When Amber Green, a shop assistant in an exclusive London boutique is plucked from obscurity and mistakenly offered a job working with Mona Armstrong, the infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.
The Stylist by Rosie Nixon Review
Fashionistas, Floosies, Femmes Fatales, Faux-pas a Plenty… and Fit Fellas.
Could there have been a more perfect weekend to indulge in Rosie Nixon’s The Stylist than during a weekend break in Marbella?
The star women in this, the Hello Editor’s debut novel about the glam (and not so glam) world of fashion, could quite easily have waltzed past me as I strolled by the flashy boutiques of Puerto Banus on Sunday afternoon. Mona Armstrongs abounded gesturing at their well-to-do counterparts with their perpetually half-filled glasses of Veuve Clicquot… having freeloaded their way onto Beau Belle style yachts.
Robs, Treys and ‘LA Liams’ weaved their way in and out of the throngs – the latter in vomit-inducing custard yellow Ferraris on a mission for self-acknowledgement.
As for me, I was infinitely more Amber Green than Jennifer Astley as I glanced at the wasp-waisted mannequins in the Dolce & Gabanna store, clad in their gorgeous ethnically primary coloured hues that screamed West Africa and all things tres a la mode right now, don’t you know… My Next leggings and H&M tunic on my size 10-12 frame being a slight giveaway.
Indeed, it’s the people that make a place.
And Rosie Nixon’s words – chick lit in origin though they may be – magically brought London and LA alive through her most vivid imagination, given a helping hand no doubt by the many recollections of her own memories of A, B and C listers and their unbelievable shenanigans over the years. So much so, that I can imagine her doubled over with laughter – and a glass of vino or two, typing out some of the scenarios that came to be in this rip-roar of a roller coaster ride through the all too oft kerazy world of fashion!
Believe me, The Stylist is pure comedy.
And The Stylist is escapism at it’s best.
Yes, I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this enticingly covered book (that red Valentino gown alone simply begs you to turn the cover) after a thoroughly rubbish week, by the lovely team at Mira, HarperCollins. It was the kind of Friday afternoon when I just wanted to scoff big fat Brownies. But once I’d finished Chapter One I was hooked… all gooey crumb-like thoughts of carbs but a distant chocolatey memory…
Don’t get me wrong, as a (mostly full-time) Positivity Guru, there were times – ooh, many times – when I wanted to thrust every Self-Help book under the sun into our protagonist, Amber Green’s hands.
Her wet blanket style pursuit of men (stop texting them back so bloody quickly!) and total lack of self-worth around Mona made me want to slap her with a wet kipper too. And it takes a lot to make me angry.
But ultimately I cared about Amber.
And getting us to root for a character, particularly the main attraction, is one helluva writer’s gift. Well, Rosie, you cracked it. As much as Amber frustrated the heck out of me at times for being so selfless, she was real. She was me, in fact; the mid-twenties people pleaser, the body conscious batter offer of compliments. So hell yes, I wanted this lady to succeed. I wanted her to have her happily ever after… I’m not telling you whether she got it or not, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
This is movie material.
It really is. The Stylist would translate effortlessly onto The Big Screen. You listening, Movie Directors?
Because when you read it, you truly are there.
I’ve lost count of the number of novels I have read where I’m not quite able to conjure up the image the author is attempting to portray in the scene. So in my head I have ended up at my parents’ house, or back at my high school, or the local nightclub, my favourite holiday resort or restaurant.
But as an author, Rosie Nixon takes you to that beach in Hawaii. Literally, emotionally, culturally, artistically… and to the point that you are shell-scavenging too, micro pig at your heels. You can see it, smell it, taste it and touch it. Her characters are so 3D. So lifelike. So iconic.
To edit a prestigious society magazine is one thing. But to write with such fluidity and natural talent; to inject a healthy boost of humour, intriguingly complex relationships, sneaky plot twists and intricately scripted commentary on haute couture along the way – that is quite something else. It was a joy to get lost in this unfathomably pretentious world.
And in juxtaposition, I was bloody glad to get back out of it too. For who could really live like that 24/7? And so, in its own hilariously unique way, The Stylist is Chicken Soup for the Soul, making us all feel a little better about our own selves, surroundings, and tribes!
Whether the author intended it to be that way, or whether that is just my personal interpretation, you cannot deny it is clever. Very clever. The trait of a brilliant book.
There is no doubt in my mind that Rosie Nixon was born to write, and The Stylist is surely set to be one of the great chick lit success of our times.
One thing’s for sure: all of us at The Glass House Girls look forward to what Rosie does next!
The Stylist is published by Mira, HarperCollins.