Just as nearly every industry settled into a new, unfamiliar routine in March of 2020, stylist Sophie Lopez, too, found her workday looking much different than its usual. In February, Lopez was sharing Oscar afterparty looks for her clients Kate Hudson and Yalitza Aparicio on her Instagram. Come late March, the mood switched (very relatably) to images of her “keeping busy” with crafts in her studio in Los Angeles. Soon, Lopez’s own colorful outfit ideas became more of a focus on her social media channel with looks that pack quite a punch — as tangerine-and bright-blue color combinations or psychedelic-swirl mini dresses tend to do — and with them, a realization of how much inspiration was typically only visible behind the scenes.
“I don’t really know where it came from,” says the London-born creative of her more recent content. “I did it once because I thought I had some cute outfits to post and then everybody really liked it, so I just kept taking photos. It was kind of a fluke.” That was around a year ago when Lopez first shared a carousel of images documenting her outfits from the week or so prior. With a deep love of bright colors — something Lopez credits to her Colombian roots — her outfits feature unexpected combinations of clashing patterns and hues, emerging designers with established brands and vintage finds, and a refreshing blend of high and low price points. The looks are no different than what Lopez would typically wear to work anyway, she says over Zoom. The exception? “During the lockdown, I just was able to think about it a little bit more and have time to take photos, and then I realized I quite enjoyed it.”
Lopez is a 15-year industry vet who got her start in the editorial world working at British GQ where she fortuitously was promoted from intern to fashion assistant when the role suddenly opened up. “That was really one of those moments that was luck, but also I had been a crazy intern where I really wanted to impress them,” she says of the move that launched her styling career. She credits that as well as her serious work ethic for her growth. “There are always the opportunities that will come about and people that will take a chance on you, and then it’s up to you after that. You have to prove yourself and try to do the best job possible.” Case in point, while on staff at GQ, Lopez met her first freelance styling client, the band Klaxons, which led to an introduction to the band Muse. At that point, frontman Matt Bellamy introduced her to his then-girlfriend, Hudson. “Kate took a chance on me,” Lopez says of her client of the past 10 years. “I’d never really done a lot of red carpet work.”
Through Hudson, Lopez’s body of work has grown to include countless stunning and highly-praised fashion moments on the world’s most-watched red carpets, most recently at this past week’s Met Gala. Her clients also include Ashley Madekwe — “Ashley and I grew up actually in the same town in London so there’s a level of understanding there that you can’t replicate with anyone else,” she shares. — Aparicio, who Lopez worked with notably during her breakout Awards Season for her performance in Roma, and Hudson’s mother and Hollywood legend, Goldie Hawn.
“There are so many variables as far as someone’s personality, their body type, how old they are,” she says of her styling approach with clients, one that’s built on a relationship of mutual respect and trust. “I always make selects for my client and they won’t be the same selects for every client.” Still, there is a very clear distinction between what you’ll find in Lopez’s portfolio — which also includes editorial shoots for Vogue Mexico and ad campaigns with brands like Fabletics — and her personal style, which shines through on Instagram.
In the multiple-outfit slideshows she posts directly from her mind and closet, Lopez demonstrates ways to master tonal dressing without looking like a walking Pantone chip and incorporates bold prints with elegant tailoring. She champions many young contemporary brands, including favorites like Ganni, Paloma Wool, Holiday the Label, and Rixo. “Most of them don’t mass produce, it feels like it’s a good place to put your cash,” she explains. Plus, fellow petites may especially find guidance for playing with proportion and silhouette from the under-5” stylist’s lookbook of outfits.
These creative, joy-inducing selfies spark a sense of sartorial playfulness that you might be missing if you haven’t had many occasions to get dressed up recently. And they’re accessible, too. Naturally, Lopez’s career has its glamorous moments, but she doesn’t claim to be walking the red carpet or traveling extensively — she’s heading to Whole Foods, answering work emails, or going to get vaccinated in these inspired looks.
It’s also perhaps no coincidence that Lopez’s casual cadence of outfit photo dumping (somewhere between two to four times a month) feels so refreshing at this moment, especially while countless fashion influencers use the platform as a constant source of #OOTDs. As The Cut shrewdly observed recently, “‘dumping, as opposed to old-fashioned posting, is a way of participating in the Instagram economy without seeming like you’re taking it too seriously.” Lopez echoes a similar semi-committed and authentic approach to sharing. “If I have nothing to post, I won’t post. As with inspiration, creativity comes and goes. So, if I don’t feel like I have anything I want to put out, I don’t.”
With red carpet events slowly picking back up, Lopez isn’t thinking about how much or little posting she’ll be doing going forward either. But what she does share is that her general approach to her work life, considering the current state of the world, is one that’s focused on a slower pace. “It’s nice to feel a little less anxiety of having a lighter load and just doing different things and experimenting, and trying out new opportunities,” she says, reflecting on the 18 months of interruptions on her jam-packed schedule. “I don’t really have a business plan or structure, I’m just open to opportunities and new things, as well as doing exactly what I was doing before, which was great. I don’t think anybody can predict what will happen next, when everything goes back to normal, what that normal will be. So I’m just ready for it, whatever it is.”