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My life, My style: Taylor Tomasi Hill, stylist and fashion director extraordinaire
From glossy magazines to game-changing tech, everything Taylor Tomasi Hill touches turns to gold – or rather, to bright and bold colours that ignite her creativity and joy. Kathryn Madden meets the woman putting the fun in fashion
FOR TAYLOR TOMASI HILL, life is one giant game of dress-ups. Here she is tending to her lawn in a puffy pink Carolina Herrera gown; there she is cavorting around the house in a regal Oscar de la Renta creation, her flaming red head hair bundled nonchalantly on top of her head. “I’ve been known to wear a gown for playtime, mostly because my son, Wells, loves to raid my closet for imaginary parties – and also because why not?!” asks the stylist, born and based in Dallas, Texas. “I mix and remix everything: light-hearted, serious, high, low, masculine, feminine…I’m the ultimate eclectic.
Sartorialism, Tomasi Hill explains, is in her blood. “My parents were super fashionable and owned a children’s accessories showroom, so I grew up going to work with them and peering over their shoulders while they wrote orders and worked with clients,” she says. In the early noughties she scored a hotly coveted job at W magazine, and honed her eye assisting fashion director Alex White.
“We had big budgets, highly editorial shoots, deep closets and short ad lists,” she reminisces. “It was a golden era for creatives in many respects, and that’s where I discovered I had a knack for this.”
After rising through the ranks of publishing – becoming a street-style darling along the way – Tomasi Hill pivoted to e-commerce and was named creative director of Moda Operandi. She launched a side-hustle creating striking floral arrangements for big fashion brands, was the VP of a luxury Dallas boutique, and today works as the creative and fashion director (or in her words, “creative wizard”) at THE YES, an AI-powered shopping app.
With her sparkling CV, it’s no surprise that the stylist approaches fashion with a certain panache, but she infuses it with a level of practicality too, particularly after 18 months of WFH and Zoom calls.
“I’m always dressing in what makes me comfortable, but I’m now adding in a few more interesting pieces as we start to emerge [from the pandemic]: an Alexander McQueen denim jacket; KULE knits; B Sides denim; Clare V. fanny packs; Nili Lotan pants; and a lot of tees from THE GREAT for layering,” she says. “Oh, and a bright fuchsia cape from Oscar de la Renta, because pieces like that are ‘Buy first, decide on occasion later!
The most unexpected item in her wardrobe, she proudly reveals, are her spongy slip-on Crocs, which she owns in multiple colours. “They started out as my gardening shoe, but quickly made it out into the real world for boppin’ around town. I’ve recently added the platform version into the mix.” Her white pair are a quirky accompaniment to the gown she parades on our shoot, hoover in one hand, afternoon tipple in the other.
Perhaps a relic of her early studies in industrial design, Tomasi Hill favours bold and architectural silhouettes – and says she wouldn’t be caught dead in a frilly boho maxi dress. As for her ride-or-die fashion piece: “I carry a KULE cardi with me at all times. For layering; for when it’s chilly; for when the air conditioning gets too aggressive; for when my son needs an impromptu picnic blanket…for everything!
That or my Junya Watanabe military-meets-ballerina skirt. It’s an iconic piece with some good memories attached to it.”
More than merely reams of fabric, Tomasi Hill’s clothes are deeply personal and imbued with meaning. For her, fashion is about positivity – a mantra that ties in seamlessly with her role at THE YES. “[It’s] an online shopping experience that uses AI and all of these sophisticated technologies to do something that’s so beautifully simple: make shopping easy and fun again,” she shares.
The app uses clever algorithms to tailor a user’s style preferences based on a stream of simple “yes” or “no” answers. She explains: “You wouldn’t believe how many zeros and ones have to come together to bring that perfect sweater – from your favourite designer, in your size, your style, your favourite colour – to the top of your search. But we’re making magic! And THE YES gets smarter as you shop, creating a completely personalised experience so that no two feeds are the same.”
The style-setter admits that her current role as shopping scout has fuelled her own fashion habit (“My husband might like to see fewer boxes arriving at the house…”), and is excited to expand the platform, which is yet to launch in Australia. “It’s on the roadmap,” she says. “We’re just focused on refining the tech and working out the kinks before global domination!”
Global domination might be the dream for Tomasi Hill, but she’s also committed to doing her bit to make the world a better place; true style is about more than what you wear, but what you stand for, too. She’s a fierce supporter of Women for Afghan Women and fosters dogs from Doodle Rock Rescue, hence the gorgeous pack of puppies on set. Right now she’s advocating for Fund Texas Choice, which helps women access safe abortions, a hot-button issue in her home state.
While the big-haired, cowboy-booted stereotype of the American South doesn’t define Tomasi Hill’s own aesthetic, her hometown has indeed shaped her wardrobe. “Dallas is a diverse city, but there’s a fashion philosophy that unites it: Dallasites like to get dressed,” she says.
“[We] dress for the occasion, and then some – whether it’s for brunch or for a charitable event or a night out.” Or even, it would appear, for a spot of housework or a fabulous and frivolous game of dress-ups.