Profile: Personal stylist StyleMeBella

One of Monaco’s most stylish personalities Isabella Marino gives us her hot tips on this year’s fashion trends and advice on how to achieve the perfect look.
Monaco Life: Can you tell us about your fashion qualifications?
Isabella: I have a fashion degree from the Instituto Marangoni in Milan, one of the major fashion schools in the world, and my aim was to become a fashion buyer. As it happened, Cartier offered me work in retail, and now I am working within the real estate retail market, finding stores for luxury brands.
For the past three or four years, I have been advising friends and family on fashion, style and beauty, and I have been building my profile on Instagram, Stylemebella. I offer a full service – from personal shopping and styling, to where to get your hair done.
When you are styling someone, what aspects do you focus on?
Firstly, I need to get to know the person, because it’s all about personality. Then I want to understand what they feel comfortable in, what part/s of their body they are self-conscious about.
Then I take into consideration what their budget is, because not everyone wants to spend a lot of money.
So, I consider the total look – hair, make-up, skin care, clothes, body shape… If they have beautiful legs, for example, I would go for a short dress. But it is always about balance, so if you’re wearing a short dress, you never show cleavage, and be sure to cover your arms. I always try to style in the classic look.
I am also all about the feel of things – the touch, the material… it doesn’t have to be expensive, what’s most important is the cut.
For my body shape, for example, I always buy Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent because I like to emphasise my waist, legs and shoulders.
What are your favourite pieces to keep in the wardrobe?
I love the so-called “passe-partout” outfits. When travelling, we don’t always know if we are going somewhere elegant, or out to dinner straight after a walk in town, so I love outfits that are suitable for day and evening. Two-piece combinations are the best as you can mix and match them depending on the occasion.
Personally, I love jackets and blazers, because they are elegant for any age and you can wear them in spring, autumn and winter. They can be professional, rocky or sophisticated depending on what you match them with. Blazers are very important pieces, something that you should always invest more money in. Quality and fit are essential.
What makes you different from other stylists?
I always respect my client’s budget, trying to find the best value for money, opting for high-end classics or iconic pieces that are timeless and that you can mix and match. I can comfortably make the decision that, although a piece is beautiful, it is not worth the money. You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money, it’s all about buying the right pieces.
I love accessories. It’s so fun to play with hats, belts, chains, gloves, sunglasses and jewellery. They can transform a boring, simple outfit into a fashionable look.
Coming from the jewellery business, I also help my clients find specific jewellery and watches.
I also buy a lot online, and sometimes there are pieces that you can only find online. I actually spend a lot of time searching for pieces this way and it also helps me to compare prices and what’s on the market.
What are your “no-no” pieces?
Tight and low-rise pants – low-rise pants should be either flared or wide straight leg, but never tight and low rise; most ballerinas, with some exceptions; very high platform heels on very tall women with short skirts; and short dresses with decolleté (low plunging neck line).
What are you looking for in a brand?
I love to look at emerging brands for younger clients. Obviously, when you are an emerging brand, you can’t produce the same quantity so it becomes more expensive, but the key is to find the right brands, fun emerging brands, that are actually more accessible for the trendy woman.
My favourite established brands are Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent.
What are your favourite cities to shop in?
I travel a lot and, personally, I love London because it has a very good selection of different brands, it’s more fun. They have everything from European luxury designers to more accessible emerging brands.
Paris is good for vintage. I love to mix vintage pieces – jewellery, gold chains and belts, specifically Chanel, Christian Dior, and Dior vintage jewellery. The weight and material of all the accessories today is completely different so I love to go to Paris in Saint Germain and the 8th arrondissement.
I like big statement pieces, you can mix it up with anything – jeans, white t shirt and a nice vintage belt or Chanel chain, and the look is done.
My favourite place to shop in Monaco is Le Dressing.
What did you think of Paris Fashion Week recently?
This year’s Paris Fashion Week was exceptional. It was like the rebirth of Paris after the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) protests and the Covid pandemic. The mood was exploding. There were a lot of people in the fashion industry from all over the world, and a lot of positivity. I must say I was impressed by Yves Saint Laurent, they did a very good show this year – maybe because I am a big lover of the 80s.
I also loved Alexander McQueen’s show. Elements were depicted throughout the collection, from dreamlike cloud prints to clothes inspired by the unpredictability of storm chasing, and variations on the glittering night sky.
But I have to say this was the best Paris Fashion Week for a long time. I think the fashion industry, the luxury industry in general, is exploding now after Covid, and seeing Paris come back to life, doing what it does best – fashion – is amazing.
What would you say is trending this year in autumn/winter fashion?
The mood is optimistic. Ladies, the future’s looking bright. Trending pieces – cropped jackets and tops; opulence – glimmering but covered up; bright colours; tailored, oversized blazers; luxury knitwear – comfortable, cosy, oversized; and puffer coats and jackets.
I actually love the Chanel collection that is out right now for autumn/winter. Is very colourful with high waisted pants, crop tops, chain belts and shoulder pads… nothing minimalistic.
Fashion always reflects what is happening in the world, and I think that everyone is trying to be positive heading into winter, even the fashion industry.