By Tim Murphy
Photographed by Rayon Richards at the Rachel Roy Showroom in NYC
SHE GOT GAME: Sitting beside Anna Wintour last fall at the Tommy Hilfiger show, NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire wowed the glitterati with his preppy-hipster striped rep tie, white varsity sweater, tan khakis, and Converse low-tops. His look that day came courtesy of Rachel Johnson who’s become the go-to stylist for athletes—including LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Chris Bosh—looking to step up their fashion game. “I want to see my guys listed as best dressed, not only within sports but around the world,” says the statuesque Jersey girl.
TEEN VOGUE: In high school, Johnson was voted best dressed—a nod she attributes to her mother, a retail exec whose closets she’d regularly raid. “I once wore this black catsuit with cowboy ankle boots, my mom’s red vintage swing coat with a mandarin collar and three-quarter sleeves, and a velvet broad-brimmed hat. I liked to challenge myself.”
GIRL FRIDAY: After college at Florida A&M, she did a stint at Essence, which led to assisting top stylists like June Ambrose and Sybil Pennix, whose clients included Diddy, Missy Elliot, and the Notorious B.I.G. Ja Rule was one of Johnson’s first solo projects. “He balked when I first dressed him, but he hired me back,” she says. She put him in Burberry plaid for his “Always on Time” video, igniting a worldwide trend.
DREAM TEAM: “I want all my men to look timeless,” she says. “I give [LeBron] as much classic elegance as you can give a 26-year-old. I just suited him in a red linen Brioni blazer with a blue and red tie and cream pants. He called it his Sam Rothstein look,” she says, referring to Robert De Niro’s dapper character in Casino.
SUDDENLY SERENA: Now Johnson’s working with Serena Williams. “The shape of her body makes me want to give her a classic old-Hollywood style. I’m thinking Norma Kamali and LaQuan Smith,” she says. “[Smith] does long, ’80s-inspired dresses that are curvy, fitted, and beautiful.”
SHOWING OFF: Johnson declares that her own style is all about featuring her endless legs, which she toned up in spin classes: “I think they look pretty damn good right now!”
*MAKEUP: SHENELLE MAYS FOR IMAN COSMETICS
Vintage jacket and shirt by Ralph Lauren Black Label, pants by Celine, sandals by Sergio Rossi, watch by Rolex, beaded bracelets by Maria Paola, earrings by Rachel Roy.