chooses to reside. Its motto is simple: “Stay honest and stay curious”.
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