Coffee Shop: Carlton Jones

by Darcy Mayfair

He’s worked with some of the worlds hottest celebrities including Halle Berry, Erykah Badu, Ciara, Neyo and Sean “Diddy” Combs. Equally adept at styling for women, as well as men, Carlton Jones is one of the most sought after stylists in the entertainment industry. His uncanny ability to take the often highly stylized and abstract designs of haute couture and reinterpret them with a “street sensibility” has been his calling card. As comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind the scenes, Carlton’s innate savvy for the more refined nuances of style presentation has made him a natural for on-air fashion commentary. This native of Wilmington, North Carolina has worked for some of the most well known magazines around such as Vogue, GQ, French Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Vibe, Rolling Stone, and Essence.

In addition to fashion and styling, Carlton has developed a passion for photography, and, we discovered, has a love of things Brazilian (sim, ele fala Portugues um pouco tambem!) We’re very excited to catch up with a man whose whole career is devoted to making people (especially women) beautiful for a living in this edition of Coffee Shop.

Ocean Splash: So tell us, how did you get started in the world of celebrity styling?
I first encountered styling when I was working at my last retail job at Barney’s. When that door closed, a window to start styling became divinely possible. The world of celebrities opened up upon my transforming Queen Latifah for much of her Black Reign album packaging, which was the worlds first images of her wearing dresses and Todd Oldham.

OS: How long have you been doing this?
This summer marks 20 years.

OS: What keeps you coming back to this crazed entertainment industry?
I suppose I’m a bit crazy? I love working around people who have passion for their careers.

OS: Who are your favorite designers and labels for the red carpet?
Lanvin, Tom Ford, Atelier Versace, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy and McQueen are consistently on point.

OS: What if you had a client who was dead set on wearing something that you knew wasn’t right for them. What would you do?
I would advise them why I thought there choice wasn’t a good one, and present what I thought would be most beneficial for them. After that, they must own it!

OS: If you could pick one star who epitomizes “Old Hollywood Glamour,” who would it be?
Angelina Jolie

OS: What’s one style that you think the average woman can not go wrong with?

OS: Name one trend that makes you want to break out the Fashion Police Handcuffs.
Trends don’t perturb me as much as the wrong body type attempting to force a trend. Example>skinny jeans… are not for everyone.

OS: For your clients would you choose… Louboutins or Jimmy Choos?
Between the two, it depends on the client. Some women need a more solid heel like Louboutin offers, while a delicate Choo, can give a woman a certain confidence, if she knows how to walk in them. You can disguise the pain of being on your feet in uncomfortable heels, however, there’s nothing more painful than watching a uncomfortable woman who cant walk in heels. Thankfully, there are so many other great options.

OS: Versace or McQueen?

OS: Cartier or Rolex?

OS: Who do you think makes the quintessential men’s loafer?
I love what Cesare Paciotti are doing for spring.

OS: Would you rather have a fine Italian men’s suit or one from Savile Row?
I’m all for fine Italian.

OS: Dealing with all these type A personalities must be demanding. Where do you go to get away from it all?
Usually at home, where every day I attempt to have a quiet moment clearing energy.

OS: I would imagine that you travel a lot, what’s one place that you haven’t visited that’s number one on your list of must-see places?

OS: If you could magically teleport to any big city in the world, what’s the one you’d keep going back to?

OS: Tell us one thing that you spare no expense for.
My mom

OS: In life, what keeps you grounded?
The strength and fragility of Life.

OS: What has been some of the most unexpected rewards of refining your craft?
As I’ve expanded my clientele beyond those in the entertainment industry, I’ve found it quite rewarding showing every day women how to develop confidence through maximizing their presentations. Now that I’m getting involved with clients on a deeper functional level, it allows me to assist them in sending the messages they would like to get across through their appearance. It feels amazing seeing the empowerment of women with the knowledge they gain from my personal consults. We dont care to admit how much people judge a book by the cover, so if you’re a novel, the last thing you want to appear as is a comic book.

OS: If you weren’t a stylist, what other career do you think you would have?
If I had never styled, my background in fashion merchandising and management would have most likely led me into buying or design; however through styling, I’ve discovered a love of photography, which I’m quite passionate about; and as of the last 3-4 years I’ve been teaching capoeira, which has been a surprisingly refreshing part of my life.

OS: What advice do you have for aspiring stylists out there?
Organize your contacts, seek to assist those you admire, and Be your Best advertising.
Be sure to check out Carlton at his site

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