Shiona Turini

Behind the Scenes: Black Stylists Shaping Celebrity Fashion


Dec. 9 2023, Published 5:17 p.m. ET

Often, the talk about diversity in fashion fails to incorporate the professionals who are shaping the fashion scene: Black Stylists. Have you ever wondered why celebrities tend to get it right in their looks? Well, it's the stylist's responsibility to pull looks together, helping to maintain their client buzz.

They do this by mastering the art of highlighting a celebrity's personal style in a clean, classic, and unique way. Ahead, you'll learn more about different black stylists and how their work with celebrities has helped to shape fashion trends.

June Ambrose

June Ambrose is an OG in the celebrity styling industry. For over two decades, she has worked with many celebrities, including Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys. June worked with Jay-Z while at Roc-A- Fella before he signed a partnership deal with Def Jam. At this time, the hip-hop culture was changing the fashion trends.

However, Jay-Z was evolving, and June helped him evolve his style from a casual-inspired look to a tailored style. She was responsible for creating his iconic look that featured tailored suits with a combination of streetwear and luxury fashion influences. This showcased Jay-Z's changing status and influenced the hip hop fashion to adopt a polished look.

Mary J. Blige is another A-list celebrity that Ambrose has styled. June worked with Blige in the early years of her career. She helped Mary take on a diva couture style characterized by monochromatic outfits paired with a fur coat.

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Shiona Turini

Shiona Turini is a sought-after costume designer and stylist for many top celebrities in the film and music industry, including SZA, Solange Knowles, and Issa Rae. While working with Solange, her style mostly featured outfits with unconventional silhouettes and bold colors. A great example is the tied Gold Gucci Gown Solange wore at the 2017 Grammy Awards. During the event, Solange’s look was praised for being simple and sophisticated, highlighting her artistic personality.

Issa Rae collaborated with Shiona after she joined the HBO comedy series, Insecure as the costume manager. While working together, Rae's style evolved to be more electric and print-dependent. She's rocked several events in sleek heels and statement-making silhouettes.

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Misa Hylton

Misa Hylton is among the pioneers in the fashion industry known for styling musicians since the early ‘90s, the most notable being Lil Kim and Missy Elliot. In the early years of her career working with Missy Elliot, she helped her create an iconic look. For instance, she styled Kim for the video "Crush On You," where she wore an outfit that matched her hair. She also rocked red carpet events in embellished bodysuits designed with crystals, giving the effect of being designed in diamonds. These trends in fashion have remained until today.

While coming up in the game, Misa Hylton was responsible for shaping Missy Elliot's fashion choices. During their time together, Hylton's work was futuristic as it was characterized by a combination of patterns, colors, and textures that were different from the traditional norms of fashion. Missy Elliot doning an inflated garbage bag suit in the video "The Rain Supa Dupa Fly" showcased Misa ability to be innovative and create a memorable fashion moment.

Setting the Pace for Lasting Fashion Styles

Black people and black culture have contributed significantly to the growth of the fashion industry. For celebrities, many black stylists are behind their stunning looks in music videos, movies, and red-carpet events. Through public recognition of their work, stylists of color are helping to transform the fashion industry.

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