Fashion stylist and creative consultant Molly Eliza is making waves in the fashion industry with her distinctive and daring approach to style. After a fulfilling career as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer, Molly turned her gaze to the fashion world, quickly becoming an indispensable aid for a renowned editorialist in the industry. This experience, coupled with her innate creativity and unique artistic vision, has seen Molly collaborate with major brands, designers, and magazines across the globe.
As a child, Molly was heavily influenced by her parents’ creative careers—her mother’s transformation from a dancer to a prominent band’s personal assistant, and her father’s transition from professional tennis coach to celebrated spa designer. These influences have shaped Molly’s love for originality and led her to a career in fashion where she could fully express her innovative spirit.
Molly’s approach to style challenges conventional fashion norms. It was during her first professional shoot as an assisting stylist that she realized her passion for unique curation over foundational fashion. This moment of realization shaped her focus on textures, layers, and an intriguing mix of color and print, leading her to create designs that are fresh, bold, and visually
Molly enthralls the fashion world with her adventurous and playful curations. She brings the same level of discipline and creativity to fashion as she did to dance, proving that her transition from the stage to the runway is not just a career shift, but a continuation of her artistic journey.
For those who are unfamiliar, how did you initially get introduced to the fashion industry and what encouraged you to become a stylist?
As journeys in life go, a career in fashion was not my initial calling! I had been introduced to dancing at the age of three and went on to train professionally my whole life, as I had naturally developed a rhythm and hunger to keep going. I spent five years in boarding school training from age eleven and did a further three years at a dance college where I got my degree. It was all I knew for such a long time, and I had incredible experiences not many would be able to appreciate.
However, I also went through a lot of darkness over the last few years, both mentally and physically. I had been in denial for a while that I was no longer content, and was only going through the motions expected of me as a dancer and their pathway. I’ve always been very reluctant to “admitting defeat” so when I felt strongly that the right decision was to stop, I knew it was the way to go!
My family are extremely active and creative people; my mother having been a dancer turned personal assistant to a well-known band, and my dad a professional tennis coach in Abu Dhabi turned renowned spa designer. This meant I developed a natural love for originality, being both in artistry and general life. I’d always been so drawn to the integral structural designing that my dad demonstrated with such a talented eye. However, I knew I wanted to lead the curation of such visually creative finishes/aesthetic too. The fashion industry was something I always had an opinion on, so by becoming a creative director as well as a stylist in this field, I was implementing both kinds of artistic roles.
I had a game plan for how I would go about entering such a highly competitive field, and amidst this, got noticed by someone in fashion editorial. They loved the way my mind worked and took me on board as a kind of right-hand man, which was an honor. Later on, after plenty of grinding and perseverance, my identity as an artist began to emerge, and I found my work style becoming more and more recognized as a “brand.”
You’re known for challenging staple aesthetics in the fashion industry. Can you tell us about the moment or experience that led you to this unique approach?
I was on set for my first professional shoot, though as an assisting stylist. I think I expected to experience an overwhelming sense of contentment and that my passion was being “fed.” Instead, I remember feeling hugely underwhelmed and anxious about how I still felt I didn’t belong. It was a little while later that I realized the reason for my dissatisfaction; it was a shoot I wouldn’t have been asked to do if I was already an established stylist.
The concepts, styling, and editing were extremely fundamental and uninspired (of which was necessary for the raw shoot branding), and this had now confirmed my love for unique curation. As an individual and their own identity, I preferred the search for unique items to build creative outfits with rather than wearing such a basic foundation when it comes to clothing design. The lack of texture, layers, and interesting partnering of color/print in most examples and perception of clothing is so depressing to me. For me, it’s about making clothing and the styling of it “yummy.”
There is so much curiosity and endless choices that can be made with clothing and its usage. So being playful with it and allowing the styling of clothes to look so visually appetizing is something so addictive to me.
Can you describe the process of developing a concept for a new styling project? How do you find inspiration and translate it into a cohesive and captivating visual story?
A lot of factors come into play here. But the main thing I want to first get right is the cohesiveness and understanding of the overall feeling/vibe. It depends on the brand, publication, or even model I’m working with when it comes down to the mood choice for the shoot. I don’t think there are ever “correct” choices with shoot specifics, but instead, cohesively intelligent choices that allow pieces/people to shine artistically in the best way at that given time.
Of course, there will be limitations in certain situations, but I don’t like to keep regimented. I remain completely free-minded and don’t think there should be specific reasoning or logic for artistic choices all the time. If something feels right to do and adds visual value, I just do it. A lot of the time, the concept and styling choices I make derive from how I’m feeling at the time and who/what I’ve recently seen around me. If it feels right I’ll then incorporate this into the project in some way, even if it’s a little silly and comedic; a side I love to tap into.
My work brain never really stops, which can be exhausting at times, but this natural search to curate and try out new ideas is a mindset that doesn’t have specific ‘work hours’ as a creative. I’m always allowing new opportunities by choosing the way I live life and how/what I observe. In order to visually conceptualize, I need to remain artistically free-minded and curious.
Conversely, what is your favorite project to date? Is there anything in particular that you’re most proud of?
I think in many scenarios, a lot of great things happen when little plans are made and the right people are together. Some of my favorite work has come from playful test shooting with good friends in the industry, whom I respect very much. I feel proud when I’m surrounded by deeply creative people whose minds challenge and complement each other in such strong ways.
Alternative narrative and a free-spirited style of curation are something I love to portray in my work. So working in a space where ideas are inspired, flexible, and receptive can allow for the creation of particularly exciting work. Some of my best work has happened more naturally when the curation stemmed from being completely open-minded, playful, and responsive to spontaneous opportunity.
In what ways do you think the fashion industry has evolved since you first started working as a stylist, and how have you adapted your approach to stay ahead of the curve?
Although I’ve only been a creative director and stylist for three years, I have definitely noticed a development in the industry. I do think there’s been an expansion in how free curation has been allowed to become. Along with a decrease in ‘rules’ that were visually implemented for such a long time, causing so much work to look similar. Though with the industry’s work being exposed constantly through social media, I find it amusing to see its audiences’ opinions and common discomfort when it comes to something more alternative.
I feel that many struggles to appreciate such unique nature in a shoot, as this uniqueness tends to be understood by a lot as aesthetically and conceptually ‘incorrect’. We currently live in a world where society makes us feel we should have an answer for everything dissimilar all the time; we are encouraged to search for reasoning and logic behind such conclusions. Therefore, I think many are naturally opposed to the visual concept that doesn’t follow a familiar norm. Though I sound as if this is entirely a bad thing, in some ways, I do appreciate the stubborn opinions and expectations of certain aesthetic within society.
Without it, pushing the norm wouldn’t be as enriching. However, I do think there’s still so much constraint, and therefore opportunity, for this nature of work to be given the stage more.
Lastly, what are your goals for the future of your career as a stylist?
At the moment, along with the energy and hard work I am putting into my career, I am also allowing a natural path to occur and seeing where it takes me. A lot of the time, you meet people that completely change the way you expected things to go five seconds prior, and I love this. The possibilities within an artistically driven field are pretty endless, so I keep the energy and work schedule as high as I can take to allow this possibility to stay moving. I do have a definite brand as an artist, so staying true to who I am and the choices I make is very important to me.
For both the clients’ sake as well as my own, I accept projects I feel are true to who I am as a curator. This isn’t about being in a box but more about not styling and curating with such a regiment, I don’t see myself within this format. As this pathway continues to develop, I love constantly pushing myself and seeing how my work evolves when I just put myself into what I do.