Stephanie Allaire is the epitome of ultra cool. Her distinct, unified style mixes vintage punk with city chic in a refined way that always looks elegant and modern. We had a blast shooting Stephanie’s workwear #OOTD in the alleyways of her SOMA neighborhood – and loved how the tones and styling of her outfit reflected the San Francisco cityscape. With an impeccable eye for style, design, and visual detail in addition to being the head of Merchandising and Visual aspects of Chanel San Francisco, she shares her inner world of inspiration with us. Having recently traveled to Paris for the #SS16 shows, she reveals her travel diary and all the fresh perspectives on fashion that are influencing her now! Follow Stephanie’s beautifully unified Instagram for your daily fix of visual eye candy @steph_allaire and on her blog at www.stephinsf.com
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel
Have you always been interested in fashion? Do you have any early childhood fashion memories?
I have been fashion obsessed since the womb! My mom and Grandma decked me out in frilly dresses and hairpieces to match since birth. My Aunt was an Opera singer and performer so I always went straight for her closet and played dress up in her high heels and gowns when we went to her house. I definitely had a tomboy phase later on and some horrific 90’s moments (can someone say pleather?) but we don’t have to go into detail about that… I’ve known I wanted a career in fashion since elementary school, it was pretty much a done deal for me!
Tell us a bit about your job at Chanel! What a typical day is like for you.
I am in charge of the Merchandising and Visual aspects of the San Francisco boutique. I change the windows and set the floor about 8 times per year, all working around the 6 fashion shows and 2 pre-collections Chanel produces every year. I am given the freedom to showcase the current collection as best I can in my boutique, creating an environment for the clients to feel like they stepped into a Chanel runway show. The merchandising of every product category plays a huge part in this: handbags, shoes, small leather goods, ready to wear, and costume jewelry all come together to create stories.
Describe your work style and how you always look so cool and chic yet professional?
Of course, my work style is very minimal, usually all black with a hint of white or pattern somewhere. I like to mix fabrics, like throwing my leather jacket on with a lace skirt and cotton turtleneck. I pretty much live in my leather leggings, they are so comfortable, durable, and adds a bit of chic to any outfit! My shoe choices have to be comfortable since I’m on my feel running around all day. I tend to go for a combat boot or a low pointy heel when I want to dress my outfit up. It’s all about how you pair things together, and black is always in style! It helps to pop a bold lip on to complete the look. I also love mixing in vintage belts or chain necklaces to add my person flair to an outfit.
How would you describe your aesthetic taste?
I think everyone’s taste evolves over time and can reflect trends of the current times, but one thing is for sure I have always had an abundance of black in my wardrobe. Black is truly my color of choice, it’s empowering, classic, and minimal, depending on how you put it together. I am naturally drawn toward a minimal aesthetic, whether it’s style, art, or interiors. I also love mixing vintage with trend to create your own unique style.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes in all forms for me, I check Instagram, Pinterest, and my favorite blogs daily, and am constantly inspired by what people can create on social media. I used to go through hundreds of magazines and cut out pages and fashion that really inspired me and create collages all over my walls when I was a kid and in high school (my desk at work has a Chanel collage moment going on too!). I was blown away by the street style when I went to New York and Paris for the first time, definitely made me rethink how to wear things differently in my wardrobe!
Do you have any muses or other people you look up to?
I am a Kate Moss fanatic. I also look up to the women that have created an empire for themselves and worked their butts off to become so successful through their blogs and instagram. Danielle Bernstein of Weworewhat.com and Chiara Ferragni of Theblondesalad.com are great examples. Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel is also a huge inspiration and best example of a “boss lady” of her time. Working for the company, I have learned so much about this woman and how her original designs are still relevant today!
Any fashion advice from Parisienne women that could be applied to American girls?
Less is more! The Parisienne chic girls wore little to no make-up, barely brushed hair, and simple yet extremely well put together style. Throw some sneakers on with your tights, coat, and plaid scarf and act like it just naturally happened.