Up Close and Personal with Stylist-to-the-Stars Jennifer Rade
by Marni Prichard Manko
Part styist, part costume designer and all-around fashion fiend, Jennifer Rade is one of the most in-demand image makers in show business today. The visionary behind looks ranging from regal (Angelina Jolie’s canary-yellow Emanuel Ungaro dress at Cannes in 2007) to rocker (Pink’s red carpet gown at the Grammy Awards earlier this year) and everything in between— she helped style commercials for Target’s campy red-and-white ad campaigns—this Huntingdon Valley girl possesses the sartorial skills and enough Philly-style moxie to infl uence the wardrobe choices of pop culture’s biggest stars.
Soon after Rade’s postcollege move to LA, her work caught the eye of Lionel Martin, a pioneer in rap and hip-hop videos. “I started off doing five videos a month with him, from Boyz II Men to Bell Biv DeVoe,” she recalls. “And then it took on a life of its own. I was known as the white Jewish girl that did hip-hop,” she laughs. “It was all I did through the ’90s.”
Eventually she landed styling and costume-design gigs on videos for Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and Ice Cube. Of that formative period in her career, she says, “I don’t even know how I ended up where I did, but I never once felt out of place. I felt welcomed and loved and part of the team.”
Hip-hop videos led to work with rock, pop and metal acts including Lenny Kravitz, Will Smith, Dave Matthews and Slipknot. Even Marilyn Manson called on Rade’s expertise in his heyday. In signature Rade fashion, she assimilated seamlessly and became one of Manson’s biggest champions. “I don’t know why he gets so much [heat]. He’s just saying, Learn about God, guns and government. He just likes to challenge things,” she explains. In all, Rade worked on six of Manson’s music videos, created some of his tour costumes and styled album covers for the shock-rocker.
Today Rade’s fl air and panache are most frequently displayed on the red carpet. Celeb clients like Kim Kardashian, Lisa Rinna and Perry Reeves have put faith in her styling abilities because she’s motivated solely by creativity and a fi erce appreciation for clothes—in short, she couldn’t give a damn about trends and the glitterati. “I’m not a label whore. I worry about what the client wants and looks good in—not what the public at large thinks,” she says. “If you spend too much time worrying about the fashionistas of the world,” Rade adds, “you’ll never get anywhere—they’re a crazy bunch.” Spoken like a no-nonsense Philadelphian.
photograph by beth coller