The IT list: 22 Charlotteans with impeccable style

Features People Style

August 31, 2023

These Queen City trendsetters, leaders and creatives have a personal style all their own.

created and produced by Whitley Adkins
photographs by Kori Hoffman and Richard Israel
on-site hair and makeup touch-ups by Josiah Reed
Photography assistant: Lynsey Kruse
Set assistants: Ashley Martin, Abbey Crouch and Emily Mydosh

On location at the Belk Theater and Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts

Special thanks to Donnie Bales and Joshua Fronk at Blumenthal Performing Arts

In this seventh year of The IT List, I am still blown away by the range and diversity of style in our thriving city. This project was created to shine a light on interesting people in our community, with one common denominator: personal style. As I say each year, style is not just about fashion, rather it’s about the whole person — how you carry yourself and how you treat others. Outward personal style is just a conversation starter, a precursor to learning what matters most to a person. 

Belk Theater and Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center could not have provided a more dramatic and stunning backdrop. This year, we brought another talented photographer into the fold: Kori Hoffman, who brilliantly captured images at Belk, while industry veteran Richard Israel magnificently photographed scenes at Booth. We hope you enjoy this showcase, which places our city’s abundant style on center stage!

Whitley Adkins, SouthPark Magazine Style Editor

Comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Bill Kortesis, Athena Kortesis, Linda Martinez and Teri Thomas Haddock photographed backstage for SouthPark Magazine's IT List.

Bill Kortesis, Athena Kortesis, Linda Martinez and Teri Thomas Haddock

Andre Marcial sitting in a theater during a photo shoot for SouthPark Magazine.

Andre Marcial, 56, client advisor/stylist, Neiman Marcus; professional makeup artist

Personal style: Luxury, professional and dapper. Fashion influences: My namesake, Andre Leon Talley, who believed in fashion as a means of personal expression; my parents, who instilled in me to always look your best; and Troy Barnes, stylist at Neiman Marcus, who knows the style that speaks to me. Where he shops: Neiman Marcus, thrift shops, any luxury department stores. Style icons: Andre Leon Talley, Iman (who I worked for as a makeup representative when I first moved to Charlotte), Prince, Sammy Davis Jr. On fashion and dressing the way he does: I’ve always been interested in fashion from the perspective of the makeup artist, who makes the look complete with color and technique. My personal fashion speaks for me when I don’t have words to describe who I am.

Athena Kortesis, photographed backstage, for SouthPark Magazine's IT List.

Athena Kortesis, 42

Personal style: Classic with a fun or edgy touch. Fashion influences: When I was a child, we would visit family in Greece, including my Aunt Irene. She had a classic and elegant style that I admired from a young age. Traveling in general — getting out of my bubble and experiencing different countries and cultures — has also influenced my style over the years. Where she shops: Moda Operandi, Net-a-Porter, Showroom, Capitol and Alexander McQueen. I have found some of my favorite pieces while on trips. Style icons: Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis; her look is classic and timeless. Zendaya, Blake Lively and Sarah Jessica Parker also have amazing style. On fashion and dressing the way she does: I am a very visual person. I love putting an outfit together and enjoying how it looks and feels. I also love seeing how others choose to express themselves through fashion.

Teri Thomas Haddock being photographed for SouthPark Magazine's IT List.

Teri Thomas Haddock, 65, interior designer, Teri Thomas Interiors

Personal style: Hopefully appropriate and pulled together with a twist. I love patterns and mixing them. I like a vintage style — sometimes boho, sometimes dressy. Fashion influences: Designers from the ’70s. Where she shops: Capitol, Tiny Gods, Matches Fashion, Net-a-Porter and anywhere I travel that has things I haven’t seen. Style icons: My mother, Jeanne Thomas, who always looks fabulous, even going to the grocery store! On fashion and dressing the way she does: It is an extension of my job — design and fashion cross over all the time. I think it is important that I look like I care how I present myself, the same as I care about the outcome of a home.

DJ That Guy Smitty standing on a box backstage during a photo shoot for SouthPark Magazine.

