“She used to let me put her in lots of frilly pieces with girlish details,” Enrique Melendez tells Vogue. “But now she’s stepped into her modern yet glamorous era.”
It’s official: Jenna Ortega is having a major moment. Since captivating fans with her performance as Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s hit series Wednesday, the actor has been catapulted into the spotlight as a new Hollywood It-girl. At the same time, Jenna has been delivering non-stop looks on the red carpet. The driving force behind her fashions? The actor’s long-time stylist and collaborator Enrique Melendez.
“We’ve been working together since 2016, when she was 14, and it’s such a joy to see her in her element now,” the LA-based stylist tells Vogue of their creative partnership. “Initially, when we met, I was like, ‘how am I supposed to dress someone so young?’ But once we got to know each other, I began to understand her mind and the brands that work for her, and it just blossomed into what it is today: a true collaboration. And as she gets older, she doesn’t hold back on what she really wants—I love that.”
Having grown up in California in the 1990s, the stylist developed an affinity for the trends that exploded in the era of MTV music videos—particularly looks by recording artists like Aaliyah, P Diddy and the Notorious B.I.G. “They were my introduction to developing my own personal style,” he explains. Melendez started out assisting stylists who focused on musicians, before breaking out on his own to work with the likes of Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo and Will.I.Am.
“I was traveling non-stop with musicians and it got to a point where I needed a change of pace—that kind of work was no longer creatively fulfilling,” says Melendez of his subsequent decision to shift focus. “So, after a break, I started working with actors, and Jenna was my first client.” Today, Melendez and Ortega have established a new, sleek image direction for the actor. “She used to let me put her in lots of frilly pieces with girlish details, but now she’s stepped into her modern yet glamorous era.”
From the breathtaking floor-length pleated Gucci dress she wore to the Golden Globes, to the black hooded Saint Laurent dress she stepped out in during Paris Fashion Week, Ortega’s chic new image has our undivided attention. Melendez’s personal favorite? “She looked so grown-up but yet so natural and elegant in the black sheer Saint Laurent dress at the Critics’ Choice Awards last year, which was our first step into a new fashion vibe,” he says. “I can confidently say that that outfit is both of our favorites to date,” he says.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.