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Fashion Stars

Five Austinites who inspire with a style all their own.

CHLOE HOOKS

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School Senior

Yes, she’s beautiful, but the glamorous granddaughter of Melba Whatley is much more than that. Currently deciding between colleges, the alum of the School of Ethics and Global Leadership in DC plans to double major in Theater and Public Policy. She is particularly interested in the pursuit of social impact theater and using the stage as a medium for change.

How do you describe your style?

I strive for a classic style with a contemporary twist and love to mix the old and new in unexpected ways.

What are your three spring essentials?

Mixed prints, blush, and crop tops that still leave a little to the imagination.

What do you love about Austin style?

Austin style is modernity: chic, real, and hip. Unique takes on trends are as diverse as the city itself and never fail to inspire.

DARREN GRIFFIN

Freelance writer

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Darren Griffin’s work as a writer may have led him everywhere from Japan to Israel, but it was penning a piece for his favorite basketball publication from childhood, Slam, that’s been the biggest career highlight so far. Since Darren can work from anywhere, his approach to style is solely based on his mood. He says: “That means one day it could be a Club Monaco shirt, Acne Jeans and Common Projects sneakers, and on another day an A.P.C. T-shirt, Public School denim and Air Jordan 1’s are more suitable.”

How do you describe your style?

I’d say it’s birthed in classic menswear principles coupled with a strong street sensibility. The infusion of a good trend here and there, but only if it smartly accents those aforementioned qualities. I view style from a very uniformed lens. So I wear different variations of the same thing a lot.

What are your three spring essentials?

My insanely obsessive sneaker collection, favorite pairs of denim, and a couple tees in different fits/proportions. I can build from there.

What do you love about Austin style?

It’s freedom to be both good and bad. To be completely subjective with little to no subterfuge. So many places base good style on brand names, dollars spent, and breaking new trends. All of which is cool. Austin doesn’t do that, though. For lack of a more articulate explanation—Austin just does what it does. And I love it.

DANIELLE NIECIAG

Director of Institutional Advancement, The Contemporary Austin

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Before coming to Austin, Danielle worked alongside celebrated curator Carmen Gimenez in Madrid at the Guggenheim. Of that time, she says: “She’s a true inspiration and heavily impacted my visual aesthetic, and the way I ‘see’ the world.” When it comes to dressing for her Congress Avenue office digs, it all starts with the shoes. After the shoes are established, you can often find her clad in leather, cashmere or suede.

How do you describe your style?

Very classic with an edge...sort of Annie Hall and the Hepburns, Audrey and Katharine, but with some Tilda Swinton in the mix.

What are your three spring essentials?

Acne dresses, white anything, especially jeans, and a good raincoat (I just bought one from Uniqlo men’s department).

What do you love about Austin style?

Great access to vintage. I recently bought an amazing old Levi’s jacket on South Congress that I love.

CHRIS HENDEL

Vice President + General Manager, Neiman Marcus

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At just age 32, Chris is one of the youngest General Managers in all of Neiman Marcus and so far, he has worked at stores in Chicago, Palm Beach and San Diego. You can usually find him in a Isaia or Armani suit at work, and he loves discovering what shoppers in each city love. “It’s a big challenge, but also fun to learn each city and what each customer is looking for,” he says. “It always varies greatly based on lifestyle, climate, and community.”

How do you describe your style?

Style to me is more than just what one chooses to wear. It’s about how one carries himself, and it’s in the details. When it comes to clothes, I would say I spend most of my days in a suit. I love pieces that have sentimental value—an old pair of my father’s Dunhill cufflinks, a watch from 1940s that belonged to my grandfather. When I am not at work, I love the comfort of a great broken-in pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I own over 100 tees. I can’t seem to part with any of them. My favorite is a Rolling Stones T-shirt from my very first concert. I’m always excited to see the season’s new trends, but I wouldn’t say that I follow them. As Yves Saint Laurent once said: “Trends fade, but style is eternal.”

What’s your approach to dressing for work?

Sunblock—I spend a good amount of time on Lake Austin and outdoors, so sunblock is a must (I’m partial to Kiehls), Persol tortoise shell sunglasses (I’ve replaced the lenses several times, but I’ve had the same pair for over 10 years), and good manners, because they never go out of style.

What do you love about Austin style?

It is diverse, eclectic and ever-changing. Boho chic was a huge call out on the runways for Spring 2015, and I think of all the trends this one really resonates with the Austin client.

JESSIE JOHNSON

Marketing + Event Director at Waterloo Records and Artist

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Seventh generation Texan Jessie Johnson grew up in Dripping Springs and likes to joke that her years living in NYC were like “Elly May Clampett goes to the Big Apple.” But we think the former fashion industry alum and effortlessly cool visual artist stands out from the crowd anywhere she goes. A mother of two, and the wife of musician Will Johnson, is at home in her role at Waterloo Records where she has helped play host to acts like Iggy and the Stooges, Emmylou Harris and Jimmy Cliff. Check out her artwork at jessiejohnsonart.wordpress.com.

What are your spring style essentials?

During SX, it was a cellphone and a pillow. I did just get some Doc Martens at a vintage shop. I know it’s a trend that will pass like all the others, but I’ve always wanted some, and as a kid, we couldn’t afford things like that.

What do you love about Austin style?

Everyone has the ability to find their true self. We have high end, awesome thrift and resale, as well as extremely well-curated vintage. Austinites have endless resources for any budget. Plus, the surrounding small towns are thrift/vintage gold mines. Growing up in Dripping Springs, we had one tiny thrift store, and it was this dark, dank building with everything in piles. Now we live in a world where you can get anything you want online! I still love the hunt. My ideal day off is going hunting at Prototype, Feathers Boutique, and Savers.

Credits

Photography by Nicole Mlakar

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