Maeve Reilly is grateful. The celebrity stylist tells me as much over the phone no less than three times, and regularly intersperses her Instagram Stories with posts about light and love and gratitude to her 760,000 followers. It’s clear her thankfulness comes from a genuine, innermost place, but also she received so many bouquets for her birthday this month from friends, colleagues, and designers that she had to make a gentle joke on Instagram along the lines of okay, stop sending flowers now!
From an onlooker flicking through Instagram Stories, the dozens of gifts and arrangements seemed thoughtful, of course, but possibly exemplified how grateful other people are to her. Despite being in the business for over a decade and snagging the tenth spot on the Hollywood Reporter's 25 Most Influential Stylists in Hollywood list in 2017, Reilly’s work has taken on a culture-shifting feel recently thanks to a professional partnership with Hailey Bieber, a celebrity whose style is now so pervasive and imitated that, if they gave out Oscars for aesthetic relevancy, she’d be thanking the Academy. As such, designers want to be included in her work, and Reilly has a knack for spreading the love among established brands like Bottega Veneta, Acne Studios, Mugler, and Jacquemus and up-and-comers like Italian label The Attico, Polish designer Magda Butrym, and New York's LaQuan Smith
No matter if she's dressing Bieber, Ciara, La La Anthony, or newer clients like Megan Fox and influencers Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, the finished product almost always has some degree of skin—exposed abs, daring cutouts, a wow-that’s-short skirt—but the consistent hat trick is almost always how the overt sexiness is offset by pieces that exude effortlessness and a hint of modesty: a giant blazer, a pair of rare Be True to Your School Nike Dunks, baggy cargo pants, an affordable baseball cap. The looks are covetable and modern, but they’re designed for life—date nights, coffee runs, drinks with the girls. They’re also replicable, which is a powerful and rare concept for a stylist to lean into. The idea of “getting the look” used to be scoffed at by fashion insiders, but for someone like Reilly, it’s all part of the process.
Historically, the job of a successful celebrity stylist has been to dress movie stars in clothing that feels purposely unattainable—red-carpet gowns by top-tier fashion houses, dozens of perfect outfits for every stop along international press junkets—so the idea that a famous person would pay someone to dress them in clothes they actually live their real lives in is surprisingly novel. “The actress thing is amazing and it's fantasy, but it can't be replicated,” says Reilly, who tells me it makes her happy when women re-create looks they see her clients wearing on their own budgets.
But what really sets Reilly, 34, apart from others in her field is the willingness to remake a celebrity persona in her own image. Reilly herself dresses the way she styles her clients, so the influence starts at the root. For better or worse, it’s hard not to compare Reilly’s effect to that of Rachel Zoe in the early 2000s. Both are emblematic of celebrity street style during a particular snapshot of time.
By no means is this comparison aesthetic: Whereas Zoe skulked around Robertson Boulevard with her emaciated acolytes draped in bohemian schmattas and bug-eyed sunglasses to avoid the paparazzi, Reilly is toned and strong like her clients and zips around L.A. in sweats, crop tops, those same rare Dunks (she recently splurged on the coveted orange and white “Syracuse” low-tops, she tells me), acrylic claws, tiny tats, iced wrists. If you could bottle 2021 as a vibe, in she’d go.
Two decades ago Zoe would have been in that bottle, as she too had real women clamoring to copy the way she dressed. The difference, looking back, is that Zoe and her crew—you know who they are—emitted distinct you-can’t-sit-with-us energy (again, emblematic of the time), while Reilly is all about inclusion, decency, and surrounding herself with good vibes.
“The most important thing to me is if they're nice,” she tells me when I ask her how she goes about deciding who to take on as clients. “If you're not nice, I won't work with you. I worked so hard on myself to make sure everything I do is from my heart, and so I find I've drawn in women who work energetically with me.” Reilly also says it comes down to a shared vision. “Women are drawn to my aesthetic, which is very tomboy, very edgy, very cool-girl. Most likely, I'm not going to attract a bohemian.”
Her personal brand is so strong that she recently launched her own line of clothing, The Local Love Club, that consists of streetwear essentials like sweatpants, hoodies, and ball caps. The dichotomy Reilly represents—noticeably edgy but also brimming with goodwill—is deeply rooted in the brand (“everyone is invited” are the first words you see on its website), just as it is in her daily work with clients.
“Local Love Club is all about spreading love and kindness,” she says. “It’s about my experience as a kid being bullied and going into adulthood and seeing how much hatred and negativity is spread across the internet. I wanted to create the perfect-fitting sweatsuit but, additionally, have it [carry] a message of love and positivity. The first hoodie we designed says, ‘Thank you for being kind.’”
