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Monday, May 20, 2024

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Local Fashion Stylist Celebrates Career Milestones

Ariella Tautua

By Karen Knight

DEL HAVEN – When thousands descended upon New York City for Fashion Week in September, many were wowed by the official “live” debut of Dur Doux’s collection, aiming to inspire viewers with what the world could be after emerging from the worst of the Covid pandemic. 
The look of that runway presentation – a theme following the journey of a mystical line where land merges with the sea, forming a boundary between the two – was put together by Ariella Tautua, of Del Haven, the lead stylist for Dur Doux Spring Summer 2022 New York Fashion Week and deemed New York Fashion Week’s best runway look by Harper’s Bazaar. 
Tautua worked with three fashion designers to put together 28 looks for the show, taking the garments, jewelry, and headpieces to create a look to tell the fashion designer’s story.  
“There were some safari prints that represented the land and some nautical pieces that represented the water,” she said. “As a fashion stylist, I have to blend all the pieces together and come up with the styling and production aspects for the lineup. 
“The fashion designer comes up with the pieces, but not necessarily how they all fit together,” she explained. “As a fashion stylist, I work directly with the designers, stores, or showrooms for the client and/or project. We are a consultant that provides a styling service to select, put together and finalize the clothing to be worn for publications, editorials, music videos, fashion shows, red carpet events, concert performances, celebrities, models, public appearances; whatever the event may be, the list goes on. 
“We do not design the garments, but rather put the garments/look together with its final touches, such as the accessories and shoes,” she added. “I have been in the industry for nine years now. Fashion has always been an escape for me in expressing myself, being creative, and entering another world.” 
The looks for the Dur Doux collection, described as “very resort-ready, with beautiful tropical prints and radiant colors like green, orange and yellow,” according to its website, are a far cry from what is typically seen around Cape May County, Tautua’s home after her husband was stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May (TRACEN), in 2014.  
While stationed at TRACEN, the couple bought their current home and raised two children. The combination of her family, lifestyle, how she was raised, her culture, and surroundings inspire how she works as a fashion stylist, or, as she adds, “making a dream a reality.” 
“I was a teen mom, with nothing to give but my talents, passion, and hustle,” she said, reflecting on how she built her career. “I had to rely heavily on my faith and will to never give up, to defy the odds for our family, and to inspire others. It came with great challenges to grow quickly, with great hardships in building my career in such a cutthroat industry.” 
Pursuing her “passion in this industry while being a minority and teen mom was the most challenging” aspect to establishing herself, she said. 
“I had limited to no support and had to be frugal with finances,” she recalled. “Because of my circumstances, I had to be creative within my means. With this experience, it also allows me to share my challenges with others to help guide them in succeeding within this industry, as well.” 
Her advice to anyone looking to get into the fashion industry is “to not compare yourself to others. Be confident in who you are and what you can give in your craft while having the ability to learn and grow. It all begins with simply starting,” she said. 
While she is “so proud and grateful for every opportunity and milestone of my career and she celebrates them all,” if she had to choose her most successful achievement so far, it would be her recent project of being the lead fashion stylist at New York Fashion Week for Dur Doux Spring Summer 2022. She has been internationally recognized, as well, and urges fashionistas to stay tuned for “Style Sense, launching soon.” 
To contact Karen Knight, email kknight@cmcherald.com. 

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