Courtney Madison, LA-Based Stylist
I’ll admit it. I have been absolutely dying to catch up with the beautiful and talented Courtney Madison. So when our schedules finally aligned I could barely contain my excitement. I feel like I should almost rename my interview section to Talking To My Girl Crushes, because that’s what it’s shaping out to be.
Courtney is a Canadian girl who found herself in LA and has time and time again proved to be one of the most creative and inspiring stylists in the game. From editorials to music videos, red carpets, and ready to wear, this girl does it all. This trailblazer is working with the big names. And I mean big. Like Beyonce big. I sat down with her to chat (mostly laugh) about how she dresses for work, her favorite projects, and of course, our mutual obsession with accessories.
Los Angeles Style vs. Toronto Style
Melissa: You’re originally from Toronto. What made you decide to make the move to LA?
Courtney: The magical combination of opportunity and weather.
Melissa: How would you say Toronto style compares to LA style?
Courtney: They each have such different lifestyles that it’s tough to compare the two. Toronto has seasons so you get a lot more variety (other than the darkness of winter). LA is more laid back in general but there are so many different areas that it’s hard to pinpoint one defining look of LA.
A Fashion Stylist’s Morning Routine
Melissa: As a stylist, you’re always focused on making everyone else look good. What about you? Do you have a morning routine that keeps you looking the way you do?
Courtney: I recently started pilates and I’m addicted. I haven’t felt this healthy and strong in a long time so I can’t recommend it enough.
Melissa: How do you dress for work? How does that compare to your everyday style?
Courtney: I work a lot but it depends on what I’m doing. Production days mean a lot of layers and sneakers because you’re on your feet all day and don’t know when it will end so comfort is key. Other than production days, my work and everyday outfits are pretty similar. My recent mentality is to dress like I’m on vacation. It’s a state of mind, right?
I like the variety of switching between them all because it keeps things interesting, but my favorite is probably editorial.
Melissa: If I were to open your closet, which type of accessories will I find the most of?
Courtney: I’m currently having an earring phase. Beyond that, I have a collection of scarves that I often wear as headwraps.
A Jack of All Fashion Trades
Melissa: You style everything from editorial, to runway, to ads, and music videos. What would you say is your favorite category to style in? Do you see yourself veering towards specializing in one?
Courtney: I like the variety of switching between them all because it keeps things interesting, but my favorite is probably editorial. I do so much ready to wear and red carpet that editorial allows me to tell stories and not have to work within the confines of wearable fashion. We all want a little bit of fantasy in our lives.
A Stylist’s Style Icons
Melissa: Do you have a mentor or an idol in the styling world? What about a style icon?
Courtney: I’ve been fortunate to have some amazing women mentor me both personally and professionally. The first was definitely my mom – she’s a badass. My forever style icons are Iris Apfel, Diana Ross, and Tilda Swinton. They’re all such great examples of the embodiment of style vs fashion.
A Stylist To The Stars
Melissa: Do you have a favorite shoot you styled or a favorite person/celeb to dress?
Courtney: One of my favorite shoots I worked on was for Forty Five Ten for a book called “The Eccentrics”. It was shot by Ruven Afanador and it was really just a celebration of each subject’s individual style. We shot Dita Von Teese, Erin Wasson, Edward Bess, and more. They also shot Iris for the cover and it was just really nice to be working with a team that were all so dedicated to the essence of expression through fashion.
Melissa: We have to talk about Beyonce. What was it like working on her “Formation tour”? There is obviously so much historical, political, and cultural influence in the costuming. How much preparation, planning, and effort goes into planning such a highly styled video?
Courtney: Working on a project of this scale was easily the biggest and most fulfilling job I’d ever worked on. It was a year long commitment behind the scenes, and, even though we were watching it take shape along the way, it was so powerful to see it out in the world.
Melissa: You too have the travel bug. What city that you have visited would you deem the most stylish?
Courtney: Can I choose a country instead? Italy has always conveyed a timelessness and respect for quality that struck a chord with me. I really appreciate the elegance and confidence that Italian men and women display. It’s a country full of simple reminders that if you wear something with confidence you can make it look amazing.
Melissa: You’re out for the full day. What staples and accessories would you pack to ensure you can take your morning look, through the afternoon and into the evening?
Courtney: Did I mention my current earring obsession? I like that I can throw them in my purse and easily transition from day to night. Since LA is a car culture I have the luxury of being able to throw things in the backseat for later. I have a staple jean jacket that I’ve owned since 9th grade and a silver Ralph Lauren leather moto that allow me to dress most of most outfits up or down. Also, Mac Russian Red lipstick has also proven to go a long way.