if Dancing with the stars As 2022 begins, we chat with celebrity stylist Fiona Fagan to find out what hosts Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne will be wearing and what the season’s hottest trends are.
Originally from Dublin, Fiona Fagan began her career as a dancer before transitioning to a fit model – one that fashion designers use to check the fit and appearance of a design – which eventually led her to styling.
Having spent 21 years of her career in London, Fagan has created quite a portfolio for herself. Her celebrity clients include Frankie Bridge of The Saturdays, Glenda Gilson, Nadine Coyle, Samantha Mumba and the late Caroline Flack, for whom she styled. Love Island.
The stylist returned to Dublin in 2020 for a change of pace, joining the team at Dancing with the stars to dress up hosts Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne. We spoke to Fiona to find out more.
What’s it like to be back on set after the COVID break?
It was brilliant. It was different, there are so many restrictions and we have to make sure that when we are backstage we have our masks and visors on and the rest. We all had to make sure we were all six feet away from each other, even if we’re just standing, but here we go! Everyone looked great and everyone wanted it to be great.
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This year we have a new judge! What was it like dressing Arthur Gourounlian?
Arthur is an old dancer friend of mine, we used to dance together – I’ve known him for about 20 years! It’s so crazy that we both ended up back in Ireland and working on the same show together.
I did this kind of new look for him, so on last week’s show you saw the pussybow shirt – heavily influenced by David Bowie, by Harry Styles. We will continue with that, that is his view. It’s very Arthur and we’re going to make it up and have a lot of fun with it. He is nice to dress up.
What do you have in store for Jennifer Zamparelli?
We wanted to start with some sequins since we are back and it is Dancing with the stars, but we have many more fabulous dresses in line. We’ve done camera testing so we’re leading the way and I’m so excited about this week’s dress.
In 2020 you gave a dress from 2019 a new look, will we see something like this this year?
Yes! We’re going to do that again. We’re going to make the same dress. It was my idea to redo it – my assistant will probably work on that – and Jen thought it was a great idea, so hopefully we’ll do that. I already have an idea of how I want it, so we have to work on that. We could have used a different dress, but I wanted to show that you can redecorate pieces over the years.
What kind of designers do you hope to collaborate with this year?
I want to do everything. I want to have Irish designers. There’s a girl called Lia Cowan, she could make something for us, and my assistant is really good too, he’s at Grafton Academy, Tom Stapleton, so yeah, I want to try using an Irish designer.
I want to borrow from the Ivory Closet and keep Irish, but on the other hand I also want to use designer brands that I like and know that women in Ireland will like – Solas London, Rat & Boa. We borrowed from a few designers in London which is great, it’s nice to have the variety.
I also want to leave room because it’s only January, we’re coming in spring/summer and new stuff will be coming in, so I’m also holding off buying a few things before the end of the run.
Hopefully we’ll borrow a dress from Graham Cruz, an Irish stylist – he styled Mel C and Kourtney Kardashian wore one of his dresses. The dress is currently in LA and we need to test it with the camera, so we’ll see.
It takes a lot of work, I still have ideas in my head for the next few weeks, but I’m enjoying it so much.
What other elements come into play when choosing looks?
You fight with light and camera – we already had a disappointment with a fantastic David Koma cocktail dress, it just didn’t work with the camera rehearsals, the light just bounced off the end because it was all bejeweled. It was so amazing, but those things happen and that’s why we have to test with a camera.
It was difficult, clothes wide, because of Brexit. Because of this I had to pay quite a lot of import duties on the dresses. Also, many stores here don’t have enough good stock because they can’t get it in. It’s something else I’m fighting this year. It was hard, but I’ve been preparing quite a bit for Christmas to be ahead of myself.
What is it like to work with Jen?
She is so easy to work with. She’s like ‘I love it, I love it, I love it’ – I swear to God, I’ve never met someone so easy. She’s not a diva, she’s so cool and she tries everything. She might say ‘Oh, this week I feel like wearing pants’
And we can’t forget Nicky Byrne
Ah, Nicky. I’ve worked with him so much this year, it’s brilliant. I have worked with him on a number of photo shoots so we have developed a great working relationship, I enjoy working with him. He’s also so easy to work with, he’s like James Bond. Again, we buy things, but we always get it custom. Tailoring is a big part of Nicky’s look and that’s why he always looks so chic and so clean because everything is custom made. It takes everything to the next level, even his shirts are fitted.
What will you be working on this year when it comes to accessories?
I want to do more cuffs and rings. Jen talks with her hands quite a bit, so last week she wore layers of fine necklaces, but I’m trying to get more cuffs and trying to find more designers here to lend pieces. More cuffs, more bracelets, more layers.
What is the big trend for 2022?
I think it’s all about the one shoulder sleeve or the big sleeve. There are many dresses from Solas London that have such a silhouette. Lavish Alice also does great things. Or, always for me, I like a slip. I always think they look very elegant and really cool.