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Just as a life coach, through a process of elimination, helps you make your inner existence all the more unique, a dedicated stylist gives your outer self its own snowflake appeal. “Holistic personal shopper” Lisa von Weise knows this all too well. Her mission is to drown out the sartorial noise and provide her clients with a bespoke process that helps them discover what their own signature style truly is. Also: She finds good stuff.
Today von Weise is perched over her laptop at a maple and garnet leather Deco desk in her Hudson Yards apartment in Manhattan. Wearing a muted leopard print blouse, a flowing Persian blue skirt, and a sparkly cluster of Wendy Nichol earrings—and with the intensity of a P.I. sifting through microfiche late at night at the library—the 50-year-old St. Louis native scrolls through the seemingly endless online retail world. Her mission: carefully curating an array of dress options for a client who works for the U.N.
With a finely trained eye from decades of experience as a fashion editor (Elle) and celebrity stylist (Angelina Jolie), von Weise scours high-end luxury sites like Moda Operandi, Matches, Farfetch, and Net-a-Porter. (When needed, she’ll leverage personal relationships with private showrooms and emerging designers.) Just as an editor spends hours tracking down the perfect looks for a shoot, von Weise pulls up a variety of options. Her computer screen is now peppered with an array of dresses from designers Sally LaPointe and Alexander McQueen.
“I use the word holistic because I’m really taking every aspect of their life into consideration,” she tells me. “It’s all about finding shapes, cuts, fabrications, moods that are customized to their unique lifestyle, goals, and values. Without someone like me, people tend to purchase the same thing over and over again.”
The first step is to examine a client’s closet. From there, von Weise begins her extensive research, scouting trunk shows, private showrooms, and boutiques. “There are so many great salespeople that are willing to do backflips for you and make anything happen,” she says. Increasingly, she notes, that “make anything happen” means customizing existing dresses and creating made-to-order versions of runway looks.
Von Weise’s ethos is both haute couture and self-help-y. “My bespoke styling process is curating someone’s downtime, addressing her fears, and enlarging her vision of her future,” she says. “I tend to find great designer pieces, get a size up, and have extensive tailoring done. I work with a luxury tailor who comes to their home or office and has a very strong fashion sense and will help us design an item.”
After two hours in front of her laptop, von Weise has found the dress for her U.N. client. She zeroes in on a voluminous shift from London designer Emilia Wickstead. A short-winded sigh evolves into an elated gasp, and she takes a screenshot—then contacts the designer for an even better version.
“I spend the whole day studying, reading, and thinking about fashion, expression, communication, and personal style. They don’t have the bandwidth for that,” she says. “I help them make informed choices, similar to the way that an art advisor would. Their shoes, jewelry, the bags—it’s their wearable art collection. Very few realize what power sincerity and individuality carry.”
Lisa von Weise’s styling and shopping consultations are $1,250 per day; lisavonweise.com.