DJ That Guy Smitty, 54, vibe technician

Personal style: Urban techno hippie. Fashion influences: ’70s era Curtis Mayfield meets Bob Marley at an underground rave. Where he shops: Boris & Natasha, Stash Pad, Revolution Clothiers, thrift stores. Style icons: Hope Nicholls, LeMond Hart, Lenny Kravitz, my Pops (RIP). On fashion and dressing the way he does: I really just dig comfortable clothing that compliments whatever mood I’m in. I am an accessory connoisseur — I absolutely love and collect custom and unique jewelry and belt buckles. You can have on the most basic jeans and a T-shirt … but, with the right bling and confidence, you’re a rock star. I truly believe that if you’re comfortable with yourself, you can pull off any look you decide to rock.

Jordan Moore, Brandy Byers, Hayden Shoffner and Tony Hernandez in a group photo for SouthPark Magazine's IT List.

Jordan Moore, Brandy Byers, Hayden Shoffner and Tony Hernandez

Wesley A. Mancini and his dog backstage at Booth Playhouse during a photo shoot for SouthPark Magazine.

Wesley A. Mancini, 70, fabric designer and president, Wesley Mancini Ltd.

Personal style: Eclectic, arty, edited yet masculine. Fashion influences: Traveling to 41 countries has opened my eyes to various cultures. I’m fortunate enough to be able to select things I like on those trips. Where he shops: Neiman Marcus, The Kooples, Jimmy Choo. For eyewear, Cutler and Gross in London or Alain Mikli in Paris. On fashion and dressing the way he does: Fashion represents the individual, and being creative gives the chance to express oneself in a different manner. Being in the South has its challenges. I used to wear Armani Couture when my studio was uptown. Bankers would snicker, because I didn’t fit the uniform they wore. Being a gay male, I had to tone down my personal style to survive. I still try to fit in with an edge. I am a man, and I dress like one — just not how the majority does.

Hayden Shoffner poses for SouthPark Magazine.

Hayden Shoffner, 27, co-founder Byrdie Golf Social Wear, digital marketing professional

Personal style: Feminine, classic silhouettes with unexpected touches, sophisticated palettes and curated accessories. Fashion influences: The Victorian era: I have fallen in love with feminine and romantic designers like Brock Collection, Markarian, Rosie Assoulin and Giambattista Valli. Where she shops: My style really aligns with Matches Fashion and Moda Operandi —they do an amazing job at curating designers from all over the world. My business partner, Rachelle and I love finding new brands from different countries! Style icons: Audrey Hepburn. My wedding gown that I am currently designing is inspired by a gown she wore in the 1950s. My more recent style icon is Olivia Palermo. On fashion and dressing the way she does: I love the way that fashion provides a creative outlet to express your personality and individuality without saying a word! 

Sherri Bennett poses backstage for SouthPark Magazine's IT List.

Sherri Bennett, 60

Personal style: My style changes daily. It’s fun mixing styles and experimenting with different looks. I love dresses and menswear. Fashion influences: Sienna Miller and Julianne Moore are two of my favorites … but ultimately, personal style is what makes you feel comfortable and allows you to express yourself. Where she shops: I love supporting local — some faves are Capitol, Poole Shop and Renata Gasparian. On fashion and dressing the way she does: It’s just fun!

Tony Hernandez poses during a photo shoot for the  IT List.

Tony Hernandez, 58, artist

Personal style: I have two motorcycles that I ride, and I paint for long hours at a time, so comfort and functionality are key. Quality pieces with a slight edge and uniqueness are what I love most. Fashion influences: Young Mickey Rourke and Tom Ford. Where he shops: Gucci, Prada, Robert Graham, Poshmark and eBay — I am always looking for used, out-of-production, Italian leather shoes. Style icons: Jean Paul Gaultier and Tom Ford. On fashion and dressing the way he does: Well-made clothes last a lifetime if you take care of them. 

Jon Simon, Blair Scheuer, Brooke Werhane Maples and Zafir Muhammed pose in a group photo for SouthPark Magazine.

