Maldonado (LEFT) with model and muse Marike Le Roux
Margaret Maldonado began building a powerful client list in the late ’90s after supermodel Naomi Campbell suggested she start an agency to style actresses and musicians. That simple idea would morph into the juggernaut that is today the Margaret Maldonado Agency (MMA), representing more than 80 of the industry’s premier stylists, hair and makeup artists, photographers and designers in New York and LA.
Maldonado has almost single-handedly given birth to the concept of the celebrity stylist, launching some of the most recognizable names in the business—from Rachel Zoe and Angelina Jolie’s stylist, Jennifer Rade, to Nicole Richie’s fashion guru, Simone Harouche. But Maldonado has never been one to rest on her laurels. In an effort to help her clients start their own businesses and further their brands, she grew her company to include a licensing department. In 2008, Maldonado also started a clothing line, L’Agence, which has earned the respect of stylesavvy women across the globe. We caught up with the grande dame of LA fashion and mother of two to talk about her company, her collection and her style.
What inspired you to become an agent and start MMA? MARGARET MALDONADO: I really just fell into being an agent. I knew a lot of people, and stylists started asking me if I could get them a job.
You have launched so many of the top celebrity stylists in the business. What traits do you think someone needs to make it? MM: Passion and a strong work ethic, along with a good sense of style!
Why was licensing something you wanted your company to expand into, and where do you see MMA growing from here? MM: I wanted to see my clients have businesses of their own so their careers could continue to evolve along with the agency. I see the company nurturing its next generation of superstar stylists.
What made you want to start your line, L’Agence? MM: It was something I wanted to do before I started the agency. I started [MMA] with a new, young generation of stylists, and once I felt their futures were secure, it was time for me to get back on my path.
What are the signature pieces in L’Agence’s fall line? MM: Silk blouses, suede jeans and a herringbone cape, as well as dyed-fur jackets.
What is the key to creating a standout, desirable collection in such a saturated fashion market? MM: There is always room for quality if it’s at the right price. The customer will ultimately recognize it.
Describe your personal style. MM: Before becoming a designer, I was more fashionable. Now my personal style is baggy jeans and sneakers because I’m on my feet all day!