If you hire Diamond Mahone Bailey to dress you, odds are she won’t be putting you in J. Crew or Zara. “I prefer my clients not to be in the same things that a lot of people have,” the personal stylist says. “My thing is I love the hunt and the discovery.”
Born in San Antonio, Mahone knew from an early age that she’d have a career in fashion. As a child, she watched her mother work in retail, represent various brands, and model in fashion shows. Mahone loved the fantasy of putting together outfits and using clothes to make a statement. She studied fashion at Columbia College Chicago and moved to Dallas in 2010. She cut her teeth at TenOverSix and Forty Five Ten before breaking out on her own as a personal stylist, styling celebrities like Erykah Badu and local Dallasites alike and working on various fashion shows and magazine shoots, including our August Best of Big D cover.
Mahone recently released a closet with luxury retail shop Dora Maar and relocated to Mexico City, but she kept her Dallas clientele. We sat down to discuss her personal style, her favorite styling jobs, and why she moved.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How would you describe your personal style?
I gravitate toward things that excite me, whether it’s things that could be more simple or things that could be more intricate in terms of shape or proportion or color. I tend to pick up different notions of style as I travel and as I experience different things, and I add that to my own style repertoire.
You grew up around fashion and clothing. Are there any memories that really stand out?
There is a company called Fashion Fair, and it centers around Black models and Black beauty. My mom used to model for Fashion Fair back in the day. I was probably 5 or 6, and they would put these fashion shows together and they would come to town, and she would walk the shows. She was a single mom, and so I would have to go with her to the shows while she walked them. I would sit in the back and watch all the models get dressed. And it was just chaos, but it was so much fun. There was so much beauty. You had so many different types of people in the back of the scene. So, you have the makeup artists, the hairstylist, the people dressing everyone, the producers running the show, and it just sparked something in me. I knew that was the energy that I was attracted to and what I wanted to be around.
As you developed your own fashion career, was there a time when you realized that you had entered that chaos?
I think being in college and putting together runway shows with my classmates and really doing the full run of production. And even though it’s college, like local junior level means of production, it just really actualized what I saw growing up and then what I was actually doing.
How do styling for a client, editorial shoot, and a runway show differ?
When you’re styling a private client, you’re working with a person that could be doing something very normal. So, the look doesn’t have to be amplified. That is one way you can interpret a look for someone who’s just a corporate business lady who’s going into the office and doesn’t need to have all the jewelry added on, but she still wants to look very sharp and very nice and pulled together. But then you can take that same look for an editorial, and you can make the hair crazy. You can add all the different bells and whistles in terms of the makeup and just the movement. And it’s static, so you’re taking a picture for editorial. The private client is wearing the actual clothing, so they don’t have to romanticize this look. And then for a runway show, it’s more about the fantasy—how do you animate this look, how do you make it come to life in an animated way? So, there’s three different point of views with one look.
What’s your favorite way to style a look?
I love editorial. I think there’s so much fun in collaborating and working with so many different friends in the industry. I love the outcome of it, and I love that it’s something that you can have forever in terms of the photograph.
You’ve been a stylist in Dallas for years, but just moved to Mexico City. What prompted that decision?
I first visited Mexico in 2018. I just fell in love with the city. It just felt like home. I had traveled here with some friends, and it was just a magical trip. And then me and my husband, John—back then we weren’t married yet—but I remember telling him, “I want you to come here. I think we should live here.” And so, we came back a few months after that first trip, and he also fell in love with it. We just pondered on the idea. Then the pandemic happened, and we were trying to figure out what’s next. Are we gonna go to L.A. or are we gonna go out of the country or are we gonna go to New York? We really were looking everywhere at different landscapes that could make sense. And we settled on Mexico City, just because of the feeling and the aura that we that we get when we’re here. I’m happy we made the decision.
What about the city inspires your fashion and creativity?
There’s an innate sense of true creativity, whether it’s in the mixing of colors on the buildings that they choose to paint or whether it’s in the merchandising of the foods in the mercados or whether it is an expression of the attention to detail and everything. I think that is something that’s very attractive, and I think it’s very pure and it’s very honest.
Before you moved, you curated a closet with Dora Maar. What was that process of sorting through your wardrobe like?
I knew coming to Mexico, I couldn’t bring things that I had just been letting take over inventory space in my closet and I wasn’t wearing. So, I just did a clean sweep of things that I know I wasn’t going to wear, things that just didn’t fit anymore, or things that I’ve used for shoots and it just didn’t work out. So, I just I knew it was time for the purge.