Haidee Findlay-Levin Says Don’t Become a Stylist

Haidee Findlay-Levin is one of those stylists who are equally known for their personal look as for their professional work. You’ve seen her vision in Fantastic Man, Acne Paper, Muse, and more. And you’ve seen her wearing her signature item: eyeglasses. But what’s been a lifelong obsession is now becoming a new career: She’s developing her own line of eyewear. We caught up with Haidee to talk styling tips, favorite designers, and why you probably shouldn’t follow her lead.

Styling Chanel Iman for FAT; Fantastic Man Issue #8Photo: Courtesy of Creative Exchange Agency

You always have the best glasses. What do you look for in eyewear?

Although I had the misfortune of needing glasses since the age of 5, they have always been my most vital accessory. They must be well made, as glasses tend to be worn consistently and for a long time; they need to function well for you to function well. I have several hundred pairs, but I rotate wearing about ten to twelve pairs. Sometimes I decide which glasses to wear and then dress accordingly.

What designers or labels do you actually wear the most?
Martin Margiela, Marni, Junya Watanabe, and Comme des Garçons. But I always mix them with the unexpected.

What trends do you like for fall?

The strong shoulders (Maison Martin Margiela, Yves Saint Laurent) and baggy trousers. I loved the high collars and heavy lace at Prada. I also love jumpsuits, but I think the best ones are coming through for next spring.

Where do you shop in the city?
I love flea markets, vintage stores, and vintage fairs for endless inspiration. Silver Lining Opticians and Fabulous Fanny’s for eyewear. A Détache, Project No. 8 for more of the unpredictable designers. Marni and Comme des Garçons stores because the whole shopping experience feels special. Freemans Sporting Club for men for the aesthetic, although many stores are now trying to copy it.

What advice would you give people who wanted to be stylists?
Don’t do it. Find another career. People have so many misconceptions about this job and what is required. Styling is 90 percent production and sometimes only 10 percent creativity. Loving clothes is not a good enough reason to do this job. If you love clothes, go shopping; don’t become a stylist. I love music but have no illusion to thinking I could be a musician.

If you could give us a rule or two about styling ourselves, what would that advice be?
Less is more, one idea at a time. Wear the clothes and don’t let them wear you. Fashion victims look just that, like victims. Sex appeal should be a suggestion, not a billboard. It’s more about concealing than revealing.

What’s something that every woman should have in her closet?
The little (or not-so-little) black dress. And a really well-cut black jacket.

Haidee Findlay-Levin Says Don’t Become a Stylist