Sita Abellan Is Glad She’s Never Taken Fashion Advice

The jewelry designer, DJ, and stylist behind such acts as Anitta and J Balvin discusses her creative process and shopping with Rihanna at Target.

A portrait of Sita Abellan

If you’ve ever coveted the style sensibilities of J Balvin, Tokischa, or Anitta, then you’re familiar with Sita Abellan’s work. The Spanish stylist, jewelry designer, DJ, and model broke onto the scene in 2015 when she starred as one of Rihanna’s stylist henchwomen in the “Bitch Better Have My Money” music video. Since then, she’s created an empire of her own, with her brand Lilith becoming a favorite of Rosalía, Kim Kardashian (whom she photographed for the cover of ODDA magazine back in 2018), and Billie Eilish. Abellan is also, notably, among a new class of stylists who don’t just dress their clients in fantastical looks while opting for jeans and a white t-shirt themselves. The 29-year-old, who became a mother earlier this year, rocks one wild look after another—say, matching white fuzzy boots to a fuzzy animal hat and lacy garters, her entire body painted white. Below, Abellan tells the story behind those famous photos of her shopping with Rih in Target, art directing for music videos, and why she’s thankful she never took fashion advice early on in her career.

You styled Anitta’s “Boys Don’t Cry” video. What was on the mood board for that project?

Anitta had some references of movies in mind, like Beetlejuice, which is one of my favorite movies too. In some of the scenes, she’s wearing a red dress like Winona Ryder’s. Then she told me about Titanic, [and we referenced] the scene where they are pulling the laces of her corset. If you check that scene, Anitta is wearing a necklace similar to the heart-shaped one.

What do you have coming next with Lilith, your jewelry line?

We dropped the new collection, actually, in August. We’ve been dropping it by months, not everything at the same time. It is a little bit more fresh than the things I was doing before—I used to do more gold and more of an ancient [look]. For the last collection, I did things that are more colorful, all silver, with metallic colors. Right now, I’m working on the new collection. I also want to put out some other pieces that don’t have anything to do with jewelry, and then adapt jewelry into those other pieces: shoes and bags, and even clothes.

Huge congratulations on becoming a mom. Do you give your baby jewelry?

I made him a ring, actually, for when he’s older. I made a special piece some months ago for my stepdaughter, and a small bracelet for her Baptism. [My son] is too small still, but I think in a year or so, I’ll make him a bracelet or a chain.

I loved those paparazzi photos of you and Rihanna shopping in Target. Was that something you two planned to do together?

We didn’t plan anything. We just said, let’s go baby shopping. At that time, nobody knew I was pregnant. I had planned [to be on] the cover of Numéro magazine, and that was the way I was going to announce it. So I told her, Look, nobody knows I’m pregnant yet—I have to make it not so obvious. Of course, there was paparazzi at Target. We left and went to dinner, and as soon as we arrived, the door of the restaurant was full of paparazzi. I was trying to hide.

Onto the Style Notes questions. How would you describe your personal style in three words?

That’s a very difficult question because I don’t even know how to define my style. I guess “fun,” “very Sita,” and “without limits,” if I can say those three things.

What was your style like as a teenager?

Kind of like it is right now, to be honest. I’m from a very small city in the south of Spain, and when I was a teenager, people would look at me like, What the fuck is wrong with her? [Laughs]. I didn’t have money to buy clothes, so I was going to vintage stores to find pieces; I would buy them by the kilo. I used to be more punk, wear all black clothes, I was skinny and had long hair, always with dark lipstick. I was more Goth than now—when I started to dye my hair, which was nine years ago, that’s when I started to wear colors.

Who is your ultimate style icon?

My grandmother. She wakes up, and even if she stays in her house—doesn’t go out or anything—she puts on black eyeliner, her hair is perfect, she’s wearing a look. My friends, and even my boyfriend, at the beginning [of us dating], would be like, why are you wearing this to go to the supermarket? Why are you wearing this to go to the beach? Then they meet my grandmother and then they understand.

Do you think that you got your sense of style or your interest in fashion from her?

More from my mother. Because my grandmother, even though she’s a stylish woman, she’s not interested in fashion. She can appreciate it if you show her, but she’s from another era, when all these fashion shows were not so accessible. My mom loves fashion. She’ll call me and ask, Oh, have you seen this Dior show? All the time, she’s trying to find stuff that I like. I think it’s a way for her to be connected with me, since I don’t live in my hometown.

What is the most prized possession in your closet?

I have many, but I think it’s a Vivienne Westwood bag that never came out. It was a sample from a show that someone gave to me for Christmas as a present—a shiny pink bag with the logo of Vivienne Westwood in gold. Another one that is precious for me is a bag I made for Fendi, five or six years ago. It was a collaboration, redesigning the Peekaboo bag, that never came out. There were only two in the world.

What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever received?

Nobody gave me good advice in fashion. Everybody gave me bad tips. [Laughs]. But when I was younger, they were not allowing me to be myself, not letting me be the way I wanted to be. And thank god I didn’t listen to anyone. Because of where I’m from, I’m used to having people telling me all the time: “What the fuck are you wearing? Oh, you look too strange.”

The best advice I can give to people is to be yourself. And to not be ashamed. Sometimes I’m wearing a super crazy look, and I’ll look at myself before going out in the street, and I’m like, Yeah, that’s the vibe. And sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, and I’m like, Are you really gonna go out like this? And then I’m like, yeah, fuck it.

Do you have any style pet peeves?

I must say, I’m not a big fan of jeans. I don’t hate them, and sometimes I wear them, but if I go shopping, I won’t buy them myself. But I have a few pairs from Tremaine Emory, he’s the new creative director of Supreme, and Ev Bravado from Who Decides War. Tremaine made some printed jeans that I really like. I also have Kali Uchis’s, she sent me the new jeans she made. I love them because they make my ass look big. They’re the kind of jeans people wear in Colombia.

Do you have any fashion regrets?

Actually, yes, but this was when I was very young, 12 or 13. Until I became more Goth, I was wearing all Ralph Lauren with pearls, a lot of pieces by Tommy Hilfiger, because it was the trend at that time.

I can’t believe you were once preppy.

We call it “posh” here. But one year later, I was wearing a lot of gold chains with Nike sneakers and tracksuits. Now, I don’t [have] regrets. It’s all part of the process.