Style Collective Explore style through the eyes of working women with an appetite for fashion
Leading Australian celebrity stylist Lana Wilkinson, talks through her career evolution, how the fashion industry has changed, the key to work-life balance and her top style tips this spring.
Photography by Hugh Davies
You've definitely made your mark as one of Australia's top Fashion & Celebrity Stylists. How did your career evolve?
Thank you! I’ve been styling for almost 9 years now, so it’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. I’ve always loved fashion and have been around it my whole life as my Dad owns a dry-cleaning company. I loved watching the clothes come in and out and learnt a lot about fabrics and the composition of garments.
I began blogging and styling while I was working as a property manager. Before this, I worked as a marketing manager at Westfield. I’d often work as a stylist on weekends and at night to get the business off the ground. I worked like this for 3 years, until I finally made the leap to take on styling as my full-time position.
With such an amazing CV under your belt, what has been your career highlight thus far?
Meeting and working with my idol, Rachel Zoe, is probably my number one career highlight. She’s the reason I wanted to become a stylist so working with her when she was in Melbourne for Chadstone Shopping Centre was definitely a surreal moment for me.
What do you love the most about being a stylist, why do you do it?
At the heart of it, styling is about making people feel their best and that’s the part I love the most. My clients trust me to make them look and feel amazing, so I don’t take that lightly.
Getting to send someone out onto a red carpet or a photoshoot and knowing that they feel incredible is definitely the best part of my job.
How has the fashion industry evolved during your career?
I think social media has made a huge change to the fashion industry. It has changed the way consumers shop, as I think they now have a lot more control and choice over what they are purchasing. It’s definitely easier for smaller designers to get noticed and become more popular.
The fashion industry is also more inclusive now, which has been a positive change. There’s no ‘regular’ look so we’re working with models of all shapes and sizes which is extremely empowering to men and women. This is sending a great message to younger girls that you don’t have to look a certain way to look amazing in your clothes.
What has been the key to balancing a career and motherhood?
There’s no real balance! One day I’m winning at one side of things and then losing on the other. The important thing is to be present in whatever situation you are in at that time and to not be too hard on yourself.
I’m loving neutrals with statement pops of colour for spring. Jewel tones such as emerald, purple and deep blue will be everywhere this season. If colour scares you, I always advise women to start to introduce brighter tones in their accessories. Once you’re used to this, then carry this into your clothing. Perspex shoes are a favourite of mine as they can create the illusion of longer legs and are extremely flattering on every woman.
What are your tips to dressing for different body shapes and sizes? What’s the key to confident dressing?
The great thing about the current fashion landscape is that there’s so many different shapes and silhouettes available to suit all kinds of women. My advice to consumers is to pick the part of your body that you love and accentuate that. For example, if you love your legs, I would choose dresses and skirts with a shorter hemline to show them off. Accentuating your waist is always a great way to add shape to your body; styles that are more structured or belted will create the illusion of curves.
What’s next for Lana Wilkinson?
I’ve been working hard on a new and exciting project that will see me move into the design space. It’s been great to flex a different part of my brain, creatively and in business and take on a new challenge. Stay tuned!