Real Style: Soyon An

“I think all of us have an inner fashion diva that wants to come out.” — Soyon An


ISSUE: Winter 2010

DEPT: Personalities

STORY: Anna M. Park

Real Style

She’s won Emmys in 2009 and 2010 for costume design for the Fox reality show, So You Think You Can Dance. (She uses them as bookends in her library.) She custom designed wardrobe for Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” tour this past summer. She styles Jay Leno’s band on The Tonight Show, and edits fashion for the art publication Jimon Magazine. And now with the 10th season of American Idol kicking off this January, Soyon An will be back on that hit show, styling contestants like she has for the past two seasons.

“I feel like they’re my chickies – you nest them, and then after the show you expect them to fly,” says An.

It’s not surprising An feels such an affinity for “my idols,” as she calls them.
She starts consulting on wardrobe with the top 24 finalists, and by the time it’s down to top 12, she’s taking each one on shopping trips and molding their image. “We’d have talks about what they like to do,” says An. “They might even sing [their song] for me because I work really well when I hear the music.”

It’s not always so easy, though, especially at first. Since the idols come from all over the U.S., many have no idea what it means to shop or create an image. “It’s different because you’re educating them as artists,” she says, “creating an image for [them] and how important that image is for an artist.”

Some idols have been open to An’s stylings; some have not. Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox, the dread- locked single mother, fell into the latter category – initially. “She came to me saying, ‘You can’t change me,'” remem- bers An. “She ended up wearing this awesome dress during Frank Sinatra week. I think all of us have an inner fashion diva that wants to come out.”

One person An didn’t style on American Idol was former judge Simon Cowell, but that didn’t stop her from hoping someone would talk him out of his signature black T-shirt. “I think [his fiance] did actually,” An recalls. “Did you see him wear that button-up shirt? I was like, ‘Go girl.'” – AMP, with reporting by Han Cho and Anthony Tran

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