The Surprising Inspiration Behind Celebrity Stylist Ilaria Urbinati's Cozy Eddie Bauer Collection
Some of the most stylish men setting foot on recent red carpets couldn't have topped any best dressed lists without the help of Ilaria Urbinati. The Rome-born, Paris-bred stylist earned acclaim for her way with menswear pretty early on in her career, so it's not surprising that iconic American sportswear brand Eddie Bauer thought to tap her to co-create a limited edition men's collection two years ago.
Following the major success of that collaboration, the heritage brand recently tasked Urbinati with creating a women's collection. As the stylist scoured the nearly 100-year-old company's archives for inspiration, she discovered one woman who would greatly help shape the garments. Christine 'Stine' Bauer was Eddie's wife and the very embodiment of the rugged, active outdoor sporting life the brand became identified with as it emerged in the 1920s.
Ilaria's 23 limited edition pieces, which include faux fur trimmed parkas, quilted bombers, thermal leggings, and flannel button-downs, update the kind of functional pieces Stine might have actually worn for a modern woman. Bauer's wife was a perfect muse to create a collection that wasn't frilly or fussy, but still felt feminine, and was above all classically American.
We got the chance to chat with Ilaria shortly after the launch of her Eddie Bauer collaboration to learn a bit more about the line as well as where she heads for winter weather and the advice she has for anyone looking to follow in her styling footsteps.
You previously designed a men's collection for EB. How did creating pieces for women differ?
I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted to do with the women’s collection ever since I first designed the men’s line two years ago. When I was going through the Eddie Bauer archives doing my research, I came across a lot of ideas, and later when I saw which men's pieces women—myself included—really ended up loving, that really inspired me. For example, we did a women's take on the bomber and shirt jackets that we had done for men’s. I wanted to keep a thorough line between the collections so I repeated all the gold hardware and other signature details.
You were influenced by Stine Bauer. How did she inspire you and what makes her such a badass?
She was such a trailblazer for women who wanted to get out there and be adventurous, women who wanted to climb and camp and shoot and fish—just as the men were getting to—and she felt that they should get to be wearing the appropriate clothes for it. She had a huge influence on the brand then and a huge influence on me for this collection.
Real talk: living in LA we don't get much opportunity for heavy outwear, even in the winter. As an Angeleno, can you share some of the best pieces in the collection that we can realistically wear this season in SoCal—and how you'd style them?
I actually find LA people funny in that at the first sign of a breeze, we pull out our parkas while the New Yorkers are looking at us like, "this is barely sweater weather." But I would say for sure the Blacktail Bomber jackets are the perfect LA winter jacket: they're just light and trim enough. Personally, I stole a sample of the June coat and wore it here all last winter. Even though it has the faux fur collar, it's a pretty thin jacket. But the way it's designed, there's room for a lot of layering under it so I could use it in NY too. Besides that, the plaid shirt, the Bronson cardigan, the overalls, and the skinny cords all work in LA fall and winter weather.
Speaking of winter in LA, can you tell us your favorite California getaway for legit winter vibes?
I tend to get out of California for winter weather. I usually head to Park City, Utah, which is a pretty quick flight away. Besides that, Big Bear is probably my favorite for winter in California.
You've styled so many stylish dudes—including Donald Glover and Armie Hammer—and stunning ladies—like Shailene Woodley and Nina Dobrev. Who is on your dream list of people—dead or alive—to dress?
Bill Murray, Tom Brady, or Conor McGregor.
Speaking from experience, styling is a crazy hard gig. What advice would you give to those aspiring to get where you are in the business?
I would say be willing to put in the grunt years. They are long and arduous, but they can be fun and you'll make so many connections. This is a business—like anything in the entertainment biz—that's built on connections, and you only make proper ones by working your ass off from day one and doing so with enthusiasm. Be the first to show up and the last to leave, know when to have strong opinions and when to shut up, and just be the best and hardest working. You will always get referrals that way and you'll eventually get ahead in your career. And for crying out loud, do your research! Don't ever use the excuse that something is before your time; know your fashion history and be well versed in the things that can and will inspire, from films to art to music.
We just have to ask: hidden shopping gems in LA that we need to know about?
Honestly I buy all my clothes at Polkadots & Moonbeams! But other fave LA shops include Reformation, Satine, The Way We Wore, and Resurrection.
All images courtesy of Eddie Bauer