It’s not just talk, either: Part of the proceeds go to Kind Campaign, a nonprofit organization that brings awareness and healing to the very real effects of girl-against-girl bullying through in-school assemblies and educational curriculums. “It's a labor of love,” Reilly says.
Below, more on Reilly’s career, including how she got her start in fashion, the client she says changed everything for her, and her current work dressing some of the most stylish women on the planet.
Glamour: Explain how you got into styling.
Maeve Reilly: I was always interested in fashion, and I went to [New York’s] Fashion Institute of Technology all through high school for classes. I didn’t know where I’d land because, God, this was 17 years ago. I ended up getting an internship that my dad sort of forced on me when I was 18, and I walked onto a television show as an intern in the wardrobe department. Within the first day, it was like, I cannot believe this is a real job. Sign me up—I want to do this forever.
How did you make the jump to going out on your own?
It took years of interning and assisting to even be qualified to do a celebrity. I worked for other people for 8 to 10 years before I got my own thing going. So I had a ton of experience watching stylists and being a fly on the wall. That’s what allowed me to be able to handle it myself when it came time. A lot of my early-day experience—working with Jamie Foxx and Russell Brand—was being in the right place at the right time. I’d meet people in their camp and it sort of happened organically. I was definitely in way over my head, but I just figured it out.
Who do you consider your first big celebrity client? The get?
I think of Janelle Monáe when I think of what changed for me. She's a fashion icon, and we worked together for six years. But when I first started working with her, she was only wearing suiting and wouldn't show an ounce of skin and still had the the bow tie. It ended years later with her in that beautiful [Elie Saab] gown at the  Oscars which was just completely different. And then, obviously, Hailey coming in and us sort of creating this street-style lane.
Can we talk about Hailey? She obviously looks amazing, and I think that people who follow fashion know this, but do you think it’s widely known that your partnership has helped elevate her into this rising icon of street style? That it’s largely your influence?
That means so much to me. It's always a hard question because I really live my life from a place of humility and have no ego. We have something very special and it is a partnership, as you said. The success has been watching her grow into her own style and taste. When we first started, I think she leaned a lot more on me; as the years have gone on and she's developed who she is as a woman in fashion, that’s why it works. She'll take a look that we styled together and then remix it herself because she felt like wearing sneakers that day. It's very much her, but it's also very much me. So, yeah, I never know how to answer that question.
I’ve interviewed a lot of celebrity stylists and so many say how gratifying it is to see clients come into their own with fashion and put their own spin on looks. Do you feel all your clients get to that place?
Megan [Fox] is a great example. When we first started she was literally like, “I will pretty much do whatever you tell me. This is what you're here for, do your thing.” Now she’s growing and [able to say], “Okay, I can throw this together.” And that's the point. For me, it's helping them develop who they are in the fashion space and who they are as women and how they want to represent themselves to the world. That's the honor of it all to me.
What time do you get up in the morning?
6:30 a.m. I’m at the gym at 8 a.m. every day if I can be.
Are you a breakfast person?
No, I'm not.
What’s a bit of career advice you’d give someone in need?
To never give up but also to stay in your lane—just always do what you're really good at.
Was there a moment that you realized, Okay, I might actually be very good at my job?
My work with Janelle got so much good press and people just really responded. We worked really hard to make sure that happened. And getting on the Hollywood Reporter list. That moment definitely was like, Whoa.
What’s your biggest challenge at work?
I take on a lot of energy, a lot of other people's stuff. My job is so much about taking care of other people, and I've learned I have to be centered, grounded, and mentally well. Because I never want to bring my stuff into the room. I want to leave whatever I've got going on personally at the door and bring up the vibe, bring up the energy, and hold face for them. I can't do that if I'm not good. Also, I did start a new business, and that's pretty challenging, juggling it all.
What’s your favorite low-stakes treat after a productive day?
I’m obsessed with Blue Bottle iced coffee with oat milk. It pretty much makes me happy anytime.
What specific pieces or designers do you find yourself gravitating toward for yourself and your clients right now?
I mean, Bottega [Veneta] is just crushing life; [designer] Daniel Lee is just amazing. I'm definitely big into the pouches at Bottega. Hailey's big into it too. It's kind of crazy how many colors of it she has at this point, but she wears them so often that we justify it. And then pairing it with a bright pair of Nikes I think is really fun.
What’s your go-to thank you gift?
What’s your typical email sign-off?
If you weren’t a stylist or working in fashion right now, what do you think you’d be doing?
Oh my God. I don't know. That's how much I feel this is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is totally fulfilling my purpose on this earth. But it would definitely be about making people feel good, whether that's in the mental health space or something along those lines. Definitely lifting people up. That’s what I'm here for.
Originally Appeared on Glamour