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Savvy Travelers: Fashion Tips From George Brescia and Actress Lena Hall

Broadway actress and Tony Award winner Lena Hall and style expert George Brescia open up on fashion dos and don'ts, fall styles and looking good on the road.

Tony Award winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inchand author and style expert George Brescia recently sat down to talk fashion with Where. Prior to Hedwig, Hall starred as Nicola in the Tony Award-winning musical, Kinky Boots. For over 20 years, Brescia has worked with such fashion icons as Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and is an image consultant for a wide range of clients, from Broadway stars and other celebrities to everyday men and women.

George Brescia and Lena Hall
On Lena—Anna Sui King Fisher Medallion Fantasy Dress (available at Anna Sui, 113 Greene St.) and Macie Boots by Laylajoy (laylajoy.com) (©Christopher Gabello)

Lena Hall: The Dos and Don’ts of Fashion 

Favorite designers: Zac Posen is my absolute favorite. His clothes and his style fit my personality like a glove. He is also the sweetest person! I wish I could wear him 24/7 because I would look so good all the time!

Where she shops in New York: I live in Williamsburg and love to shop in the vintage stores there. One in particular, 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas, has the best selection, although it can get pricey.

Her “can’t live without” accessories: I can’t live without my scarves. They are my favorite things. My fave is my pink one with mustaches on it.

George Brescia
George Brescia (©Christopher Gabello)

George Brescia: Fall Fashion & Travel Tips

What are the defining looks of 2014's fall fashion?

This fall, we’re seeing a return to “punk” fashion (spiked jewelry, chain-link details, leather and rubber detailing). We’re also seeing “boudoir dressing;” lacy camisoles under jackets, silk charmeuse dresses and blouses all giving the look and feel of vintage lingerie and pajamas. There’s been a return to the 1950s in terms of extreme feminine styling with cinched waists, swing coats and full circle skirts. For fabrics, the “print” for fall is plaid. We’re also seeing digital prints: photos as graphics on garments! Another trend is “cut-out” clothing, exposing parts of the body, a great way to hint at sexy without exposing a lot.In terms of texture, folk meets fashion with embroidery, appliqués and knitted clothing. We’re also seeing lots of embellishment: beading, sequins, crystals, and other applied or sewn texturing and sparkle. As for colors, pastels are everywhere: dusty rose, lilacs, lavenders, ice blues. 

How does one go about developing personal style?

When I’m styling clients, whether for my Web series, Stage17.tv’s Dress Up! or for their events, I first tell them to figure out what palette works best for them, specific to their hair and eye color and skin tone. Then, find the best silhouettes that compliment their particular body shape. And remember every time they get dressed, think: How do you want the world to see you?

Any style tips for traveling?

I suggest packing your clothes within a “color story,” so that the few clothes you’re bringing can be mixed and matched easily. For instance, a black-and-white collection of clothes can mix easily and be accessorized with a few pops of color in shoes, scarves and jewelry, or even that one fuchsia sweater or that one turquoise blouse. 

As a stylist, what are some of the biggest challenges you have come across in dressing someone?

One of the hardest challenges is helping the client articulate how they want to look overall. Also, many clients may change their minds at the last second before a specific event! In either case, I try to make the client feel safe enough to explore new options and help them communicate what they are trying to say in their new style. And one of the tricks you’ll see on Dress Up! is I always give my clients at least two choices within their range of color and silhouette so that they have some “wiggle room” on the day of the event.

What do you think of Broadway star Lena Hall’s style?

Lena is a new generation of Broadway star. She is just as comfortable in leather as she is in lace. Styling someone with that kind of open mind always delivers the best look possible.

Tell us about your book, "Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life."

I’m so excited to have written this book because it’s not like any style book that has come before. I wanted to give people a toolbox of ideas and tricks of the trade to enable them to find a new way of expressing their inner selves through the secret language of clothing and style. 

What other projects are you involved in?

Well, right now we’re shooting a second season of Dress Up! With George B. Style, which can be seen on Stage17.tv. I’ve also just started as a new host on the Home Shopping Network for Donna Karan. I’m looking forward to both of those. On Sept. 11 at 6 p.m., I will be hosting my second “Fashion on Broadway” evening at Lincoln Center with a panel of celebrity guests, and I’ll also be doing a book signing there. I’m also excited to be planning a book tour with my publisher, Simon & Schuster.

NYC Style Locator

Darling: 1 Horatio St., New York, NY 10014, 646.336.6966, darlingnyc.com 

Diane Von Furstenberg: 874 Washington St., New York, NY 10014, 646.486.4800, dvf.com

DKNY: 655 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10021, 212.223.3569, dkny.com

10 ft Single by Stella Dallas, 285 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211, 718.486.9482


Styling credits: Lena's hair by Calliope Carvajal; makeup by Lysette Drumgold; George’s hair and makeup by Jerry Lopez