An Ex-Theranos Employee Is Responsible For Elizabeth Holmes' Black Turtleneck

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images.
As it turns out, much like her voice, Elizabeth Holmes personal fashion (punctuated by omnipresent black turtlenecks) has a dubious origin. An ex-Theranos employee revealed to Elle that she cultivated the fallen scammer's signature style.
Holmes hired Ana Arriola as chief design architect to help build the very-faulty "Edison" machine, which was supposed to run a battery of medical tests using a small amount of blood taken from pricking a patient's finger. (The Edison machine never actually worked.) But Arriola did way more than that on the job: her unofficial role was to style her boss.
Holmes was "infatuated" with Steve Jobs' signature look of black turtlenecks and Levi's jeans, and asked Arriola how she could create the same aesthetic for herself. Holmes (who slept about four hours a night) seemed to think a similar, uniformed look would give off the impression that she was completely devoted to Theranos, and had no time to pick out her clothes.
"I'm like, 'Hey, this is who designed [his turtlenecks], this is the aesthetic, and we can go after it,'" Arriola tells Elle. "And, sure enough, she did." And so, Holmes started with her all-black outfits. "But it wasn't her own personal style," Arriola adds. "She copied other people... She was 120 percent fake."
When Arriola started at Theranos in 2007, after stints at Adobe and Apple, she notes Holmes favored shapeless holiday sweaters. "She had this kind of spunky, frumpy Christmas sweater attire... It's literally like... Stuff you see that has pixel art really poorly done," Arriola says. "I was like, 'I'm happy to give you some style advice, because I love couture. Go for this, look at these, leave these designers.'"
"[Elizabeth] was enamored with the style and iconic silhouette of Steve Jobs in black turtlenecks," Arriola continued. Reportedly, Holmes was so obsessed with owning the exact Issey Miyake black turtleneck Jobs wore in his iconic key note presentations (and every other day of his working life) that she reportedly tracked down and stocked up on the pieces, which were reissued in 2017 for $270.
"However, in our era [of Theranos] I don't think she had the means to invest or stomach the cost [of a Miyake-made turtleneck]," Arriola notes to Elle. Holmes also said in a 2015 interview with Glamour that she'd been wearing black turtlenecks since she was a kid — but Arriola says that isn't true, either. As for the infamous pre-Miyake turtlenecks, Arriola says those came from somewhere in Palo Alto.

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