Jon Simon, Blair Scheuer, Brooke Werhane Maples and Zafir Muhammed

Zafir Muhammad poses for the IT List in Charlotte, N.C.

Zafir Muhammad, 43, client advisor, Neiman Marcus

Personal style: Classic but modern. Less is more when it comes to style, and having those classic pieces to balance out the trends is always helpful. Fashion influences: As a youth, it was family and music. As an adult, it’s learning from working in fashion along with years of experience. And a bit of trial and error. Where he shops: Neiman Marcus. On fashion and dressing the way he does: Fashion has always been something I gravitated toward. It stays with you and becomes part of who you are. My fashion choices come from years of watching and learning, along with trying things and adopting new style and technique. Fashion and style truly represent individuality.

Brooke Merhane Maples poses for SouthPark Magazine.

Brooke Werhane Maples, 42, interior designer, artist and stylist

Personal style: Classic and eclectic — I dress for how I’m feeling and where I’m going. Fashion influences: I am a visual consumer of all things design, art and fashion. I am always looking for something I might love to emulate. Where she shops: Tabor, Moda Operandi, Capitol, Zara, J.Crew — and I’ll shop any sale! Style icons: Coco Chanel, Lauren Santo Domingo, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Stevie Nicks and I love a good country-western moment — think John Travolta in Urban Cowboy. On fashion and dressing the way she does: I love to get dressed — I love to present myself with my best fashion foot forward. I think it says you have respect for whatever social or life situation you may find yourself in. 

Krystle Batts poses during a photo shoot for SouthPark Magazine..

Krystle Batts, 37, head of wardrobe and lead stylist, FOX Sports; personal stylist and content creator, Mirrorcheck

Personal style: I dress for my mood, so my style can vary, but I do love wearing pieces that are edgy, modern and well-made. I also believe there is an allure and cool factor that accompanies my style. Fashion influences: It’s cliche, but my mom. She has always inspired me to stretch my styling muscles beyond the expected — to be extra. (Sorry Coco, sometimes more is more!) Where she shops: I have a master’s degree in online shopping! My favorites are FWRD, Mytheresa, Farfetch, Revolve and Zara for trendy items that I don’t want to invest [a lot] in. My favorite local boutique is Showroom. On fashion and dressing the way she does: It’s thrilling! I have always loved to see how different people, brands and wardrobe stylists interpret fashion and curate style. Style is so personal and is an excellent way to express yourself without speaking.

Linda Martinez sits backstage during a photo shoot in uptown Charlotte.

Linda M. Martinez, 56, wardrobe stylist, Styled NOW! and Styled NOW! Interiors

Personal style: Classic with a gypsy-bohemian dash. Fashion influences: Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Andre Courreges, Yves Saint Laurent and Halston. Growing up in the Virgin Islands and then Miami (my roots are in Cuba). Where she shops: My first stops are always local boutiques: Sloan, Monkee’s, KK Bloom and CLTCH. Also Nordstrom at SouthPark Mall, and online at Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Style icons: Gabrielle Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Cher, Madonna, Jenna Lyons, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles and Auntie Mame, the fictional character played by Rosalind Russell. On fashion and dressing the way she does: The era I was born (1960s), the decades I was a teenager and young adult (’70s and ’80s), and the places I have lived influenced my connection to fashion. My mind was a sponge, and I absorbed everything. I dress the way I do because I want to — it makes me happy. 

Krystle Batts, Wesley Mancini, Sherri Bennett and Corrie Throckmorton

Brandon Owens stands backstage during a photo shoot in uptown Charlotte.

Brandon Owens, 39, campaign design manager, Belk; owner, Visually Structured Styling

Personal style: Space cowboy vibes — western like a country music star, mixed with an off-the-runway, New York City flair. Fashion influences: Streetwear and art. I love mixing accessories and layers to tell a story. I collaborated with artist Jen Hill, who painted the jumpsuit for this shoot (see page 106) — I love working with and supporting local artists and designers. Where he shops: I love House of Jade Sky and I am obsessed with R13 and Acne Studios. I also shop online… and I live near SouthPark Mall, so you will find me there often — there is nothing like shopping in person. Another favorite is Boot Barn — all things western, all the time! Style icons: Elvis, Dolly Parton, Rihanna, Lil Nas X, Billy Porter, Karl Lagerfeld and Kim Kardashian. On fashion and dressing the way he does: Styling an outfit with layers is an art form, telling the story of who you are and what you represent. Each day you get dressed you represent the biggest brand you could show off — yourself! 

