I’ll be honest. I went into 2021 with a lot of enthusiasm — the possibilities of a vaccine, a change in government, a chance at a normal life. Though all of these things are still well underway, it seems like the sight of still-climbing COVID-19 cases are enough to yo-yo me back down to reality and into a slight funk. That’s on top of seasonal blues, of course. I’ve had many moments of inspiration running completely dry, of good mood turning floppy like a shoelace, of a crushed spirit that not even a freshly baked homemade brownie and an episode of silly entertainment (in the form of The Bachelor) could fix.
During those times, I always seem to turn to fashion (and sometimes a good movie, preferably set somewhere exotic) for escapism. This is something I’ve always done, even though my most turbulent months — through loss, a tedious job search and family drama. After suffering through the passing of her beloved husband, Celine Dion shared just how fashion helped her heal. “It’s amazing how a little bit of fantasy can alter our moods,” she told People magazine.
All to say, I know I’m not alone. Especially now as Covid continues to send us in a tailspin of uncertainty. When I’m not keeping my mind busy by planning out outfits for my Instagram and styling quirky pieces in my head, I’m usually scrolling through other fashionistas’ accounts, recharging my batteries and hoarding one too many screenshots. Spanning different styles and moods, these are the people I regularly turn to for some much-needed fashion inspiration.
* New posts go up every Thursday, so come back next week for another day of exploration, or a roundup of my favorite spots and fashion trends! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily(ish) fashion updates.
1 – Evangelie Smyrniotaki
Evangelie is one of the few fashion influencers I’ve been following religiously for as long as I can remember. Having worked with a slew of fashion heavy-hitters, this Athens-based creative has carved a name for herself as one of the most sought-after creative directors in the biz — and it’s easy to see why. Every single post warrants a double take and hogs your attention. Through her dramatic use of color, clever compositions and immaculate styling, she orchestrates images that are equal parts high fashion and — in my humble opinion — pure art.
2 – Laura Tonder
Laura’s photos aren’t purposefully curated or polished — or at least they don’t appear to be. And that’s exactly the beauty of her Instagram account. It all seems effortless, like she’s thrown it all together at the very last minute. No content calendars, no feed color scheme planning. Yet, it somehow all works. Her fashion reflects that, too. Laura’s oddball color combinations and witty layering of textures is what earned her a spot on my list. Every time I’m in a styling bind, I know where to look for inspiration.
3 – Young Emperors
Comprised of French visual artists Isabelle Chaput and Nelson Tiberghien, Young Emperors’ account ballooned over the last year or so, and now, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t see them in Instagram’s commercials on my TV screen. Take one look at this duo’s instagram account, and you’ll see why there’s more to them their immaculate ability to style themselves in a matchy-matchy attire. They’re funny, insanely creative and innovative, and which makes it easy to get slurped into the whimsy of their world (which sometimes just consists of many, many Isabelles and Nelsons). Couple goals — that’s pretty much all I’m going to say.
4 – Constance Arnoult
Constance Arnoult, a former ballet dancer from Paris, brings a few of my favorite things togethers — art, culture, fashion and books. Her feed isn’t just crowded with escapist photos of France (although there’s plenty of that to go around), she also makes it a point to share book recommendations and works by her favorite artists and filmmakers. Oh, and then there’s the fashion, too. (Case in point: the above photo).
5 – Nneka Ibeabuchi
As a model and creative director, Nneka Ibeabuchi brings a whole new level of creativity in styling and posing. I particularly love her play with angles and command of composition. Though I have a slew of favorite outfits she’s donned, no matter what she’s wearing, Nneka knows how to make each and every individual shot pop. That’s why I always find myself coming back to her for cool poses and lessons in movement.
6 – Courtney Halverson
Every drop-by on actress and blogger Courtney Halverson’s feed feels like a little trip to a gentle, quiet place — a satisfying visual escape from today’s reality, especially for us old-world aesthetes. The vintage romance that Courtney brings to her Instagram grid is both alluring and comforting, and her pared-back, carefully selected pieces and styling of chunky knits and balloon-sleeved frocks are unequivocally swoon-worthy. No matter what the weather is like outside, on Courney’s profile, it’s eternally fall. Not just because of her caramel-like tones, but also because of the warm, inviting atmosphere she’s managed to cultivate online.
7 – Imaan Hammam
I was first introduced to Imaan Hammam through Jacquemus’ show — she was gliding down the outdoor runway with an unforgettable backdrop of rolling wheat fields. (Back then, I didn’t even know she partially hailed from my hometown of Egypt.) I’ve been following the Dutch-Moroccan-Egyptian model ever since, always inspired by impossibly lustrous curly hair, high-perched cheekbones and of course, killer fashion looks.
8 – Emili Sindlev
Polished, but unfussy. Colorful, but coordinated. That’s the crux of Emili Sindlev’s fashion personality. In other words, this Copenhagen-based stylist and fashion director serves up a lesson in contradictions worth listening to (and learning from). All of her looks ooze color and vibrancy, without sacrificing individuality. Even if she’s styling staples we’ve all seen before, Emili brings a certain freshness to every outfit. (For all Sex and The City fans out there, I’m confident in saying that Emili as close as we can get to a real-life C.B.)
9 – Louisa Meng
I absolutely love the way this LA-based creative director manages to find the coolest, most unique items of clothing out there — and how she deftly styles them into looks that feel unique and somewhat futuristic. If you’re dropping by Louisa’s profile, expect a flurry of dramatic cutouts, corsets and figure-caressing fabrics. That’s not saying anything about her modeling and photography chops, through which she turns every photograph into something sexy, albeit in an offbeat, Blade-Runner-y sort of way.
10 – Aureta
Whether it’s in the snowy mountains of Vermont or in the midst of an elephant sanctuary in Kenya, Aureta goes all out with her photo fantasies. Her feed is definitely not for the everyday visual vacationer (you don’t want to get too down in the dumps about your own, nonexistent travel situation), but more for that every-once-in-a-while excursion. With her breathtaking, full-blown attention to detail, Aureta manages to dream up gorgeous travel and fashion stories in pocket-sized packages.