A Conversation with

Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi

Renowned celebrity stylists Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi are the go-to team for some of music and entertainment抯 biggest stars, such as Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Lily Collins. The power-duo met in 2000 while working at MTV and have been a fashion force to be reckoned with ever since. We chatted with Haenn and Zangardi, who were named on The Hollywood Reporter抯 25 Most Powerful Stylists list, about their creative process, the hottest hair trends and their signature style.

Tell us about your first styling jobs. How did you break into the industry?
Mariel and I met working as stylists on MTV and decided we wanted to be a styling team that could do it all: editorial, high fashion, world tours, red carpet and music videos卼he works. Our first big job together was styling Rihanna at the moment her career really took off梙er 揋ood Girl Gone Bad days. The rest is history!

What抯 been the biggest difference between styling alone and styling with a partner?
Because Mariel and I love exactly the same things (we will literally order the same thing off the menu at lunch), working together just means that twice the amount of ideas and attention is devoted to each client through one lens. We also have the freedom to bounce ideas off of each other, which can lead to more experimentation.

What抯 your creative process when dressing clients? How do you decide which looks to pull?
It varies depending on the client and the situation. It's a collaborative, organic process. If we抮e dressing a client for an event, we take into consideration what the event calls for and any ideas the client might have; how they're feeling stylistically and creatively really drives what we pull. We also draw inspiration from a million different sources, most of which you'd never expect: everything from architecture and old cars to 1920s movies and classic muses like Kiki De Montparnasse. We document all of our inspiration on our Tumblr.

Do you have a signature style when it comes to dressing clients?
The R and M signature style is usually a mix of glam and edgy with some occasional street and hip hop influences. We love taking a classic look like jeans and a motorcycle jacket and updating it with elements that are unique to the client. We're also conscious of the right mix of sex appeal and sophistication in a look, which is what brings out an individual抯 confidence.

How do you balance your vision for a client with his or her personal aesthetic?
We always push and encourage our clients to at least try something new. Fashion is the most fun when it evolves and grows. At the same time, we're conscious of what they are comfortable with and what makes them feel the most confident. We tend to ignore trends and focus on the client抯 individual style so we can do something interesting with a look they already love.

Hair and makeup is an integral part of a look; how involved are you with this aspect of styling the client?
We work closely with the glam teams to ensure each component creates the perfect overall look for the client. Everything needs to meld together so there's balance and cohesion. Sometimes the whole look actually begins with a beauty element, like a hairstyle or a makeup look. There's no set process with this though梚t's definitely collaborative.

Which hair trends are you loving right now? Do you have a "go-to" style?
There are a few! Definitely the vintage, old Hollywood 40s waves梚t looks so glamorous, flatters every face shape and can heighten the aesthetic of the simplest ensemble. The slicked-back hair look is also a chic style that looks edgy, modern and can add balance to statement pieces. Finally, the top knot! You really can't go wrong with a top knot.

If you owned a salon, how would you outfit all of your stylists?
A simple, monochromatic look with clean shapes. We would probably have some Alexander Wang-inspired pieces: effortless street style that抯 also edgy卋lack and white leathers, simple T抯 and, most importantly, comfortable shoes. Maybe even some great Nike sneakers.

Fashion Week just wrapped up. Which shows were you most excited to see? Do you have any favorite designers?
Thom Browne, Mara Hoffman, Anthony Vaccarello, Cushnie et Ochs, Alexander Wang, Fausto Puglisi, Jason Wu, and Peter Pilotto were some stand outs this time around.

What are your Fashion Week "essentials"?
Our essentials for going to Fashion Week: sunglasses, iPhone and rechargeable battery, a bright lipstick that can take you from day to night, a great structured tote that can fit a clutch inside, the Uber app, Advil, some B vitamins for any Fashion Week party hangovers, a motorcycle jacket because it goes with everything and an iced almond latte.

Follow them on Twitter:
@marielhaenn
@robzangardi

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