Corrie Throckmorton poses for a photo shoot with SouthPark Magazine.

Corrie Throckmorton, 46, co-owner, Stash Pad; event stylist; curator of vintage wardrobes for film and television

Personal style: Mixing and matching classic vintage and modern, with floral patterns and all things glitter, fuzzy or metallic — and often with my staple neutral: cheetah print. Fashion influences: Growing up in Indiana, my mom and grandma, who taught me how to sew and sparked my interest in vintage. I moved to Charlotte for college and later joined a band called Babyshaker, where I learned about stage clothes and fashion from our singer, Scott Weaver. We played shows in New York and on the East Coast — everywhere we traveled, I found new fashion inspiration. Where she shops: Stash Pad, Boris & Natasha, CLTCH. Style icons: Vivian Westwood and Patricia Field. In music, Robert Plant, Lita Ford and David Bowie. Carol Brady is also iconic when it comes to keeping things fun and campy. On fashion and dressing the way she does: Interesting fabrics and vintage patterns are energizing and uplifting. My looks usually bring some smiles. Vintage for me is a dopamine hit.

RIck Lazes sits on stage during a photo shoot in uptown Charlotte.

Rick Lazes, entrepreneur, real-estate developer, movie director, artist and inventor

Personal style: Laid back, but passionate about work. I get a lot of positive energy by collaborating with other creatives. Style influences: Pablo Picasso and Miro for art, and Federico Fellini for film. Where he shops: Hugo Boss and La Boutique Rosewood in St. Barth. Style icon: Mark Wahlberg.

Jordan Moore poses for a photo shoot with SouthPark Magazine.

Jordan Moore, 42, sales director, TABOR

Personal style: Carpenter chic. Fashion influences: The south of France with my stunning wife. Where he shops: TABOR, Uniqlo, any vintage store. Style icon: Gerardo Cavaliere. On fashion and dressing the way he does: I love storytelling, and sometimes it’s nice to not have to say a word.

DJ That Guy Smitty, Morgan Shields and Rick Lazes

DJ That Guy Smitty, Morgan Shields and Rick Lazes

Brandy Byers in a yellow suit for a photo shoot in uptown Charlotte.

Brandy Byers, 40, real-estate agent and broker

Personal style: Sophisticated and classic while making a statement. Fashion influences: My family, specifically my mother and grandmother. Growing up, my grandparents owned a hair salon and my mother was a stylist, so I was always surrounded by beauty and fashion. My grandmother and mom were the two classiest, most beautiful, poised and fashionable women. I grew up loving and admiring everything about them. My mother encouraged my sister’s and my personal style by allowing us to shop and dress ourselves. Where she shops: Boutiques and Black designers. A few of my favorites are Hanifa and Ellaé Lisqué. Style icons: Tracee Ellis Ross. On fashion and dressing the way she does: I subscribe to the notion that when you look good, you feel good. And I truly enjoy the art known as style. 

Bill Kortesis

Bill Kortesis, 46, co-founder of HKB Cosmetic Surgery

Personal style: Classic with an edge and a European influence. Fashion influences: I have always felt that a wonderful way to feel good was to look good and dress the part. From an early age, I would check out the latest trends and try to match those as much as I could with my own style. As I grew older, I blended multiple trends into my own self-expression. Where he shops: Tabor, Abbeydale, St. Laurent, Tom Ford, Neiman Marcus, Taylor Richards Conger. Style icons: David Beckham, Daniel Craig, Tom Ford, Brad Pitt. On fashion and dressing the way he does: I truly believe it is vital to love to look the way you feel. And one of the best ways to do so is to use fashion as an expression of self, because the exterior look can shape the way you feel internally.

