ONE THING (OR TWO): ALI MANDELKORN

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Celebrity stylist Ali Mandelkorn is known for her spectacular, over-the-top work with clients like Janelle Monae and Kate Nash, and has been the fashion director at Galore for four years. We found Ali quarantining in her purple princess castle room dressed to the absolute nines in “one thing” that she never normally gets to wear, and it’s phenomenal.

What are you wearing today?

An embroidered tulle top and skirt set from Australian brand Dyspnea, butterfly stripper shoes in metallic purple tones from Sugarbaby and acetate flower earrings from Lele Sadoughi.

If you were talking to a 6-year-old, how would you describe this look? 

As the outfit of a magical fairy princess from the land of lavender!

So: which came first, the wall color or the AMAZING outfit? How did you come up with this look?

The wall color came first… It was this color when I moved in! It was definitely part of the vibe that sold me on the place.

How did you first start styling? What drew you to the work?

I moved into celebrity styling from costume designing for film and television. I’ve always loved to create fantasy worlds and dive into the specific details of what those environments would entail. With wardrobe specifically, you get to highlight facets of someones personality that add depth and complexity to their character. This form of self-expression really fascinates and excites me. It’s a special method of communication all on its own.

You’re behind the legendary “pussy pants” in the Janelle Monae “Pynk” video, among other break-the-internet fashion moments. What is your philosophy of style that makes you so successful with clients like Janelle Monae? How did those pants, in particular, come into this world?

Those pants were the ingenious creation of Janelle Monae and Duran Lantink! I feel so grateful to have been part of such a powerful moment in pop culture. Especially because of the inclusive feminine powered message we were sending. My philosophy is to always be open to the possibility of the unknown. If something has never been done, or tried, or tested or explored within the space of fashion, I want to always remain open to saying ‘yes’ we will do everything in our power to make that happen. 

What are you wearing on the regular (when you’re not being shot by our friend Maria)?

These days, it’s been a teal tie dye sweat suit set from Orenda Tribe. They are donating most (if not all!) of their proceeds to the Navajo Nation’s fight against COVID at the moment. I’m really trying to be conscious about where and who my money is going to right now, and moving forward.

What have you been doing to stay sane or take care of yourself during lockdown?

Walking around East LA and reading! So much reading. Some of my favorites so far have been Sapiens by Yuval Harari, The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer, Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs… and I’m really looking forward to receiving my pre-ordered copy of The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley!

Any projects you are working on right now that you want to share? Or not, that’s totally ok, too!

Currently working on a full system upgrade of Ali Mandelkorn! My personal mindbody project. 🙂

CONNECT WITH ALI MANDELKORN

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photos / Maria Jose Govea

story / Anna Bulbrook

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