Like Goop for guys: Celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati launches a men’s lifestyle site
Over the years, celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati has helped shape the look of Hollywood A-listers including Donald Glover, Rami Malek, Bradley Cooper and Armie Hammer. Now, through her just-launched men’s lifestyle website, she aims to do the same thing for guys whose route to work isn’t via the red carpet.
It may seem like strange timing to launch a lifestyle startup in the midst of a pandemic, but Urbinati says it wasn’t until COVID-19 brought her styling work to a dead stop that she had the time to put the wheels in motion.
Pop-up drive-ins, pet pigs and quality time with college-bound kids help fill the void.
Given Urbinati’s CV, it’s not surprising that Leo (named in honor of her firstborn son), which went live Monday, has a deep bench of fashion-focused content. But she also trains her discerning eye on a host of other topics — sometimes by tapping her clients (like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson), other times leveraging her network of friends and industry players (Tom Brady isn’t a client but he does have PR people in common with Johnson’s, she says).
That means a subscriber to the site’s free five-day-a-week newsletter (or anyone visiting the Leoedit.com website) can just as easily find out how to work out like Tom Brady, drink like Dwayne Johnson or shop the drugstore like Timothée Chalamet’s groomer as they can get pointers on what to add to their fall wardrobe. Among Urbinati’s picks: a $570 Acne Studios V-neck cardigan and a $3,650 Celine lambskin aviator jacket.
“All the guys that I work with and all the guys that I have been friends with for years are all very multifaceted, and I felt like all the other men’s websites were just a little more specific,” Urbinati said. “There’s [GQ and Esquire] for fashion, ESPN for sports and Men’s Journal for the adventure guy, and I wanted something that was more of a one-stop shop because women have that. Women have Goop. They have endless [options].”
Urbinati’s invocation of Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter-turned-women’s-lifestyle-brand) underscores a curious aspect of Leo: It’s targeted toward men but is co-founded by women (Urbinati and longtime friend Jeet Sohal, who runs the business side). That gives it a different — and refreshing — perspective. This is most noticeable in the Dadhood section, which includes a “push present” gift guide (compiled by J.Lo’s stylist Mariel Haenn), a film-score lullaby playlist and a round-up of super-stylish diaper bags for dudes.
“I think a guy likes a girl’s opinion, especially when it comes to style,” Urbinati said, adding that her frequently expressed opinions have made her a go-to for her clients far beyond what-to-wear dilemmas. “I’ll get texts all day and night,” she said. “’What do I buy my girlfriend?’ ‘Where do I go on this trip?’ Clients have literally asked me ‘Should I do this movie?’ — and a lot more often than you might imagine. I think good taste is good taste and it works on all fronts.”
Her experience dressing men has manifested itself in other ways. The website is bold but spare and uncluttered. So too is the daily newsletter, which begins with a quote (the inaugural one was plucked from the 1954 film “Seven Samurai”) and serves up a single subject (a drink recipe, a workout regimen, a travel guide), three style picks and a few pieces of trivia certain to spice up your next cocktail party / Zoom happy hour (the debut newsletter touched on the origins of the cocktail shaker and the history of the loafer).
“As a stylist, I’ve learned that men don’t like a lot of options,” she said. “When I used to style women, they would want to try on 40 dresses — all the possible options — and men are the opposite of that. [They’re like] ‘Which [outfit] do you want me to wear?’ That’s why our style guides are pretty minimal and narrowed down to ‘These are the 10 jackets you need.’”
Urbinati sees her new venture not as a departure but rather an extension of her work as a stylist. “All you’re doing as a stylist is curating and editing and storytelling — and that’s exactly what I’m doing on the website,” she said. “I’m just doing it sitting down at my computer instead of standing up.”
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