Risa Kostis, of RISTYLE consulting (@ristyle_consulting), knows what she’s doing. For 5 years she has been styling her clients and creating enviable looks all over the valley. Her talent as a well-rounded stylist (Did I mention she’s also a trained hairstylist and makeup artist?) has earned her the title of Arizona Foothills’ 2015 Best Personal Shopper. After all, who doesn’t want a style consultant who can not only makeover your entire wardrobe (and proceed to consign or donate the discards for you from your “old” closet), but who can also give you advice on hairstyles and makeup looks to truly complete the outfit?
Risa has a level of experience unmet by many other style consultants, and it shows in her work. After living in some of the most significant fashion-filled cities of the world, including New York, San Francisco and Florence, Italy, Risa has seen more incredible fashion than most. Her influences from different cities around the world and the culture found within them truly show through her styling choices.
I had the pleasure of working with Risa on a shoot for the blog, and what she pulled was breathtaking and unique – pieces I never would have selected on my own, but that I absolutely loved wearing. I loved her knack for accessorizing in particular. With small tweaks to the length of necklaces and her personal flair for stacking jewelry just right, she put together some of the most complete and complementary looks I’ve ever worn. All of the gorgeous clothing was pulled from Nové boutique and the jewelry was provided by Allison Lauren. Below are pictures from the shoot and my interview with Risa, enjoy!
It really started at a young age from my time in theater and dance, and watching my mother sew everyday. I loved getting dressed (still do!) and putting the finished look together. I was very protective of my wardrobe and even padlocked my closet so my sisters wouldn’t steal my clothing. I also experimented with style and would do weird things like wear my watches as anklets and tie my tops in different ways. I don’t think I quite understood how I’d work in styling at that time, but as I got older and fell into the fashion industry, I knew that’s where I was meant to stay. I combined all my work experience from hospitality to public relations to fashion and the rest is history.
I got my cosmetology license in Boston back in 2002, and shortly after moved to San Francisco, where I started a small business doing hair and makeup for weddings. While doing that I also worked at a day spa and met a lot of clients that way. One of my clients was a fashion designer that really helped me get my start in photo shoot styling, and I learned about accessories while hearing her success stories. I dabbled in buying for a local boutique and was working with people styling here and there, so I thought I’d move to LA to try and break into the styling world. That never happened, as the designer offered me a job on the spot working for her handbag company as an account executive, my first real job in the industry. From there I traveled the world with the company gaining experience in sales, PR & events, production and manufacturing. I eventually moved to NYC to do in-house PR for a women’s contemporary clothing company in 2008, and ended up in Phoenix in 2010 to finish my degree and work toward opening my business.
Every day is different for me, which I love. I always start my day with coffee and some time at the computer answering emails. From there, if I have a client I’ll meet them either in their home for a closet or styling session or out at the stores for a shopping trip. If I’m not with clients, I can usually be found brainstorming with people on my team or colleagues at The Henry or LGO, scouting new looks for photo shoots around town, networking and collaborating with fashion bloggers or magazine editors, or cruising boutiques and consignment stores for an amazing deal to add to my style closet. I try to attend as many fashion events as possible and am also very involved in charity work so a lot of my time goes toward giving back and offering my styling services for a greater cause.
It’s all about personality and lifestyle. I dress the person based on what they do on a regular basis and their personal style goals. A large part of styling someone is truly getting to know them as a person and keeping their outfit choices true to who they are. Everyone has goals, so I try to listen to them and not force a look just because it’s what we’re seeing on TV or in the magazines. Another key element is budget and making sure how we shop makes sense for each person and their long-term wardrobe goals.
I’ve always admired Olivia Palermo’s knack for mixing prints and accessorizing with perfection. I think she does a great job of making a look her own, mixing high and low pieces and taking risks in a tasteful and classic manner. She is a master of the recognizable finished look…I don’t think she’s ever made a wrong move!
Only one…? That’s tough! I would have to say my Saint Laurent silver croc-embossed ‘Paris’ pumps. They are both edgy and classic, and instantly take my destructed jeans and tee to an elevated level or round out a cocktail ensemble for a dressier look. I also used them recently on a styled shoot that I hold near and dear to my heart, so they definitely sit at the top of my favorites list.
I love finding a deal, and scoring a vintage or current designer piece on sale. I spend a lot of my time shopping with Vintage Fashion Inc. for unique vintage couture finds, To Be Continued consignment boutique, and My Sister’s Closet for a good deal. Amy, inc. and Nové boutique also do a great job of offering a range of prices on amazing current styles.
I absolutely love Mary Katrantzou. A fellow Greek and master of luxurious prints, her styles are the epitome of how I like to look. Her collections are feminine, adventurous and totally unique. If I could fill my closet with her dresses I’d do it in a heartbeat!
For me it’s always been about the shoes. I actually turned my office into my style closet, as I am overflowing with shoes! I typically base my outfit on the shoe, as I feel like it’s a great place to make a statement and go bold without being too obtrusive. It’s the part of the outfit where I take the most risk. I’ve also been addicted to layered necklaces lately and have been wearing a lot more delicate, simple pieces as opposed to chunky statement necklaces.
If your closet needs to be revamped or renewed, don’t hesitate to work with Risa Kostis. She’s a phenomenal stylist with an incredible personality and a supreme knack for putting together unique and beautiful ensembles.
Special thank you to: Risa Kostis for styling, Marisa Belle Photography for photos, Angelica Dawn for hair and makeup, Allison Lauren for jewelry, Nové boutique for wardrobe, Studio Adriana for the spray tan, Optima Sonoran Village for letting us use the location and Skyler Scott for coordinating everything.