MEET THE STYLIST: JESSE GARZA OF VISUAL THERAPY
A Conversation with Jesse Garza of Visual Therapy
It's Wednesday and that means we're sitting down with another talented stylist. This week we sat down with the amazing Jesse Garza of Visual Therapy and chatted about some of his fashion favorites and mishaps. Jesse Garza has worked in the fashion industry since he was 21, when he began selling clothing at Chicago's renowned boutique, Ultimo. Mentored by the store's founder and legendary style maven, Joan Weinstein, Garza rose from working the sales floor to becoming creative director over a period of ten years. Throughout this span, he collaborated closely with the best names in fashion staging runway shows, creating artful merchandising, and adapting cutting-edge design for the Chicago market. Inspired by the creative partnership of designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and French businessman Pierre Berge, Garza moved to New York to set up a luxury lifestyle consultancy with friend Joe Lupo, a banker with a fascination for fashion. With Garza's A-list Rolodex and Lupo's business acumen, the two successfully launched Visual Therapy in 1995 based on a sincere belief in the transformative power of clothing chosen to express one's truly unique personality. Since then, Garza - self-proclaimed "Fashion Evangelist" - travels the country with Lupo to work with a high-visibility roster of clients as well as to appear regularly on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" where they have been responsible for creating the looks featured on some of the program's highly rated fashion and seasonal makeover shows
Check out our conversation with him below!
SS: What is your favorite wardrobe item?
Jesse: This season I treated myself to a charcoal grey Tom Ford safari jacket. Not only is it chic, cozy and comfortable, but it is super functional. I can put an airplane ticket and wallet in one pocket, and my iPhone and a pair of glasses in the other. The importance of having pieces that look good and are functional at the same time is something that I always keep in mind for all my clients, especially when they're traveling.
SS: What is your most memorable ‘panic moment’?
Jesse: I was recently booked in Los Angeles and also San Francisco on the same day with a very small gap in between. I finished taping a fashion segment on the Ricki Lake Show and had to literally run off the set and jump on a plane. My flight was delayed…I was sweating bullets! Especially since I am always one of those ‘on time’ people. I hate being late.
SS: How did you recover from it gracefully?
Jesse: I swooped into the room where my client was doing the final fitting of a gown she was wearing to a ballet gala, like nothing had happened! She was on the phone and by the time she turned around, I had grabbed the accessories and finished the look…Voilà!
SS: What is your favorite fashion era?
Jesse: My favorite fashion eras are the 1940's, the 1970's and the 1980's. I love the nipped in waists of the 40s (think Joan Crawford), the jet set 70's (ala Lauren Hutton and Halston), the strong shoulders of the 80’s, and 80’s disco (not to be confused with 70's disco!)
SS: What was your big break?
Jesse: Six months after I moved to New York in 1995 and started Visual Therapy with my business partner, Joe, Harper's Bazaar did a four-page spread on our services, saying that we were “the shopping wave of the future” and calling us “the Style SWAT team". That’s when it really started happening for us.
SS: Whose closet would you most like to raid?
Jessie: Tom Ford! He’s an icon whose style and work I look up to.
SS: Who are your favorite designers?
Jessie: My favorite designers are Hermes, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Tom Ford.