Did you go through a breakup during the pandemic? So did some of our favorite celebrities — but not with their romantic partners. Instead, several of the best dressed women in Hollywood and beyond switched up their stylists, a.k.a. the fashion professionals tasked with building their visual identity on red carpets, album covers, magazine pages, and even paparazzi photos. (Because stars may be just like us, but there’s a reason they wear a full Vuitton look to the deli.)
That’s partly why when celebs emerged from their cashmere-padded cocoons in 2021, some of them looked and even felt a little different. And since it’s been scientifically proven one’s personality can shift during major events (“You can be a different person after the pandemic,” blared a viral New York Times story in 2021), it’s no surprise that personal style can also take a new turn… or a total 180, as the case may be.
“If we don’t feel confident in what we’re wearing, it stresses us,” Dr. Carolyn Mair, a fashion psychologist from the London College of Fashion, explained on the American Psychological Association’s podcast. “Which means we won’t have the cognitive capacity to deal with [a] problem at hand.” And in 2021, we collectively had a lot of problems… and also a lot of new clothes to choose from, as designers stepped back onto the runway (Prada, Proenza Schouler, Chanel…) or created innovative video presentations akin to mini-movies. (Perhaps Moschino’s mini-musical with Karen Elson did it best!)
Which is to say, if 2020 was the year we swathed ourselves in so many sweatsuits that entire new brands were born, went viral, and shuttered already, 2021 was a metamorphosis moment that called for not just new clothes, but entirely new fashion philosophies — ongoing pandemic or not.
Here are six style icons who changed their stripes (and spots, and plaids, and hemlines) in 2021, and the masterminds behind each transformation.
For years, Mrs. Bieber’s signature style — part New York moto jackets and Levis, part Beverly Hills tweed and diamonds — was in the hands of Maeve Reilly, who helped the Arizona-born model grow (and glow) into a modern supermodel icon. Among her signatures: cropped skirt suits in green and purple a la Cher Horowitz, bandeau tops that flashed her perpetually bronzed skin, and a trove of bodycon mini-dresses that channeled ’80s bombshells like Christie Brinkley. The apex of Bieber and Reilly’s glorious collaboration? A dress that featured a beige pencil skirt and twisted halter top from LaQuan Smith, which Bieber wore while greeting the president of France. (Some cried scandal, but let’s be real — Carla Bruni was the country’s first lady, and she’d wear that ‘fit in a heartbeat if she had it first.)
Upon returning to Les États Unis, Reilly continued her gasp-worthy fashion work with Megan Fox and Lori Harvey. Meanwhile, Bieber (who remains a friend) made a stylist swap and …….