We photographed stylist Djuna Bel on the wooden deck of her lush LA home she shares with her husband and new baby boy, Fox - a little oasis snuggly perched on a hill that she fondly calls a ‘tree house’. Djuna is a pure ray of sunshine; as golden as her long locks and as warm as she is beautiful (no mean feat). A former model and vintage store owner, Djuna has forged a career as an editorial and commercial fashion stylist, working with a long list of celebrities ranging from Ryan Gosling to the iconic Charlotte Gainsbourg and Millie Bobby Brown. We talked with Djuna about her career, commitment to sustainability in fashion and what wellness means to her (she is Californian after all).
Can you tell us a little about how you began work in fashion and have ended up working as a celebrity stylist?
I don't really think of myself as a "celebrity stylist”, I just think of myself as a clothing enthusiast.
Who are some well known faces you have worked with?
Oh man, so many. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lea Seydoux, Ryan Gosling, Cardi B, Millie Bobby Brown...
How would you describe your relationship with fashion and clothes?
I look at clothes as my main form of self expression. I love to get wild and crazy but I find my daily uniform to be jeans and a basic tee. I have an issue with fashion and sustainability so I often gravitate towards vintage and eco-sourced pieces.
Do you have any pinch-me moments, or special projects you are most proud of in you career?
Honestly, I am most proud to be able to work with people I really adore and admire. The pinch me moment is finding a real job that has made me so happy for so long.
Who and what influences your work, and what is currently inspiring you?
My partner is an artist and sculptor and he and I talk about what we are working on constantly - sometimes I find that we have subconsciously inspired each other's art, or that we have both been inspired by similar things - travel, plants, children to name a few. Ha!
Sustainability in fashion is on the rise, does this play a role in decisions you make in your own wardrobe and who you work with in your job?
It's a huge deal for me. I am constantly trying to find a way that the fashion community can become a bit more sustainable. I try to find proper charities to work with for donations after commercial jobs and I am trying to find a way of sourcing local pieces and work with brands that use ethical factories and fabrics.
What is your most beloved piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
Ihave a leather jacket that Jimi Hendrix wore. I really hope it stands the test of time.
Clothes and fashion can reflect the psychology of the times and the sentiment in a country. Is this something you consider, even perhaps subconsciously, in your work?
Absolutely. I think about this often. I try not to make any literal statements but I feel pretty strongly about the Time's Up movement (as well as many other current issues) and I can't help but work that into my styling.
I read that you grew up in Santa Cruz, and you are very much a Californian beauty! What was it like growing up in California and what do you love most about the culture and lifestyle in LA?
Thank you! Igrew up between Santa Cruz and The Netherlands - so it was sort of two polar opposites. I think I've always had a bit of California granola vibe mixed with a European sensibility. I grew up with surf and skate culture and I feel like that's never left my personal style.
You recently became a mother to a beautiful baby boy. Can you talk about what the experience of being a new mother, and what things have been most surprising?
It's been so amazing and honestly every moment is such a surprise. I’m so inspired by this new being. He really inspires me to do everything in my power to make sure we have a planet in the future. Fashion wise, I'm currently wearing less silk and things that have easy boob access - ha!
How has becoming a mother changed your attitude towards your work?
I think so, in that I have less patience for BS. Ha! ShouldIi admit that publicly? Some of the drama seems so silly to me now.
Your home is so special and has such cool mid-century Californian vibe. Was this an environment you consciously created?
Absolutely! My husband and I are obsessed with plants and cooking and spending time outdoors. He's a furniture designer and artist and we both wanted to create a tree house that was ideal for entertaining.
I know you are very health conscious and care about what you consume. Was this something that was instilled in you as a child, and has your focus towards health well grown since having your own child?
It was certainly something I grew up with. My mom always taught us that moderation was key and I still live by that rule. We ate mostly organic, vegetarian meals (brown rice and veggies are my comfort food) but we always had Dutch breakfast on Sunday (basically chocolate sprinkles and nutella spreads).
What is your go-to snack /meal on the go?
Toast with good butter - ha! If my husband leaves town that's about all I eat.
What does wellness look like to you?
Moderation and self love. When you love yourself, you treat yourself "well" - you become in tune with the things that make you feel good/well/healthy.
What three things can you not live without?
My husband, my baby, a scrunchie - ha!
Where are some of your favourite LA spots to eat, drink and hang out?
Usually my house, Kitchen Mouse for breakfast, Giorgio's for dancing, Speranza for dinner.
Your husband is a talented artist, and one half of the Haas Brothers. Do you have any favourite pieces of his in your home?
The stone bathtub outside is my absolute favourite!
What made you fall in love with your husband and how would you describe your partnership?
We met when we were 19 years old and I just saw how pure and honest he was (a bit new to life actually - ha!) and I knew he would be the ultimate father someday. I was right! Our partnership is exactly that - we are partners. We have gone through so many emotional and professional changes in our lives but we always end up back on the same path. Or maybe not the same path - but paths close enough that we still see each other and can support each other.
Which country’s / culture’s style would you love to explore?
I'm so obsessed with West African style. Every time I travel I find some muse with some special personal style.
What are you working on next?
I'm really excited about a story I just worked on with Ellen Von Unwerth. She's just so fun to be around.