A Conversation with Penny Lovell: Celebrity Stylist

Born and raised in London, Penny Lovell was fascinated with everything fashion from an early age. A self-described vintage junkie, Penny had an innate creative ability to find and transform inexpensive vintage pieces to the high couture outfits she admired in magazines. She worked her first job at age 15 at a trendy clothing boutique and found her natural talent for styling the mannequins and store displays.

Penny explored the fashion publicity world by working in-house at Burberry for a short period of time before landing a job at British ELLE as an assistant to the fashion director. In 1999 she moved to New York, continuing to freelance for British ELLE, Conde Nast Traveller, The Sunday Telegraph, and Harvey Nichols. Penny relocated to Los Angeles in 2004 where she was an instant hit with some of Hollywood’s finest.

Penny has styled the likes of Rose Byrne, Ginnifer Goodwin, Keira Knightley, Melissa Etheridge, Emily Deschanel, Diane Kruger, Will Ferrell, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, Casey Affleck, Lake Bell, and Mary-Louise Parker. Her work has graced the covers and pages of magazines such as W, Japanese Vogue, Interview, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle. Penny currently styles actresses Rose Byrne and Ginnifer Goodwin.

Penny resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and their 2-year old daughter.

Tell us the story behind your favorite wardrobe item

Penny: I have a few different ones, a Dries Van Noten dress that my husband bought me for my birthday last year. It's silk with a bold print and bright green panel, I love it for sentimental reasons but also because its so versatile, I can wear it to work with flats and out for dinner with heels. Also it goes into winter with tights and a jacket. I'm a big fan of Dries and also Marni and Margiela. I love a print! My other favorite is my H&M black wedge boots with gold ankle buckle, they are great for everyday and everyone asks about them. I love H&M, I would say I wear something of theirs almost every day!

What’s your most memorable ‘panic moment’?

Penny: It was when I first started working in celebrity styling, I was flying from NY to LA to work with Keira Knightley on a press tour, the night before my only photo ID had been copied for my new lease and accidently was left in the copier and the office was closed for the weekend. My flight was early on Sunday morning and I seriously thought I wasn't going to be able to get there for the Monday AM start. I did however have the copies of my ID and I don't know how but they let me on the plane with that.... It was them worst night sleep I have ever had.... and I thought for 12 hours I would never work again!!

How did you recover from it gracefully?

Penny: I slept for the full six hours on the plane (hugging her premiere dress)! And told no one, well not that week at least.

What is your favorite era for fashion?

Penny: Probably the 20s, for the glamour, the emerging designers, the fabrics and beading, the jewelry, but most of all the understated sexiness of it all. That said I am also inspired by many eras for different reasons, the 30's were very chic, the fifties for the fun and girlness, the sixties for cool, the hippyness of the seventies and the out and out craziness of the 80's! It sort of depends on my mood.

What was your big break?

Penny: It was the year after 9/11 and fashion styling in NY had been pretty slow. I had been recommended to the photo editor at Parade Magazine by a photographer and she met with me and asked me to shoot William H. Macy. I had never really worked with a celebrity before and at that point not styled many men. I pulled in about 100 suits and was pretty nervous :) The shoot went very well fortunately as the next assignment they gave me was Keira Knightley! I flew to London to do the shoot and we got along well, at the end of the day she was on the phone to her management talking about needing a dress for the next day and I said in passing 'I can get you a dress' she was like 'OMG that would be amazing' and that started a working relationship of 18 months. It was my intro into the whole red carpet world and I was very very lucky.

Whose closet would you most like to raid?

Penny: Kate Moss and Iris Apfel. Kate Moss because I worked with her on a commercial many years ago in London and she arrived straight from the airport with her luggage, she was trying to decide what to wear that evening in the dressing room and pulling out of her suitcase the most amazing array of clothes and shoes I have EVER seen. I had serious wardrobe envy for years! And Iris Apfel, well that speaks for itself! I could live in her closet happily for the rest of my life.

Who are your favorite designers?

Penny: Oh SO many but in no specific order Chanel, Roksanda Ilincic, Jonathan Saunders, Marni, Dries Van Noten, Paper London, Peter Som, Prabal Gurung, Christian Cota and Louis Vuitton .

Thanks Penny!! To learn more about Penny you can view her full portfolio HERE and her happenings will be updated through her agency's twitter @swartists