She's beauty, she's grace, she's ruling the red carpet. Actress Laverne Cox, star of Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, wherever she goes, is turning heads and wowing the press with her elegantly unique style.
After being named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, scoring a coveted spot on People's Most Beautiful People list, and appearing on numerous magazine covers, it's hard to keep up with this megastar.
But even a great deal more is going on. Laverne Cox is establishing herself as not just a leading figure promoting the transgender community, but also as a style icon.
It is often thought that behind most exceedingly successful individuals is a person helping navigate the tricky waters of stardom. So who's the stylist working with Laverne to perfect her sophisticated aesthetic? Christina Pacelli, stylist to Laverne, shares with us the process of elevating someone into style stardom.
As most fashion boys and girls do, this Huntington Beach, California native discovered her love for fashion at a young age. She says she first became fixated on clothes in fourth grade. Back-to‐school‐shopping was the highlight of her year. With a mother from Mexico and a first-generation Italian father, Pacelli says her upbringing was anything but conventional, as she has been on her own and financially autonomous since the tender age of 15.
Clueless's Cher and My‐So‐Called‐Life's Jared Leto have all provided inspiration to Pacelli, who admires their hard-to-achieve "I don't give a damn" look.
After studying Communications and Law at UCLA, she began her professional career as an entertainment and lifestyle publicist. She then transitioned to her love of fashion and began apprenticing for stylists such as New York‐based Anna Katsanis, who has styled editorials for major magazines around the world.
Through her publicist relationships, Pacelli was introduced to Laverne and it was fireworks from the start.
Laverne and I share the same stylistic approach. She has an admirable sense of fashion, and a great point of view when it comes to personal style and the fashion industry. She is very involved in her styling, which I believe comes through in her looks. In Laverne's words, 'I follow the guiding pillars of FFPS in fashion -- Fit, Fabric, Proportion and Silhouette. If all are right, then the look will translate well'
But how do all of the buzz-worthy looks come together? From custom Marc Bouwer to Viktor Luna, Cox and Pacelli have procured show‐stopping styles.
When Laverne and I first began working together, we briefed one another on our individual stylistic philosophies. With Laverne, it is not simply about wearing a designer garment. What she wears embodies her personality, confidence and her role for the occasion, or it will feel out of place and naturally won't be worn.
With so many notable moments, Pacelli says that some of her proudest times with Laverne include the 2014 Emmy Awards in custom Marc Bouwer, the Creative Arts Emmys and Entertainment Weekly party in Donna Karan and the White House Correspondents Dinner in Ines Di Santo. Pacelli notes, "Laverne's style has always been feminine and pretty. Our work together has built upon that, to take her style to non-obvious places and further showcase her confidence, grace, strength and sophistication."
Landing spots on countless best‐dressed lists, Christina does not disregard the strides they have made together.
She has been called a style icon on the rise. I do not disagree with that. She is making history with her presence in the industry and I do not take the job lightly. As a transgender black woman who has already pioneered so much, and broken barriers, the way Laverne looks and dresses has an impact and influence upon so many people, LGBT or non‐LGBT. People have shared with me they have been moved to tears observing Laverne because of what she stands for and how she inspired them with her visual presence.
Christina herself has been tapped to be featured in a Viacom series, which will air on MTV and Netflix.
As Laverne continues to gain meteoric success and notoriety, it's clear we have a great deal of fierce fashion to look forward to. And not only will the fashion be beautiful, but Cox and Pacelli will together be defying cultural norms and changing the world's perception of the transgender community.
"I knew that styling Laverne Cox came with more responsibility than just vanity. She inspires people simply by what she is wearing. And then she speaks and inspires them more. I understand and take my responsibility very seriously. I know eyes are on Laverne from all over the world."