A Conversation with Laura Schuffman: Fashion Stylist
Originally from Jefferson City, Missouri, Laura Schuffman graduated from the University of Missouri and promptly moved to New York City to pursue her dream of living in the big city. After several years of work at Credit Suisse First Boston, she opted to change coasts and change the direction of her career. She moved to Los Angeles where she spent almost 2 years working at Creative Artists Agency. The talent agency opened many doors and eventually led her to a career in fashion. She became the Style Editor for Los Angeles Weddings Magazine and Orange Coast Weddings Magazine while she assisted and trained with top stylists Deb Waknin, Vanessa Moore and Seneca Moss. Currently, Laura and her partner, Saba Salehi, are the style consultants for the ABC Family Network. They consult on all of the network's shows, write fashion content and blogs for the network's website and are the acting "Stylistas" for all things fashion at ABC Family. In addition, her work has been featured on countless commercials, advertising campaigns, magazine covers and editorial pages in publications such as Japan Vogue, GQ, In Style, Parade and Maxim. She has also worked with a number of celebrities including Lucy Hale, Eminem, Mischa Barton, Carolyn Murphy and Samantha Morton and most recently she was asked to join the Board of Advisers at the University of Missouri TAM (Textile and Apparel Management) School.
Tell us the story behind your favorite wardrobe item
Laura: My favorite wardrobe item would have to be my black motorcycle boots. They have been in my closet for 6 years and every year they get better. I have had them resoled so many times and I always get compliments on them. The best part about them is that I found these gems at my favorite little store in Santa Monica, DAME. They cost 60 bucks and people always ask where I got them and are shocked when I tell them how much they cost. Total score!
What's your most memorable 'panic moment'?
Laura: I have had so many panic moments in my career it is really hard to choose one that stands out. To this day I still freak out a little on every job. But if I had to pick one I would say it was for a commercial that my partner Saba and I worked on a couple of years ago. It was an international client and we had the fitting the day before the shoot. We only needed one black dress for one actress. We had tons in every shape, style and designer and after she tried on every last one of them the client said, "Is this all you have?" I thought I was going to die or at the very least just quit working and move to a farm and raise pigs and chickens.
How did you recover from it gracefully?
Laura: I have no idea what came our of my mouth next but something along the lines of "Not to worry, we know exactly what you are looking for and we will have it tomorrow on set." We spent the next 12 hours rummaging up every black dress in this city and surrounding areas. Needless to say we found the perfect dress and the client was pleased but I learned two things that day...ALWAYS have way more than you think you would ever need and having a partner like Saba to go through those moments with is what keeps me sane and off the farm.
What is your favorite era for fashion?
Laura: My favorite era of fashion is the 70's. The wide leg pants, the maxi dresses and the casual elegance of the time really inspire me. My fashion tendencies continue to evolve over time as my life changes but there really is something great about this decade that I never really drift too far from.
What was your big break?
Laura: My styling career started years ago while I was working for super model Carolyn Murphy. I was her assistant for several years and part of my job became to help her with red carpets so I had to learn everything fashion very quickly. Things started slowly and before I knew it I was helping dress her for the Met Ball and the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Through those years, I made tons of connections and relationships that I still treasure to this day. One of those was Cameron Silver at Decades in LA. He had always been very supportive and kind to me and one day I got a call from Japan Vogue. They were doing a story on up and coming stylists and they told me that he had suggested me!! I was so scared to do my interview with them and it took me 2 weeks to design my page for the issue. When it was all said and done, it was one of the most terrifying yet pivotal moments of my career to date and it gave me the confidence I needed to really pursue a styling career. So thank you Carolyn and thank you Cameron!
Whose closet would you most like to raid?
Laura: If I could raid anyone's closet it would be Nicole Richie. Her style is such an eclectic mix of ladylike classics and retro chic and it certainly inspires me to try and be a better dresser in my everyday life. She wears gorgeous dresses just as well as she wears tee shirts and jeans and she does it with 2 kids!! Having a baby myself I know how challenging it is to balance the practical side of life and the desire to also look like you still care about what you look like and maintain a personal style of your own. She is my total fashion inspiration.
Who are your favorite designers?
Laura: Jane Mayle is my favorite overall designer. When she was designing collections there was never a piece that I didn't totally love. Now I have to obsess over her on Ebay and consignment stores. I love Tom Ford for red carpet. He creates pieces that are sexy and sophisticated and his collections are flawless. I also love Tibi for great wearable pieces. I need my clothes to be multifunctional these days and Tibi creates pieces that really work for everyone and they aren't too terribly expensive.