This week, we are shining a spotlight on Mouret’s long-time friend and collaborator, stylist Sophia Neophitou, who is celebrated in this month’s Vogue Italia. As the world continues to be affected by Covid, Sophia goes from strength to strength in her recovery following her personal battle with the illness. They say that adversity breeds creativity and Sophia is testament to that.
In from an excerpt from Vogue Italia, Luke Leitch explores Sophia’s unconventional journey to the top.
Aged 27, Sophia Neophitou decided to quit her steady job at an architectural practice to pursue a career as a stylist. “My mother was absolutely horrified,” Neophitou recalls: “she said ‘What? So you’re going to cut hair?!’ There was no way of making her understand, because back then you could be a fashion editor, or a fashion designer, or a fashion photographer - these were recognised jobs - but nobody knew what a stylist even was.”
That was (a little over) 25 years ago. In the time since the profile of “fashion stylist” has gone from barely-understood to fiercely-coveted. Meanwhile Neophitou’s career has seen her progress from styling interiors for UK’s Elle Decoration and assisting at British Vogue to acting as creative director for Antonio Berardi, Roland Mouret, the Victoria’s Secret shows when they were in their primetime pomp, and - most significantly of all - founding 10 Magazine.
Back in February of last year Neophitou hosted a designer-rammed party in London to mark her title’s 20th anniversary. Since then she has been personally affected by Covid-19 - Neophitou is still in medical rehabilitation following a particularly severe case of the virus - and, while in recovery, has returned to the job she has long loved (even when nobody knew what it was) with a fresh perspective. So where does she think fashion lives?
Vogue Italia: How would you explain today what your mother didn’t understand back then - what is the role of a fashion stylist?
SN: The traditional role of a stylist is to identify and then curate an aspect, a trend, or a focus in the designs of a season or a single designer’s collection - and then to sing that song in our own individual way. It’s about creating a context for an emotional reaction to the images. And often the songs - or themes, or trends - are similar or have been explored before, but everyone sings them in a different voice. And that voice is the creative product of the stylist. It’s about captivating the viewer through your vision of the image, and the mark of success is the longevity of that image.