In terms of wearing many hats, Stacy London has done it all. After being fired from Mademoiselle — a life turn she considers a blessing in disguise — she went on to become a style correspondent for the Today show, pen several lifestyle books, act her bum off on the Broadway stage, and perhaps most notoriously, star as the nation's closet guru on What Not To Wear. But these days, London has moved on from telling us what's in and what's out. And, after several emotional and physical struggles in her personal life, she's landed in the UnStyled booth (again!) — this time, she chatted with Refinery29's global editor-in-chief and co-founder Christene Barberich about the aforementioned highlights...and everything in between.
In terms of style, London prefers jumpsuits to dresses these days, even though she routinely makes best dressed lists for her impeccable taste in red carpet looks each award season. But as anyone who's worked in the industry as long as she has, her outlook on it all has shifted — and for the better. “For everything that is great about fashion, fashion is one of the slowest [industries] to evolve. It really digs in its heels," she tells Barberich in their UnStyled podcast. "The industry itself runs a little bit on the idea that people are insecure. And to make them feel more secure, if they buy this coat, or that hat, or this mascara, it will somehow make them feel relevant — or maybe even trendy."
After years of physical therapy, London is learning how to walk again — literally — which is something not many of us will likely ever experience, and in heels, that is. But, in typical London fashion, she's pushed through — and that's why we love her. If fashion is meant to be our armor, then London truly is a style knight. Peep a snippet of their conversation below, and if you want to hear more about her tools for harnessing inner strength and looking fabulous while doing it, check out this week's UnStyled podcast. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe for more.
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Every Fashion Month, we really meditate on a lot of the rules and restrictions — and traditions — that exist in the fashion industry. Some are great, some we appreciate, and some are responsible for the beautiful legacy of fashion. But then some can be really toxic and hold us back. Why do you think that is?
Stacy London: "It's an interesting question... It's always been about how much money you have, how skinny you are, and how young you are. And, I'm very proud to think that What Not to Wear was one of the first shows to say you don't have to be rich, you don't have to be thin, and you don't have to be young — and [that] you can have style, so I always talk about fashion as an industry and I talk about style as an individual, because I think that they are very separate."
After your surgeries, did you think about your mortality?
SL: "I did. And part of the reason that it did was, you know, here I've been talking about what does an evolutionary woman look like, what does an evolutionary woman do in a situation like this, you know? I don't have kids, I'm not married; there's nobody around me that's required to help me."