After repeatedly seeing New York-based stylist Bianca Arielle Bailey‘s work jump out on our Instagram feed and make us pause, we knew it was to time to reach out to her and hear her story. In one of the most competitive fashion cities in the world, Bailey in a very short period has already racked up numerous high-profile projects, including styling both Sophie Beem and Azealia Banks‘ most recent videos and also full time styling for DJ sisters Angel and Dren and DJ Jasmine Solano.
There’s a theme of sexy and sensual that runs through Bailey’s work, but one that very much feels possessed by her clients and thus feels relaxed and mischievously fun, too; very much her work reminds of the vibes of TLC’s CrazySexCool era.
A Washington D.C. transplant, Bailey started her New York fashion career working for the storied Alessandro Dell’Acqua and then moved on to Zac Posen. She went on to join Elizabeth & James, where in visual and sales roles she learned about fashion of course, but also the nuts and bolts of the business. In 2012, she became a market editor for Paper magazine, a position that became the launch pad for her entry into the world of styling.
One of her breakout assignments was styling senior internet personality and model Baddiewinkle. Remember that MTV VMA Discount Universe outfit she wore? Yep, that was Bailey’s work. She also styled the famed shoot that reimagined Baddiewinkle as the Kate Moss Supreme photograph (below).
Check out our exchange with Bailey below:
Snobette: Hi Bianca, let start with your background. Where are you from?
Bianca Arielle Bailey: “I’m from Washington DC. I moved to New York in 2007.”
Snobette: Do you see yourself as a DC girl?
Bianca: “Yes, definitely. I was born and raised there. I’ve been in NY for ten years but my DNA is from DC.”
Snobette: How would you describe that DNA?
Bianca: “It’s interesting, there are a lot of stereotypes about people from D.C., but I had a very well-rounded experience growing up there. My whole life, I’ve always been pointed out for sounding white or not being black enough, but I was always just being myself and I never changed that. When I look back on all the influences I had in fashion, I still do my eyeliner the same way I did when I was in seventh grade. I’ve just recently realized that when I look at who I am today, I see my seventh-grade self. I just became more sophisticated and knowledgeable about fashion.”
Snobette: How did that shape the lens you see fashion through now?
Bianca: “One thing I will say is my rule, even when I moved to New York, is I go for what I love. I’m am not a trendy person. There are some designers and people I relate to. Those people tend to have the same philosophy and there’s a certain consistency. I’ve gone from having a shaved head with platinum blonde hair and now I have jet black hair down to my butt, but those are looks I felt strongly about and went for. Trends definitely change, but in terms of how I see things, as far as my aesthetic, I’ve stayed true to who I am.”
Snobette: What were some of your favorite projects last year?
Bianca: “2016 was an amazing year for me. I styled my first video, Sophie Beem “Skyline,” and after that I styled Azealia Banks video for “Big Big Beat.” I did a few cover stories. I also started working with [twin sister] DJs Angel and Dren in August this year, and that’s been a really great, collaborative experience.”
Snobette: How was working with Azaelia? I’ve always heard she is really smart and funny.
Bianca: “I was so excited to work with her. A designer I work with, Jerome Lamaar, posted a picture of her wearing one of his designs. I asked him who she was working with, and he was like, ‘She’s looking for someone right now.’ He sent an e-mail introduction and not too long after I got an email that said she was shooting a music video that day. I actually pulled for that video within five hours. We were shooting through the morning. It was an amazing experience.”
Snobette: Switching to fashion, what trends do you see carrying over from 2016 to 2017?
Bianca: “I have to say, I’m not big on trend questions. My answer would probably be whatever I see that I like. A lot of fashion is about instinct, following your instinctive vision, that’s what creates longevity. If a brand does something and I love it, I’ll do it. Right now, I love Vetements and everything they do is spot on for me. And every collaboration they do is spot on. I wear Manolo Blahnik, the label is everything for me. It really is about instinct, it’s about my emotional reaction. If I’m in love with this person or this magazine, I will probably work with them. Every internship or job I’ve had, I felt an energy that inspired me.”
Snobette: Are there individuals whose look you feel inspired by?
Bianca: As far as people, Mary Kate and Ashley have always been a point of reference for me. I’m not so trendy, and they’re not trendy either. Their look is their look and they are very intelligent. Carine Roitfeld is the same way. Also, [former Barney’s senior fashion director] Tomoko Ogura, I remember when I was working at Elizabeth & James, Barney’s would come in for market appointments, and I would think, this girl is so cool. “
Snobette: What’s in your rotation shoe wise at the moment?
Bianca: “I love creepers. I love heels. I really love Alexander Wang. I’ve been collecting his shoes since 2007. He’s just doing what he does and that what’s make him cool. I’ve also always loved Manohlo Blahnik.”
Snobette: “There’s a big debate among big name designers about whether or not they will dress Melania Trump. What’s your take as a stylist on dealing with people who have unsavory reputations?
Bianca: “It depends on your personal relationship. It all depends on what you see in a person. Follow your heart and your intuition and ask yourself, ‘Does this person inspire me?’ If no, why waste your time?”
Snobette: On that note, how is D.C. dealing with Donald Trump as the president?
Bianca: “I’m in DC now, and Obama isn’t out yet. I just went to the Yasiin Bey show. It was his final show, and that was really beautiful. Obama isn’t out yet. I’m focusing on the positive energy and the things I love.”