What to wear this season


Sophia Banks--Coloma

Sophia Banks-Coloma.

Sophia Banks-Coloma. Photo: Steven Chee

She has styled some of the world's biggest celebrities, is married to a movie actor, is the daughter of a well-known entrepreneur and is set to launch a fashion column with Perez Hilton and a reality-TV show based on her life. So you might expect stylist and trend forecaster Sophia Banks-Coloma to be a little, well, up herself.

You'd be wrong. The LA-based Aussie, mother to three-year-old Coco, is refreshingly self-deprecating and down to earth - traits she says are essential to her success.

"Australians are good workers, we can tackle a lot of stuff," she says. "I have so many people emailing and asking how to get into the business. The truth is, you have to be willing to do it all.

"I could be dressed up walking the red carpet going to an event one night, but the next minute be on the set in New York loading the truck with my assistants, or on the ground helping slip on my client's shoes. Nothing is beneath me."


She credits her dad, Andrew Banks, the founder of Morgan & Banks Investments, with inspiring her tough work ethic. "My dad is obviously a successful entrepreneur and he is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. He worked harder and longer than everyone else. I do the same: if you arrive on set, do everything and remember that it's not about you."

Banks-Coloma certainly has a lot of balls in the air. She works as a movie costume designer - she has just designed and styled the high-fashion outfits for the movie Syrup (with Amber Heard and Brittany Snow, to be released here later this year). She styles celebrities - actors Leighton Meester, John-Claude Van Damme, Jesse Metcalfe, Shay Mitchell and Michelle Rodriguez, and 17-year-old pro golfer

Lexi Thompson (for her prom, filmed by E!) all in the last month. Her fashion line, Whitley Kros, was a Mercedes-Benz "highlighted show" at LA Fashion Week and in 2009 she was nominated as one of Forbes's Ten Undiscovered Designers on the Rise.

She's soon to start as the weekly fashion guru on the hugely popular Perez Hilton fashion website Coco Perez. There are also plans for a book and a reality show, both of which involve trips to Australia with Coco and husband Marcus Coloma.

She also has an eye for talent. When we asked Banks-Coloma to style a shoot for Sunday Life based on the hottest looks for the next 12 months, she couldn't stop raving about our model, Paris. "She's going to be huge - the next Miranda Kerr!" she says.

Her favourite Aussie designers at the moment are Ellery, Camilla and Marc, Sass & Bide, Yeojin Bae, Bec & Bridge and Bowie.

"Right now is the perfect time for Australian designers because fashion is all about colour and print. People are looking for something different - they want to stand out."

Her personal style is unique, too.

"When I go on the red carpet I never wear dresses; I don't want to outshine my clients. So I always wear wacky shit," she laughs.

"It all works out in the end, but being a mum I certainly don't have hours - I have, like, five minutes. And Coco is standing beside me the whole time, wanting to play."

Her ultimate tip? "Update your wardrobe with a collared blazer and a selection of soft-collared shirts. I tell my clients: buy five in every colour. It will be big for a while. It's the new T-shirt. The button-down silk shirt is what you wear down the street with your sandals now."

Sophia's top four trends to watch

Heavy print mixing


"We've had colour blocking but now it's all about wearing two prints together. I love mixing prints and this look is really fun, which is what fashion should be all about; it's going to be huge. If you want to start this trend slowly, do a print with a colour.

I love printed jeans and a block top."



"This look is already in Australia but is just hitting the States now. We've had a lot of prints and fluoros but pastels will be here for a long time, mint-green especially. I also like pale pink and yellow. It's a nice change from black leather and bling - we are coming off the hard look."

Brightly coloured blazers


"The coloured blazer is an easy thing to add to an office look. People are getting smarter with their look and this is easy. You could be wearing jeans and flats and a white tee - throw a blazer on and put your hair in a ponytail and it's great!

You can buy them at Sportsgirl for $50."

Pyjama-inspired Daywear


"This has been trending for a little while, but I think it will continue. Opt for a part of it: something paisley, polka dot, silk shirts with piping, silk pants with a cropped sweater. Or go for the whole thing. I've worn my PJs on the red carpet - and so had Ryan Gosling."

From: Sunday Life