Annabel Tollman is a British stylist who lives and works in New York City. She is probably best known for her glamorous A-list clients (Scarlett Johansson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Shakira, Mariah Carey, Liv Tyler), her old-Hollywood glamour aesthetic and her ability to work with both the most gamine and the most curvaceous of bodies. Previous to making actresses look like movie stars, Annabel was the Fashion Director at Interview and also worked at Wallpaper* magazine. A noted authority on fashion and style she has written for Interview, Wallpaper and The Daily Telegraph and appeared in The New York Times, Vogue (UK), Us Weekly, Elle (UK), Marie Claire, InStyle (UK), The New York Post, Japanese Vogue and is quoted by the New York Times, Us Weekly, Life and Style, People and WWD. She has also appeared in numerous television shows such as Rachel Ray, Fox News, LXTV, “Glamour’s Dos and Don’ts” and Kimora Lee Simmons’ “Life in The Fab Lane” as well as created and presented online segments for Fashionair and eBay and currently has a television show in creative development with the Bravo network.
Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?
AT: The first record that I ever bought was Michael Jackson's Thriller. It made me write "I love Michael Jackson" on my hand in coloured pencil. My sister and I were very fond of putting on our leotards and legwarmers and doing dance routines for whoever could be cajoled into an audience. I'm fairly sure that the moonwalking and monster dance from the Thriller video were incorporated asap. We're thinking of changing the routine one of these days.
Q2. What was the first item of clothing that you bought for yourself and what was so special about it?
I think that it was a big roccoco jewelled cross on a velvet ribbon. I wore it with a black dress and a lot of eyeliner and thought that i was very gothic and cool. In retrospect it was utterly hideous, but to me it spoke of immeasurable coolness and rebellion.
Q3. When did you start taking working as a stylist and how did you get into it?
AT: I started styling by mistake. I went to Central St Martins and was supposed to be a fashion journalist (I still write too). I took an internship at The Telegraph Magazine assisting Lulu Anderson, the Fashion Editor. She was so ultra-glamorous and we would zip around London in her convertible and go on shoots with cool people and lovely clothes. I decided rather than being on my own in my pyjamas writing copy, I'd much much rather be out and about with exciting talented people. Nowadays, of course, I see nothing wrong with my own company or wearing pyjamas.
Q4. Which designers/stylists have inspired you?
AT: Alexander McQueen's shows were always incredible. You could be so exhausted, so over it all and then see a McQueen show and it was like nothing else mattered. For the s/s 2004 show, Deliverance, which was the dance marathon, I only had half a buttock on a wooden deckchair, and basically held a squat for the whole show. Didn't matter, the sheer beauty made me immune to the pain.
Q5. Give me a really crazy anecdote/story. Something that has happened with a celebrity or famous person...
AT: So many of my crazy stories are unfortunately never to be told because of non-disclosure agreements!
I did have some crazy amazing experiences working with Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant when I was at Interview. We went to Tokyo once with Karl Lagerfeld to shoot a special issue about all the actors and actresses and singers and Asian stars. I'm sitting in a minibus with Karl and Ingrid and Andre Leon Talley and Ingrid starts saying how she got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and got her face washed and hair blown out (I don't know if you have ever been to Tokyo, but the lavatories are something to behold). It's not everyday that one talks toilets with Karl Lagerfeld.