Many fashion editors play dress-up during Fashion Week. They get the perfect coif, wear the latest trends, and end up looking identical to one another. But Dani Stahl, sweeping into the front row with her fluorescent yellow hair last season and large Balenciaga shades, appeared dressed for combat. Her get-up–Helmut Lang denim jacket, Chanel dress and Suno sandals with batik ribbons tied up her legs–said, “Back off, I’ve been there, done that, seen it all, and had a tough night last night.” She dresses how everyone else feels.
Stahl, who writes the “Factory Girl” column for Nylon and designs the red-carpet collection for celebrities and editors that put Lia Sophia on the map, is like an update of the 1960s hipster Edie Sedgwick. But Stahl is Edie without the drugs and the bent for self-destruction. Stahl is like a Sedgwick who has all of that underground style…with a work ethic and a business plan.
In Stahl’s apartment, which resembles a giant fashion closet, the Style Director of Nylon magazine perches on a grand red sofette. Necklaces hang off doorknobs and are nailed to the wall. Bookshelves are filled with shoes. Stahl’s wardrobe has spilled out of the closets and onto a rolling rack in her kitchenette.
Her coif, which so turned electric banana by way of Manic Panic hair dye during Fashion Week, barely escaped going lavender during a more recent trip to Marie Robinson salon. The tips have ended up a fetching blonde. She has on green leather booties, paired with J Brand cargo pants and a Generation Love top with vegan leather sleeves. Her ice coffee, from Three Guys, has a splash of skim.
Born and raised on the Upper East Side, her dad was in finance. Mom started a successful business as a personal shopper when their marriage broke up, with a special talent for MOB (Mother of the Bride). After graduating from Chapin, young Stahl studied graphic design and photography at NYU. The better part of college, she interned at Elle magazine.
After graduating, Stahl assisted Rachel Zoe, “right at the beginning of her huge stardom,” she notes. After taking a job as an assistant at Vogue, she segued back to work with Marin Hopper, Fashion Director at Elle, and in 2000, she began at Nylon. At Nylon, Stahl would become the accessories and technology editor, and was later promoted to Style Director, founding the beloved “Factory Girl” column.
Six years ago, Stahl began designing jewelry for a company called Lia Sophia. Owners Elena and Tory Kiam were revamping the brand, named for Lia and Sophia, their two daughters. “They brought me on to design a small collection for press and celebrities to get the word out,” says Stahl. “I created eight-to-ten key pieces based on vintage jewelry. I love Deco jewelry. I did long strands of pearls and a vintage dome ring. And all of a sudden everyone was hearing about it.”
Six years later, Stahl designs three or four collections a year, two main collections as well as revision collections. “I add new colors,” she says. “Maybe a hanging earring or a ring and bracelet, depending on what trends I’m picking up on.”
There is an architectural, industrial feel to Stahl’s designs recently completed for Lia Sophia, currently expanding into Germany and Switzerland. But Stahl’s inspirations are varied. “I love Dior and vintage Chanel,” she says. “A doorknob or lamp will spark a new direction: Josef Hofmann, Cartier, Seaman Schepps. Right now I’m using a lot of cornflower blue, a color popular on the runway this season and that you’ll also find in your grandma’s jewelry box.”
Stahl is also known for her “Factory Girl” column in Nylon. “It’s first-person, and I go through the process of making something. I’ve been everywhere, to the Chanel bag factory, Austria for Swarovski, Nike in Portland. I just finished doing Sephora last week.”
Rather than visit a factory, Stahl worked in a Sephora fragrance department. “I put on makeup,” she says. “They call employees ‘actors.’ The floors are ‘the stage,’ and their uniform is called a ‘costume.’”
As usual, Stahl went the full Monty and donned the costume. “I wanted to wear the it,” she says. “It was a black blazer that went perfectly with my YSL shorts.”
Dani Stahl is the Style Director for Nylon magazine and is known for her sexy “Factory Girl” column. She also designs jewelry for Lia Sophia.
Jeffrey Slonim is a special correspondent for Allure, a contributing editor at Interview Magazine, and he regularly contributes party coverage to People Magazine. He has had columns in the Art Forum, Elle Décor, Gotham, Hamptons, The New York Post, Newsday and The New York Daily News. He has also written for Arena Homme +, Architectural Digest, Art & Antiques, Blackbook, Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, and Men’s Vogue.
Dani Stahl interviewed by Jeffrey Slonim
Written by Jeffrey Slonim
Edited by Jeffrey Slonim and Tyler Malone
Photography by Patrick McMullan, Ilir Bajraktari, Nick Hunt, Adriel Reboh, J.T. White, & Chance Yeh for Patrick McMullan.com
Design by Marie Havens
Dani Stahl, DeLeón Tequila presents the NY Premiere of Relativity Media’s LIMITLESS Red-Carpet Arrivals and After-Party, Regal Union Square and Buddakan NYC, March 8, 2011, Photography by Chance Yeh for Patrick McMullan.com
(L) Dani Stahl & Brad Goreski, SAVE VENICE INC. Un Ballo in Maschera, The Grand Ballroom, Plaza Hotel, NYC, March 15, 2011, Photography by Patrick McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com
(R) Dani Stahl, SAVE VENICE INC. Un Ballo in Maschera, The Grand Ballroom, Plaza Hotel, NYC, March 15, 2011, Photography by Nick Hunt for Patrick McMullan.com
Derek Blasberg & Dani Stahl, NEW YORK CITY BALLET’S Dance with the Dancers Benefit, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC, June 14, 2010, Photography by Nick Hunt for Patrick McMullan.com
Dani Stahl, Ralph Lauren, Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Show, Skylight Studios, 275 Hudson Street, NYC, February 17, 2011, Photography by Ilir Bajraktari for Patrick McMullan.com
Patricia Field & Dani Stahl, Louis Vuitton & Parsons “RECONSTRUCTION 2.0″, Louis Vuitton, Soho, NYC, October 13, 2010, Photography by Adriel Reboh for Patrick McMullan.com
Dani Stahl, Brian Reyes Fall 2010 Collection, Bryant Park Tents, NYC, February 17, 2010, Photography by J.T. White for Patrick McMullan.com