Cristina Ehrlich is a prominent American fashion stylist. Her bi-costal lifestyle allows her to find grace and beauty both in her own creative adventures as well as with her clients.
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH JONATHAN COHEN?
I met Jonathan and Sarah when I dressed Uzo Aduba for the 2015 Emmys. I love finding up-and-coming designers, and a colleague of mine had recommended them. I met them together when we started working on Uzo’s Emmy dress.
FOR YOUR PHOTOSHOOT WITH THE STUDIO, YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO STYLE YOUR OWN LOOK. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PARTICULAR OUTFIT YOU WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN?
What I am most drawn to about the DNA of the Jonathan Cohen brand is the underlying tone of real happiness and festivity--his clothes are for people who celebrate being individual. I’m obsessed with bows, and I loved this because it was such a fun twist on the way Jonathan Cohen would do a denim jacket. For this shoot, I wanted to show the playfulness and the ease of the collection.
THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS CHANGING AT SUCH A RAPID PACE. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION? ADDITIONALLY, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION?
It’s a very important question. There are a lot of things about the conversation now that are completely different, and I think the fashion industry was really due for a change. I think fashion now has the responsibility to take more accountability for everything in terms of their process—especially when it comes to what the industry does to the environment. I am very lucky to have proactively involved clients who care about being conscious of what this planet is going to look like in the future. Everybody needs to wake up to this, and brands like Jonathan Cohen that are already conscious of their production are ahead of this curve. I think fashion from now on is really going to have a different frequency.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF YOUR CAREER IN STYLING?
I love working with women. My favorite part is watching them discover themselves, the moment when they look in the mirror and they’re like, “this is what I want to wear,” and they come to that discovery on their own. Then it feels very authentic for them.
WHEN WORKING WITH A CLIENT, WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS TO GET TO KNOW THEIR PERSONAL STYLE IN ORDER TO FIND THEIR MOST AUTHENTIC LOOKS? HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO THE RED CARPET?
It’s a conversation. Sometimes they get into a groove, and sometimes they want to mix it up. I think it’s best when you’re working with a client who wants to have a dialogue. The most important part to me is to discover what they’re envisioning and what they see, and diving in from there to bring that to the forefront.
HOW HAS YOUR ROLE CHANGED DURING COVID-19?
My phrase for years was that I’m in a recession-proof business—but COVID has completely changed the industry. My job is a service that is usually provided in person. I think right now, until we’re in a place where people can feel safe, we have to really look at the world as a whole and see how we’re dealing with all this. I think even while we’re doing things virtually, there’s a way to get buyers involved visually and tangibly.
EVERYONE WHO MEETS YOU IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZES YOUR VIVACITY. HOW DO YOU KEEP UP YOUR INCREDIBLE ENERGY LEVEL?
I think coming from a dance background is definitely helpful. I also think it’s just in my DNA! I think it’s also really important to think about the quality of the work you’re doing, as opposed to just the quantity.
PRIOR TO YOUR CAREER IN STYLING, YOU WERE A PROFESSIONAL DANCER. DO YOU SEE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE DANCE AND FASHION WORLDS? HOW DO YOU THINK GROWING UP AS A DANCER PREPARED YOU FOR A CAREER IN FASHION?
All of the habits from dance are very similar to this vocation. Repetition, discipline—it taught me how to wear a lot of different hats, and when you’re a stylist, you’re called upon to do that. Dance is a way to express yourself, and in a way that’s very similar to fashion. Dance has been a big influence in my styling, and what I love most is seeing the movement of clothes in an image.
YOU LIVE A BI-COASTAL LIFE. HOW DOES YOUR LIFESTYLE CHANGE DEPENDING ON WHETHER YOU ARE IN NY OR LA?
I’m a little bit more tomboyish in New York—I’m not running around in skirts and dresses, there’s no car to put everything in! New York is a little more out there in the sense that there is a runway outside everyday, wherever you go, whereas in LA we’re just getting in our cars and driving to the next place.
YOU HAVE ACCESS TO RED CARPET DRESSES FROM EVERY BRAND IN THE WORLD, AND YET YOU OFTEN STILL PLACE DESIGNS FROM YOUNGER DESIGNERS ON YOUR CELEBRITY CLIENTS. WHAT DRAWS YOU TO UP AND COMING DESIGNERS AND HOW DO YOU VIEW YOUR ROLE IN HELPING TO INCREASE THEIR VISIBILITY?
Stylists are like painters, and I think you should really be open to everything. I think when a stylist only wants to work with big labels, it’s not necessarily styling. I think up and coming designers have a different outlook, and are creating work that is really fresh, and sometimes that’s the perfect fit for a client. And these designers get that visibility when they are worn by A-List celebrities.
WHY IS NATURAL SKINCARE AND MAKEUP IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I am beauty obsessed. I love being able to really take care of your own skin, and I think in the same way that you want to drink good water and eat good food, you want to make sure that the products you’re using are safe. I love the textures that conscious and organic brands are bringing to the table, it adds individuality. Like with perfume—when you walk into a room, everyone isn’t wearing the same scent. I think women are over the moon about this conversation, it’s kind of like when everyone discovered kale.
HAS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE CHANGED OVER THE PAST YEAR?
I think that since the pandemic, the way that people approach dressing has totally changed. I don’t think it’s going to be the same world as it used to be. I’ve spent most of 2020 in a couple pairs of my most coveted jeans, and I definitely lean into a more 70s vibe—I love a men’s button down and a jean jacket. I’m really into wearing things that mean something and are comfortable.