Sabina Schlumberger stands in a yellow dress in Belk Theatre in uptown Charlotte.

Sabina Schlumberger, 51, entrepreneur and advisor, community leader 

Personal style: A predilection for tailored solids. Fashion influences: My grandmother — she and I would watch Elsa Klensch on CNN together in the ’80s. When she lived in London, she went through an Escada phase, which was very tailored and made sense since she dressed almost exclusively in Bill Blass sheaths for day. Evening was another story — she loved Zandra Rhodes, Hanae Mori and, no surprise, Bill Blass. Where she shops: Matches Fashion, Le Bon Marche, Capitol and Aime London. Style icons: Sofia Coppola and Miuccia Prada. On fashion and dressing the way she does: I am always searching for the lovely and ethereal — anywhere and everywhere my eyes land. It is truly a transcendent emotion for me. I am moved by beauty in all forms, mediums and shapes —  especially in nature and in architecture. I am deeply affected by my environment, including what I wear!

Blair Scheuer strikes a pose for SouthPark Magazine.

Blair Scheuer, 41, stylist, Pearl by Lela Rose

Personal style: I dress for joy. I love putting on an outfit each day, stepping out of my front door and bringing that sense of fun and happiness into the world. Fashion influences: My late grandmother was always impeccably turned out … she inspired my love for a full look: the hat, the jacket, the shoe, the makeup. Where she shops: Pearl by Lela Rose (of course!). In Charlotte: Capitol, Poole Shop and Hong Kong Vintage. Elsewhere: Coplon’s and The Blake in Columbia, S.C., and MK Quinlan in Birmingham, Ala. You can’t beat the Edit Sale and The Real Real for a great deal. On fashion and dressing the way she does: Fashion is fun! Seeing someone express themselves through fashion brings me such joy, be it the older woman with her crisp blouse, slacks and lipstick at the grocery store or a man in a punk ensemble of leather and piercings. How fun to be an ever-evolving canvas and shout to the world, “Here I am!” 

Morgan Shields poses during a photo shoot for SouthPark Magazine.

Morgan Shields, 36, area vice president of underwriting, CCM; retired modern dancer

Personal style: Joyful, colorful, strangely charming. From a sunset to a plate of nachos, I see inspiration everywhere. Fashion influences: My dreams and my Hispanic heritage. From early on, I have been drawn to colors and prints. I dream vividly, and wake up focused on a color or pairing — and that translates into my expression of dress. Where she shops: Boris & Natasha, Stash Pad, Value Village, The Cosmo Gypsy, House of Jade Sky, Hilliard Studio Method (for active wear), Free People. You could take me anywhere and I would find something I want to wear! Style icons: Jeff Bridges, my parents, Hope Nicholls, Idris Elba and Daphne Guinness. On fashion and dressing the way she does: It’s my truest language to the world — it’s lived in me before I knew why or how to name it. It allows me to create art each day, and in any way I want to show up. Style is soul, and our souls live infinitely. 

Jon Simon poses for a photo shoot on stage in uptown Charlotte.

Jon Simon, 48, president, Paul Simon specialty apparel stores

Personal style: Simple, nicely tailored, colors that are right for me, natural fibers and a fit that hides imperfections. My favorite outfit is a tuxedo — if I’m wearing my tux, it means I am in a beautiful setting and having a fun time with my wife, Stephanie. Fashion influences: My father, our team at the store and friends in the industry. I am inspired by people who are well-dressed in Charlotte. Where he shops: Paul Simon. Style icons: Gordon Lea was a Charlotte style icon in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. As for the Hollywood scene, I have always admired Michael Douglas’ looks throughout his career. On fashion and dressing the way he does: I love beautiful things, including fabrics, art, landscapes and places. Along with my business skills, I have a strong artistic side, and dressing well allows me the opportunity to use that skill.

Brandon Owens, Sabina Schlumberger and Andre Marcial

Brandon Owens, Sabina Schlumberger and Andre Marcial

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