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On the white-washed rooftop of the PUBLIC Hotel in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, celebrity stylist Dani Michelle looked most at home with a pair of stilettos in her hands. Accompanied by a team of Designer Shoe Warehouse publicists and tastemakers, she floated past the trays of champagne flutes and well-dressed, well-credentialed guests to survey a mock shrine to her curation. She lingered over a set of glittery silver Crocs, cowhide mules, and t-strap Mary Janes. Set up near the terrace was a board framed in black-and-white roses and hydrangeas, ensconcing her name and a collection of footwear she handpicked as part of The Dani Michelle x DSW Fall Edit, launched in early September.
Michelle, who’s most often recognized for styling Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, and Kourtney Kardashian, was once upon a time a staffer at Seventeen before she moved into the world of personal styling. “This was before there was a digital age, where we had the transparency that there were stylists,” she says. “I figured if I wanted to work in fashion, I should work at a magazine.” But when she watched stylists at work on a photoshoot, she knew intuitively she was in the wrong field. “I quickly moved to Los Angeles and got right into it, and here we are, thirteen or fourteen years later.”
After years behind the scenes, her work is big enough to claim self-branded projects. In 2020, she released a line with UK-based clothing retailer Missguided, and now she’s promoting her curation for DSW, a small selection of sandals, heels, boots, and sneakers that Michelle deemed on-trend for fall. The edit includes options such as chunky Chelsea boots, classic checkered Vans, a bedazzled slingback sandal, and a snakeskin platform clog, ideal for autumn dressing.
Michelle’s wary of associating her personal favorites with those of her clients, though it’s easy to see her influence in their wardrobes. “My personal taste does differ from my clients,” she says. “However, I see a piece of me in each of them. That’s really the way it works: I see them for who they are, then I pull that part out of my heart and translate my version of them.”
That includes adapting as her clients’ own tastes change. Kourtney, for instance, has been a perfect example. Ever since the celeb personality embraced a whirlwind romance with boyfriend and drummer Travis Barker, her style started leaning into punk-rock styles that mirrored his own, even incorporating his metal T-shirts as part of her closet. When asked how she reacted to the new look, Michelle is encouraging of the challenge: “It’s really beautiful watching her constantly evolve, and us being able to grow together.”
But for shoppers who aren’t willing to don a Cannibal Corpse shirt just yet, Michelle has simpler recommendations for trendy fall looks: She loves neutrals paired with a pop of bright color and big, heavy boots paired with delicate skirts and knit sweaters. This season, she’s especially obsessed with knee-high boots, square-toe shoes, and the comeback of Mary Janes, which marry prep with power.
The DSW collaboration, in particular, was a meaningful enterprise for Michelle, whose grandfather’s good friend was once a member of the company’s ownership team. She longed to translate her celebrity-centric work, which often came with a celebrity budget, to the masses. Her shoe selects are all under $200, making it available for those off the A-list.
“It feels trendy, like [the shoes are] on the cusp of on the cusp of what’s happening in fashion at an accessible price point,” she says. “It’s just really pieces that I could use in my own styling that I figured everyone else should be using too.”
Shop ELLE.com’s favorite picks from Dani Michelle x DSW Fall Edit below.
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