The Stylist by Rosie Nixon

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The Stylist is a debut novel by Rosie Nixon, a UK entertainment journalist. Rosie has worked at the popular UK magazine HELLO! for more than ten years and was previously employed at other magazines. She says she conducted her research years before ever starting the novel series. During her career, she has been fortunate enough to travel between London and Los Angeles and has attended many glamorous award ceremonies and celebrity weddings in exotic places around the world.

Amber Green works at Smith’s in London, an exclusive boutique frequented by the stars and everyone else who wants the latest fashion. Mona Armstrong, stylist to the stars, drops in and sends Amber’s fellow shop girl for her strong caffè macchiato. Normally, Amber would be the one going for coffee, but she had dressed the window and mismatched the black and white shoes. Mona sees this as a fashion statement and praises Amber’s work, so Amber’s friend and co-worker, Stick, is stuck with getting Mona’s coffee. Mona invites Amber to work for her since her latest assistant quit. While the job may be glamorous, her new boss proves to be a nightmare to work for—she forgets, she demands, she drinks and she pushes Amber to do her work while keeping herself out of the spotlight.

The novel is divided into segments covering the different awards season events. The first is the upcoming pre-award season in London. Mona had dropped into Smith’s to pick up outfits and accessories for her clients who plan to be in Los Angeles for the Golden Globes. Amber finds out that Mona is having problems keeping her act together. Amber is thrown into one crisis after another. By using her quick thinking, she’s able to get her starlet styled while Mona is nursing a migraine, i.e., getting ready for the exclusive after-party. Much, much later does Amber find out what Mona’s problem really is.

After the Golden Globes, it’s back to London for the BAFTAs. Mona is no better here. She continues on her downward spiral while Amber gains strength and learns what her new job is really all about—making Mona look good while Mona is falling apart. In London, Mona continues to borrow gowns and accessories for her clients. Then, the famous Miss P needs fashion advice so she can stage a comeback. Mona asks Amber to continue as her assistant until after the BAFTAS and the Oscars, but Amber isn’t sure this is the life for her. The past week in Los Angeles, with its roller-coaster ups and downs, has Amber in a quandary. Obviously, the job has its perks, such as free champagne and the occasional high-fashion dress, and its down side; rent is due but Amber doesn’t know when she’s getting paid. Still, the excitement of international travel and meeting the stars is enticing.

The starlet Beau causes problems from the beginning. She chooses a beautiful red Valentino dress Mona had selected for the star Jennifer Astley’s Golden Globes appearance. Beau is one of the latest starlets to have an exotic and unusual pet, Pinky, the miniature pig that Amber must take care of. Beau also is getting married in Hawaii. After the Oscars, Amber flies to Hawaii to save the day when Mona gets drunk and doesn’t have the piggy’s red tux that was meant to invoke images of Hugh Hefner. The comedic relief of the wedding is priceless.

A novel without a love interest for our protagonist would be no fun. Nixon provides two candidates for Amber, cameraman Rob and would-be actor Liam. The cameraman is completely down to earth, but the attractiveness of an up-and-coming star is not to be dismissed. Amber struggles with her feelings throughout the novel, but there’s no real contest.

Nixon’s insight into the world of stylists and their demanding clients is knowledge gained from years in the entertainment industry. The Stylist is filled with tidbits only an insider could have. She pokes fun at the stars and their demands while at the same time providing the reader with a glimpse of what it takes to get the stars ready for their red-carpet photo ops. Being on the best dressed list isn’t as easy as it looks. The parallels between The Devil Wears Prada and The Stylist are obvious. Nixon has taken on Hollywood and its stars by attacking the stylist herself while glossing foibles of the stars and starlets. The Stylist is a hilarious romp through the awards season and Hollywood’s darker side. It’s a great fluff piece for the lazy afternoon by the pool.

The popular novel, which was released in the UK in 2016, has been opted for a film, with the screenwriter of Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You, Karen McCullah, on board for the project. ■