A personal stylist can be everything from an image architect to a trusted confidant, and this season, celebrity stylists have been charged with reimagining the entire concept of red carpet fashion. As the 93rd Academy Awards arrive with a promise of returning to in-person awards glamour, is catching up with six celebrity stylists who have continued, despite everything, to create looks that inspire us.
The fashion industry has the power to bring people together—and that was definitely the case when Wayman Bannerman met Micah McDonald at a house party back in the early aughts. That moment birthed a friendship, and in 2013 the duo—now known simply as Wayman + Micah—began doing vision boards together to map out exactly what they wanted to accomplish as stylists. They picked up their first client that year, and since then have gone on to work with Tessa Thompson, Kiki Layne, Kelly Marie Tran, and Regina King, whose promotional duties for One Night In Miami… this Oscar season has been an ideal showcase for their work.
While Wayman + Micah may work individually on some aspects of their process, they always come back together. “[For each person] we really sit down and do a deep dive into them,” Micah said. “You’ll notice if you watch a person’s interviews enough, what sparks their interest. What gets their creative juices flowing, where their head is at, what’s their perspective. And we take all of that into consideration and then really start to develop a persona that is them.”
Though, like many stylists, they’re expressing themselves through their clients’ clothes, Wayman + Micah also want to recede a bit to the background. “We’re just really big on people presenting the best version of themselves,” Micah said. “We’ve never been stylists who wanted to enter something and have we put the ‘Wayman + Micah’ mark on you. No, our job and what we pride ourselves on is creatively making you your best self and bringing that forward.”
When talking to the pair, it’s clear that their individual past experiences are what set them up to be true masters of their craft. Wayman worked in finance at JP Morgan Chase before pivoting to the fashion world, and Micah had experience on the corporate side of fashion working in wholesale at Marc Jacobs. “We really wanted a career that superseded and transcended into something we’ve never seen before,” Wayman said about their work together. “And I think that’s the connection we had instantly.” Together they look to strong men and women of their heritage, and African American culture overall, as their primary inspiration.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc on everything, it only taught Wayman + Micah that when they are pushed to the wall, they can truly knock it down. Take Regina King’s virtual red carpet look for the Emmy’s last summer, a sapphire blue silk faille gown encrusted with bijoux embroidery from Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2020, designed by Daniel Roseberry. “It was really nice and inspiring for me to see how that kind of lived throughout the entire season with everyone,” Wayman said of the look. “We were kind of directing as well. We were looking and picking out frames for that virtual dance show red carpet that we did for Regina. And I think we’re just not allowing ourselves to be limited or allowing our education to stop.”
For Wayman + Micah, they are only on their way up—and together. “Being ourselves has been our X-Factor and has taken us to where we are,” Micah said. They said they both live by these words: “Dream like a child; plan like an adult; and follow through like a winner.”