This story is part of the number 8 of Image, “Deserted”, a super charged experience of becoming and spiritual renewal. Enjoy the ride! (wink, wink.) Check out the full package here.
In this season of designer Ade Samuel’s life, she is appreciating the abundance that comes from hard work, trusting her instincts and embracing her gifts. The Bronx native’s extensive fashion journey included posts in Teen Vogue, styling Nicole Richie and Christina Aguilera, launching a shoe line, and now, truly in her element – firmly planted in its element – working as a celebrity stylist in Los Angeles for the past eight years.
Similar to a music producer’s relationship with sound, Samuel consistently displays a mishmash of patterns, textures, bold colors, and innovative ways a leader can aid in storytelling. “I can open a book or someone can show me a picture or play a song, and from there I can visualize a whole concept of what fashion would be like,” says Samuel.
When it comes to his trusty eye and the satisfaction of authentic creative production, whether it’s reintroducing a client beyond the limits of public perception on a red carpet or creatively directing the short film “A love letter to Nigeria” – Samuel mentions the deep appreciation she feels walking a path paved by black women stylists, like Patti Wilson and Misa Hylton, who came before her.
In the years to come, when you look back at the lens of the influential designers who rocked the years 2010 and 2020, know that the fashion history of this era includes Samuel. Here, she shares the items she needs in her closet, how a desert look would serve, and why bright colors hold a special place in her heart.
What are the two items in your closet that you are constantly looking for?
i love mine 3. Paradise oversized blazer. The line is by this emerging designer, Emeric Tchatchoua. It’s so hot, and I always wear it. Either that blazer or mine Pyer Moss oversized blazer, and then I love to wear oversized cardigans. These are the two things that I find myself gravitating towards and just adding a top layer to everything, because the weather hasn’t been that cold.
What is a key part of your process when getting dressed?
The main thing for me when I get dressed is to have a great playlist. I can’t do anything – I could barely be on set – without a good playlist. Music really helps me determine what I’m going to wear, the flow of the day and my body. I love Tems. His EP is all right now. That’s what I listen to a lot. Mannywellz’s album “Mirage” is also super good, and I love Joeboy.
You’re having a great night in Los Angeles doing something that brings you joy. Where are you and what are you wearing?
I’m probably in a restaurant, because I love going to LA restaurants, probably Soho Malibu, Little Beach House. And I’m probably wearing an oversized dress with a décolleté or an oversized dress – like one of the colorful, bold Hanifa power suits – with the Prada shoe, most likely a creeper for comfort since it’s on the beach, and my Balenciaga sunglasses.
Bright colors are a strong theme in your work and personal style. What is your connection with color?
I love color. My mother and everyone around me reminded me that when I was younger, even though I loved fashion, people used to say, “What’s your favorite color?” and I always said: “I love them all”.
I see beauty in the range of colors. Each one can bring a different mood and effect into your day. It’s all so emotion-based when you look at color theory or chakras or anything that has to do with the depth of color history. Then add the culture of being African and being exposed to the ability to see different colors in different aspects, whether it’s a movie, an African party or a traditional wedding. You’ve really seen the range of skin tones and complexions, and that has definitely helped me push the boundaries.
When I got into the fashion world, especially coming from New York and moving to Los Angeles and seeing some trends, people like to stay neutral. It’s like this idea that everyone should be in unison – white, nude and black – and I really felt like when I walked into the styling space, I was like, “Yeah, you could wear that black dress, but what if you wear. This printed dress? Why don’t you wear this printed dress with an oversized black blazer over it? You still give that Los Angeles, California girl look, but in a way that opens your mind to different concepts. “
When was the exact moment you realized the power of a good outfit?
When I was a teenager. I would say during my internship days. When I was really discovering which part of fashion I liked, the importance of dressing in an original way really clicked for me. My favorite story is when I became the principal fashion assistant to Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week, because of the dress I was wearing.
On the first day of my internship, just as expected when it comes to me, I made it to the trailer where all the interns were in this awesome tribal caftan which was so cool, which I had picked up from a vintage shop in Italy. I had a turban on my head, and that was in the 2000s, so there were turbans, and all these caftans and things like that. I was wearing this dress and I remember the project manager who was placing the interns saying, “Oh, who are you here with?” I was like “Oh, I’m an intern” and she was like, “With this dress, you can’t be an intern, so I’ll give you this position.” Eventually I got this role that really gave me a total access position to New York Fashion Week, during the time he was in the tents in Times Square around 42nd Street – Bryant Park.
That was the moment where I thought, “Oh, wow,” so from that point on, every job opportunity I’ve had, every internship, I’ve always made an effort to make sure I look like I’m dressed well and I’m it really mattered what I was wearing. Because the reality of that situation was that, if I wanted to get in and work in fashion, I had to show them that I somehow understood fashion. Even for me as the person who hires and works with assistants, I always look at what they wear to determine their fashion knowledge. Are they super bespoke and retail? Are they wearing the trends of the moment? Are they more like hypebeasts? It really helps determine a person’s flow when you see their clothing.
This number has a desert theme. You’re on a night date in Joshua Tree or Palm Springs. What are you wearing?
I’m in Palm Springs wearing something loose that has flow and movement! I love when I feel free in the desert. Chances are it’s a two-piece by Dries Van Noten paired with my Prada fisherman hat and slippers or one of my Prada button-down boxy blouses with a soft linen pant to maintain comfort.
When it comes to dressing for the warm season, what are your favorite pieces or your style rules?
My favorite pieces for the warm season are lightweight, breathable fabrics that are easy to put on and also quick to take off. After a long day in hot weather, you will never want your clothes to feel dirty and / or stuck to your body from the heat. My style rule is to keep things flowing, loose and light when dressing for that climate. If it takes more than 10 minutes to put it on, that’s probably too many layers.
What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care?
I love this question! My favorite way to practice self-care is by making appointments to celebrate my accomplishments after completing a project or concert. I’ll get a massage, go to a nice restaurant or occasionally, retail therapy. I strongly believe in it! When I need to recharge, travel is my form of stress relief. I love being able to travel to a warm place or just sit on the beach and reconnect with nature and my mind.
Location: Thompson Hollywood in Los Angeles
Hair: Desiree Moore
Makeup: Rebekah Aladdin