Behind every successful celebrity...is an exceptional stylist. And that is Kat Cruz-Villanueva to her celebrity clients such as Heart Evangelista, Iza Calzado, Pia Guanio and Kyla. What started as a love for fashion led her to becoming a fashion editor for local glossies, then a full-fledged fashion and celebrity stylist and founder of her own styling company, STYLEdiT Group. The esteemed creative is responsible for numerous fashion editorials, television and print ads, digital campaigns, television shows, and movies which for sure, you have seen or come across. Kat has been in the industry for nearly two decades now, yet she continues to thrive and inspire fashion hopefuls with her craft. A celebrity in her own right, Kat extends her knowledge and experience in fashion by also collaborating with various lifestyle brands.
Notwithstanding her impressive career, Kat is a proud wife and mother to her 7-year-old. Ahead, we delve into her life lately, career learnings, fashion (of course!), and styling her own daughter. Take cues from this star stylist as she puts her own spin on looks from our holiday collections.
Kat subtly mixes prints with the crowd favorite Laterina skirt set.
How are you and how have you adjusted to this “new normal”?
I’m good, and I would like to think that I have adjusted nicely to the new normal. I enjoy my time at home, being able to allot time to things that matter, like my family and my health. As someone who has always been on the go, I welcomed the change in pace with arms wide open. Of course, it didn’t come without burden and stress, much like everybody else, during the start of the pandemic—I suppose I was lucky enough to recalibrate my mindset and pivot my life.
You have been in the fashion industry for almost two decades with an illustrious career as a fashion and celebrity stylist, and editor. How do you keep yourself relevant with the changing times?
Mindset. I think when you reach a certain age, “staying relevant” is not as important. Or at least how you define “relevant” changes (hopefully for the better). Discovering yourself, who you are, and staying true and authentic to yourself, all while being open to and aware of the changing world is how you stay relevant. You will always find a niche who will celebrate you. Embrace it and celebrate with them instead of forcing yourself to fit in another.
The stylist to the stars keeps it easy yet chic in our Vegachi jumpsuit.
What made you decide to build a career in fashion? Share with us three valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I have always loved shopping and dressing up—it’s something I inherited from my mom—so I guess it was a natural progression to go into fashion. I initially had my heart set on the management side of the industry, thinking that I didn’t want to waste my college degree, but styling just fell on my lap and I instantly fell in love.
There is no such thing as a small job. If you agree to do something for peanuts or even for free, make sure you give it the same level of gusto, effort, and commitment as you would a big job. It shows people that you respect them and it shows your professionalism.
You are only as good as your last job (wise words from my mentor, Jenni Epperson).
Don’t be a doormat, but always be kind, no matter what.
How do you accomplish things despite having a jam-packed schedule? Any tips that you can share to those who are struggling with this, especially to working moms like yourself?
Surround yourself with good people who celebrate you and your accomplishments. I am lucky that my family understands my line of work. I have clients who are loyal and are not selfish in sharing the spotlight. And I have a good team who shares the same values and work ethics as I do. All these make things easier and function like clockwork. The first and last, I find particularly important because it allows you to lead a somewhat balanced life.
Other things include learning…
Yes to dresses and boots! Kat wears the Aversa tiered mini dress.
How do you keep yourself motivated in these uncertain times?
I think by simply accepting that life is indeed that—uncertain. It helps keep my head in the right place and it helps keep my spirit going. And also, just looking at my daughter, and wanting to give her and teach her everything I can is enough motivation.
Describe your personal style. What makes it “so Kat”?
Oh gosh! Constantly evolving, but generally tailored, streamlined, and occasionally peppered with whimsical elements.
Who are your greatest fashion inspirations?
Bianca Jagger. Cate Blanchett (especially in Ocean’s 8). Victoria Beckham. And Leoni Hanne from the younger generation.
"I think it’s important to instill in kids that their opinion matters. It may just be about clothes, but when it comes to raising kids, I believe consistency is key." Someone steals the show—say hello to Kat's daughter, Dani! Kat strikes a pose in the Morelia pants set.
This stylish momma shows us another way to do color blocking with the Marliana wrap dress and bright yellow heels.
Do you style your daughter or do you let her style herself? Any tips for moms in dressing their kids?
I am very lucky that my daughter fully understands what I do for a living and that she trusts me. But of course, I still do respect her preferences. If she’s not comfortable wearing something, then I don’t force the issue and we find something else that makes us both happy. I think it’s important to instill in kids that their opinion matters. It may just be about clothes, but when it comes to raising kids, I believe consistency is key.
You'll never go wrong with the Pylaia polka dress this holiday season.
Top three fashion items you can’t live without?
Statement shoes. All-around sturdy bag. Wide-leg pants.
Share a fashion moment that’s one for the books.
Every dressing moment should be one for the fashion books. LOL!
"There is no such thing as a small job. If you agree to do something for peanuts or even for free, make sure you give it the same level of gusto, effort, and commitment as you would a big job." Kat suits up in the Gallicano double-breasted blazer.
Shop all of Kat's looks here.
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