Rihanna’s Stylist Mel Ottenberg Talks Shop With ELLE Fashion Director


Samira's Point of View

BFASamira Nasr + Courtesy

ELLE Fashion Director Samira Nasr talks shop with Mel Ottenberg, stylist to ELLE cover star Rihanna.

What feels very of-the-moment?

Mel Ottenberg: This is a great time to experiment. It’s all about a mix of oversize, androgynous shapes with ultra-feminine bags and shoes. Spring for the ridiculous shoe, not just the “sexy” shoe.

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What do you consider an absolute fashion faux pas?

I find the reality of low-rise pants to be absolutely terrible. Where a stretch skinny jean once felt like enough, it’s not anymore. I’m really into a waist and embroidery when it comes to denim this season.

What style essentials should every woman own?

A jacket and a sweater that change your life when you put them on. And this season, an oversize shirt.

Who do you think has great style?

I discovered Debbie Harry at age three when she performed on The Muppet Show, and she’s been my ultimate style icon ever since.

New designers currently on your radar?

I love supporting new talent! Check out Luar, PushButton, Nguyen Cong Tri, Victor Glemaud, and Toogood.

1. Ottenberg and Nasr 2. Cotton cashmere–blend sweater, Victor Glemaud, $400, collection at net-a-porter.com 3. Embroidered-tulle shirt, $495, jeans, $425, both, Adam Selman 4. Wool military beret, Gosha Rubchinskiy x Stephen Jones, $135, collection at doverstreetmarket.com 5. Rihanna and Ottenberg 6. Nylon oxford, Matthew Adams Dolan, $530.

ImaxtreeSamira Nasr + Courtesy

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Samira, our resident minimalist, vows to be more adventurous with her accessories this season. Here, three that made the grade.


  1. This might be the most embellished shoe ever: bells, ribbons, embroidery! For day, they’ll dress up cuffed jeans and a sweater. For evening, I’d pair with a monochromatic blouse-and-trouser combo—to let the details shine. Satin sandal, Prada, at select Prada boutiques nationwide
  2. I’m really feeling logos again, and this throwback Dior reads more like an abstract pattern than a portable billboard. It’s the ideal carry-everywhere size, and the understated black and gray make it almost a neutral. Canvas and calfskin handbag, Dior, $2,500, at Dior boutiques nationwide
  3. I wouldn’t wear a crystal-studded boot for day, but it’s perfect for night. Stick a skinny black jean into it, or wear it under a superlong wide-leg trouser with just the toe peeking out. Studded-velvet ankle boot, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, $1,295, at Bergdorf Goodman, NYC
    1. This article originally appears in the October 2017 issue of ELLE.

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