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Dana Levine

Dana Levine

by Melissa Magsaysay

With the abundance of powerful female driven content in television and film it’s clear that Hollywood has taken a (much needed) turn toward a lasting change where women are represented and reflected in strong roles and stories.

The sartorial side to this shift and the most powerful women in Hollywood is being propelled by stylist Dana Levine, an influential creative force in Los Angeles who dresses the most notable female executives and show runners in the industry.

Levine’s longtime clients include, Dana Walden chief executive officer of Fox, Shonda Rhimes, perhaps the most well known showrunner and producer working in Hollywood today and Michelle King, creator of The Good Wife. She navigates the unique dress code of Hollywood while still letting the strength, beauty and personal style of each person she dresses shine through.

Here, Levine talks about her road to success, favorite client looks and the designers embracing size inclusivity.

Q & A with Dana Levine

How long have you been styling and was it always something you felt drawn to do? I’ve always had a knack for fashion and styling.

I was drawn to it at an early age because my mother was a stylish woman and always had the best pieces in her closet. As a little girl, I remember her always looking so polished and chic no matter where we went. Her attention to detail impacted and influenced my sense of style and fueled my passion for fashion. Married and busy raising the kids, I used my free time to pursue styling as a hobby. I had 3 children under the age of 12 and I was going through a divorce with no money coming in to support them, so I needed to take what I loved and somehow use it to create a source of income for my children and me. With the little resources I had, I knew that I would have to create a position that at the time did not exist for me, so I became a personal shopper and stylist, which eventually turned into the successful career I have now. Everything happens for a reason and I am so very blessed to be doing what I love and to have raised 3 successful children in the process!

How did you get into working with executives and Hollywood insiders?

I started working with celebrities but quickly found the atmosphere of a celebrity styling would not be as fulfilling as I would have liked. One thing led to another and I was offered an opportunity to help style Hollywood executives. My first client was Dana Walden of Disney. Working with Dana and word of mouth referrals lead to securing other clients such as: Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey Anatomy, Scandal etc. and Michelle King, creator of the Good Wife.

What are some of the unique advantages or challenges to dressing people behind the scenes as opposed to celebrities?

When working with celebrities, you having to deal with “too many cooks in the kitchen” and many differences of opinions from their managers, PR agents, and from the designer that is dressing them. Working with executives allows me to collaborate and to create a one-on-one relationship with my client, which leads to finding their own personal style and allows for each client to express their own unique creativity.

Has it been challenging in the past to find high- end clothing for clients who are not sample size?

Yes, there have been moments of frustration and difficulty, but you can’t sit around and complain about not having options; you have to take matters into your own hands be resourceful and create a solution that reflects who the client is. As a stylist, I am constantly putting out fashion fires for my clients everyday so I’ve learned to be creative when situations like this arise – whether that be looking to getting a piece custom made or mixing designer pieces with a brand like Zara.

Who are some of the designers who love creating clothing that works on a variety of body types?

I love working with the team at 11 Honoré; they make my life so much easier! 11 Honoré is a size-inclusive company that gives more women the opportunity to shop runway and high-end designer pieces. I also frequent brands such a Gucci and St. John because they always carry a variety of sizes

Do you feel like fashion and retail has become more size inclusive since you started styling?

Yes I do. When I first started it was difficult to find pieces that both fit my clients and were fashionable. Nowadays-thanks to the many campaigns dedicated to self-love and inclusivity of all shapes and sizes -we have seen more high-end brands tailoring their pieces to women at all parts of the size spectrum. This has been a long time coming and a step in the right direction but I feel like there is more to be done in championing body positivity.

What would you like to see done in order for there to be more options for curvier clients?

When I shop for clients I typically shop designer brands. With that said, I would like to see more high-end designers jump on the bandwagon and recognize and accept that fashion isn’t limited to a specific size. Fashion is universal and we should make it as accessible for a size 20 to find pieces as it is for a size 00.

What are your favorite looks you've done for a client?

Shonda Rhimes at the 64th Annual Golden Globes in Carolina Herrera My first Hollywood Reporter Cover (October 2014 issue) featuring Shonda Rhimes My Wedding!– I wore a Monique Lhuillier gown

Do you have a style motto?

I dress many powerful women whose voices influence many different landscapes-at the corporate level, politically, or in their personal life. Style is just another extension of their voices, so it is my job to add another layer of confidence and power but still make them feel comfortable, approachable and beautiful to anyone and everyone they cross paths with. My motto for them has always been confidence is key.

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