Maeve Reilly’s Instagram followers – of which there are nearly 800k – will be familiar with the stylist’s premium fashion content.
There are behind-the-scenes clips from music videos, shoots with clients Hailey Bieber, Megan Fox, and Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, aspirational escapades (Vegas baby, Cabo) and brand partnerships (eBay, PayPal). But documenting her glamorous life is only part of the picture. There’s also relentless positivity. Reilly’s bio reads “Spreading Love & Light one outfit at a time”.
Of course, along with the love, the 34 year old’s success comes from a signature aesthetic, which she defines as “sexy tomboy”. You’ll recognise it: oversized tailoring and a crop top on Bieber, jeans and a giant mac on Fox, or a blazer and sneakers on Reilly herself. Because as much as Reilly works with celebrities, she is fast becoming known for her own style too. She says in Vegas a girl ran after her “just to tell me how much she loved me”.
It’s this look that has seen the stylist declared as the queen of celebrity street style in the modern era. Rather than the red carpet, her focus is outfits that bring glamour and cool to everyday activities – even if it’s very famous people wearing them. Her feed shows Bieber with husband Justin on the street in France, Fox getting out of a car holding Machine Gun Kelly’s hand, Ciara on date night. Sure, there are superstar moments – Bieber meeting President Macron in a LaQuan Smith dress, for example – but it’s away from special occasions that Reilly has really made her niche.
“I think there’s something relatable and attainable and recreatable in what I do,” she says. Although she says a major career breakthrough was dressing Janelle Monáe for the Oscars in 2017, she describes the red carpet as “a fantasy and a fairytale”. “When you’re a real working woman or a young girl in school or whatever, you see these girls [on the street] and you’re like ‘wait, I can dress like them’.”
Reilly grew up in New York and was a fashion assistant for eight years. Initially working with menswear, she moved to LA around 2010 and gained clients like Monáe (through contacts) and Bieber (through Instagram). In a world where so many collaborators remain tight-lipped about their clients, she is refreshingly open. She talks frankly about Fox’s renaissance: “This is such a special moment for her to re-enter a town that was really rough on her for a long time… I’m so thankful to be a part of that.” Bieber, meanwhile, is her style twin. “We’re the same,” laughs Reilly. “I will buy something for myself and she will be like ‘oh my god what is that?’ I’m like ‘can I get one thing for me?’ I definitely get lucky, I get some hand-me-downs which I am very grateful for. We have a very nice friendship.”
Reilly has been compared to Rachel Zoe – the super-stylist who made boho style happen with so-called “Zoe-bots” Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in the early noughties. When I bring this up, Reilly is almost speechless. “I could actually cry right now,” she says. “The fact that my name and her name are used in the same sentence is crazy.” Although their aesthetics are very different, Reilly looked up to Zoe as a young woman: “She is a beautiful example of someone who used their platform to grow other businesses and made herself a brand and I look at that as something I would like to emulate.” Reilly and Zoe are now friends – Reilly even occupies the LA space that Zoe once had as her studio.
A la Zoe, Reilly has branched out from styling in the last year. She put together a series of masterclass Zoom sessions to teach aspiring stylists and launched The Local Love Club, a line of sweats with graphic slogans. Drawing on her personal experience of being bullied as a child, it comes with an anti-bullying message, with a portion of the income donated to non-profit The Kind Campaign, which raises awareness about the problem in schools.
The latest release, a hoodie, features the slogan ‘“Stop Being Assholes on the Internet”. If Reilly has escaped IRL bullies, she is still subjected to trolls. “People are awful,” she sighs. “When someone comes to my page and tells me to go kill myself, or [says] ‘you’re a piece of shit’ or [even just] ‘why did you put her in that red dress?’ or whatever, it triggers that old stuff.” The label is Reilly using her platform to try and effect change. “I don’t believe in cancel culture – Hailey and I talk about that a lot – but I want to cancel bullying and being mean to people,” she says. “It’s just not cool.” If anyone would know what cool was in 2021, it might just be Maeve Reilly.