"We like to think of ourselves as your best professional girlfriend that you can trust to tell you the truth at all times," says Lisa Marmorino.
The glamorous platinum blond executive stylist, who cut her teeth in the fashion world earlier in her career as a prominent associate with the world famous House of Chanel, has landed in the O.C. to build and create a personal styling service for men and women under the banner of Style 2020.
It is the brainchild of businesswoman Kathryn Moore, who launched Style 2020 simply to borrow from the philosophy of the late Hollywood designer Edith Head: "You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it."
This may sound superficial, but to Moore and Marmorino and staff, it is anything but. Their core belief is that most men and women short-circuit their dreams and goals by not presenting themselves in the proper successful light in order to inspire the confidence and support needed to make a dream reality.
Style 2020 is a concept for the new age. It is fashion meets psychology on the way to life evolution. While it sounds rather grand and esoteric, its purpose is actually quite simple.
As Marmorino stated, she and her colleagues offer a service aimed at telling their clients the truth when it comes to style and appearance without any kind of personal judgment.
"We are not all about making everyone look the same, wear the same designer clothes, fit in to the same skinny image so prevalent in the media," emphasizes Marmorino, who leads a team of fashionistas who come to the Style 2020 table from a diverse background including retail sales, fashion design, fashion publishing, personal shopping, hair and makeup expertise and even custom tailoring. "We are about helping our client determine how they can be their personal best. And it is not just about career goals or getting the next job promotion. Some of our clients come to us for help because they are entering a different phase of life in their personal relationships. There are as many reasons for seeking the advice of a stylist as there are different people."
"What we are offering is not a tangible object," says Moore, adding, "We are not representing or pushing any particular clothing line or store, but rather dealing in an arena that is all about personal service, which, in today's complicated society, is unquestionably the ultimate luxury."
Marmorino chimes in, "The other day, I pulled into a gas station on the way to church, and the attendant actually offered to fill my tank. I was so thrilled that I didn't have to get out of the car and get gas on my hands and smell like gasoline in church that you would have thought I had just won the lottery. In other words, in our self-service world, it is rare to be able to find anyone that can make our lives a little easier from time to time."
Both Moore and Marmorino stress the ideal of personal service as the hallmark of the Style 2020 purpose.
Moore points to a burgundy velvet dress draped on a mannequin in the corner of one of the styling rooms in their South Coast Highway offices in Corona del Mar. "Let me share a little story," she offers, continuing, "That dress is symbolic of my personal inspiration for creating this business. That may look like just another burgundy velvet cocktail dress, but it is so much more. My mother, when I was a very young girl, decided that she wanted to attend the Oscars. She had no connections in the movie business and no ticket for the performance. She just wanted to go. So she put on that dress, did her hair and her makeup and headed for the ceremony and ended up walking the red carpet and mingling with all of the stars. Now, some may say she was the original Hollywood crasher, but in those days, it was so innocent, there was no ulterior or devious motivation other than just wanting to witness the spectacle. To get to the point of the story, my mother fit in because she dressed for the occasion and no one thought anything of it."
Dressing for the occasion is also the essence of the Style 2020 message. Marmorino adds that many of their clients complain that they have nothing to wear to any specific event that they are invited to, whether it is a neighbor's cocktail party or a child's wedding or graduation party.
"People have become intimidated by fashion today and have lost the confidence that allows them to feel comfortable in their own skin at any time and at any place," she says.
Last week in Corona del Mar, the Style 2020 family held a little open house in its salon to welcome local men and women interested in exploring the concept. It was a small and intimate gathering, including about 20 guests who came to meet Moore, Marmorino and stylists Alia Danielle, Shiloh McKasson and Marie Cameron.
Also front and center for the company was Paris hairstylist and international fashion consultant Patrice Bisiot, who had flown in from New York to share some of his vision with the crowd. Sharing a glass of champagne in the Style 2020 living room were Newport Beach investment banker David Kernan, Jack Wiley, Mary Fletcher, Susan Nord and Lisa Vanderbeek. Also stopping in for a little style conference were Kim Ressler, Liliana Burgi, Dawn Spengler and Marcia Dossey.
"Many people think that a personal stylist is a luxury only affordable by the super wealthy or the celebrity crowd," Moore says. "Our goal is to make this service available to anyone at an affordable price to help make a real difference in their life."
The team is planning to launch a series of Friday-afternoon soirées throughout the summer that they are toying with calling "Fashion Friday," where people will bring clothes to the salon for a late-afternoon critique by a professional stylist offering some dos and don'ts. Marmorino adds, "With Mother's Day this Sunday, forget the flowers and candy and do something truly special for your mom, your wife, your girlfriend and give her the gift of style."
Moore quotes her favorite line, stating, "Life is your runway, so walk it in style. Style that is all your own." To learn more about Style 2020, go to http://www.mystyle2020.com or call Marmorino at (949) 723-3400 for a private consultation.
THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.