Fashion and Celebrity Stylist
You have worked with so many amazing people in fashion and celebrities. How did you begin your career as a fashion and celebrity stylist?
I always loved fashion and magazines. I majored in Advertising in college and interned in PR for a designer called Mark Eisen. We lent clothes out to stylists for photo shoots. After I graduated from college I started freelancing for magazines like Surface, NY Blackbook and Oyster.
Who inspired your career in fashion and have you ever worked with them on any projects?
No one in particular inspired my career. As far as styling, growing up I loved Lori Goldstein and Alex White’s work but sadly I have never met either of them.
How old were you when you fell in love with fashion and did you have any other interest in pursuing another other career? If so what?
I started reading fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar in my teens. I planned to go into advertising because I thought it was creative and practical but I loved fashion so much, I had to give it a go.
Did you assist other fashion stylists? If so, who?
I assisted a little bit when I first started. The most notable stylist I assisted was Victoria Bartlett, on a few projects for Italian Vogue and French Vogue.
How long did you assist other fashion stylists before freelancing on your own?
How did you make the transition and what were the challenges? I started styling on my own before I started assisting. I actually wanted to assist more stylists but it was harder back then to make contacts. This was before social media and before stylists had their own websites/direct email access. I found it easier to connect with photographers because I would usually meet them socially through friends etc.
When you were assisting other stylists what was the most valuable thing you learned?
The most valuable thing I learned was how to work with clients and producers and how things operate on set.
Where did you go to school and what did you study? Did you graduate? If not, why?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Advertising Design from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
Have you ever wished you were a fashion stylist at a different period of time, like the 70’s or 80’s? Why?
Yes! The fashion business during the 80's sounds so fun. Like one big party.
How many assistants do you work with? How do you find a good assistant?
I usually have one first assistant who is my “go to” person. And I have a number of other assistants I work with on a job to job basis depending on what’s going on. Also, I usually try to have an intern working with me as an “assistant in training”
Do you mentor them as well? Do they ask you tons of crazy questions?
Yes, mentoring is the best part. One of my former interns/ assistants is a senior stylist now at Barneys.com. I also have other assistants who have gone on to do cool things. I stay in touch with many of them and it’s great to see their lives develop. I always like it when they ask questions, it’s better than the alternative.
Being a fashion and celebrity stylist is a huge responsibility and you are the most important person on the shoot. Have you ever had any drama on set? What was the outcome?
Usually things go pretty smoothly but there have been a few cases of drama and meltdowns. Talent can get sensitive when they’re feeling insecure. When that happens, my job is to make them feel as comfortable as possible and figure out a solution that makes everyone happy. When working with a celebrity it’s never about me. It’s always about meeting their needs and the client’s needs.
Who is your favorite model male/female to work with and why? Who is your favorite celebrity and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite model to work with. Most models are easy ...they know their job is to make the clothes look great. My favorite celeb to work with was Jake Gyllenhaal. He was charming and unselfconscious. Ashley Greene is also great. She’s laid back, and incredibly photogenic.
How important is having the right team for each project you are working on?
Having the right team is essential. When everyone is on the same page it’s effortless and you get the best results.
Who is your favorite photographer and have you ever worked with him/her?
I can’t say! Or I’ll get in trouble with whomever I left out. lol
Do you remember the first fashion editorial you ever worked on as the stylists and what was it like? How did it turn out?
It was awful...it was a spec shoot.... the model was at least 20lbs overweight and the photographer had her posing holding a dead fish! Not surprisingly the magazine did not run the story. Thank god!
You have work for many top magazines, what’s the difference working with a budget than without? How do you make it happen?
Working without a budget is tough. It costs money for messengers and car services to transport all the clothes. Sometimes we have to make things happen “lean and mean” but there are limitations when you have no budget. Thankfully, there are still plenty of clients who understand this.
What do you think about the industry now with celebrities being designers and instant fame on twitter, instagram , and other forms of social media?
Everyone wants to be a designer stylist or makeup without going through the proper channels? It’s a tricky thing. I love that everyone can express themselves creatively through Instagram and other social media. Boundaries between artists and the world at large have been removed, which is great. That being said, there is a reason why the pros are pros and it is an illusion that anyone with an iphone and instagram account is on equal footing with experienced photographers/stylists/ hair and makeup people.
There are many well established brands who are hiring people to work for free and used the words “internship” or “no budget”, do you think the industry is being fair to the real artists who are stuck in the middle and are still trying to achieve there goals and get paid for their work?
I definitely feel that when people do real work they deserve to get paid real money unless they are learning on the job or are in training. “cool” doesn’t pay the bills.
Describe your style as a stylist. How do you choose the clothes when you are working on editorials?
I love combining beautiful clothes to make something completely new, taking apart the runway looks and mixing them up to create new looks. Something magical happens when the right pieces come together...I never get tired of it.
Who’s your favorite designer/designers? Why?
I love Christopher Kane because he is always a step ahead. And many others: McQueen, Givenchy, Prabal to name a few.
What’s your favorite color and why? What is your favorite accessory and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite color, my favorite accessory is a wide brimmed hat, to hide from the sun.
What was your first top magazine to work for? Did you use any emerging brands for the shoot? If not, why?
The first top magazine I worked for was American Elle. We were shooting Liev Shreiber. I don’t think I used any emerging brands because it was a fairly traditional shoot. But I usually love to showcase emerging designers.
Do you like working with emerging talent? What’s the difference between emerging designer and other designers who are well established?
I love working with emerging talent because it’s about their artistry and not about labels. I enjoy promoting new, talented designers . Established brands are great too, both have their place in fashion.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you are excited to be working on?
I’m the fashion director for We focus on profiling up and coming designers, artists, creative people etc. I always have a few stories in the works it’s exciting to showcase new talent.
Being a freelance fashion stylist you can be called to work anywhere around the world at anytime. Where do you call home and how often on average are you there?
New York is home, and I’m here most of the time But I do get to travel to cool locations for shoots. I also work in LA.
Do you have residences outside of New York because of work? If so, where? New York is my only residence.
Do you have an agent? If so , who? If not, why?
I was with my last agent for 10 years but I’m currently repping myself. Times have changed, it’s more accepted nowadays.
Is it important to have an agent in the industry? Will agents find you jobs?
It’s less important than it used to be. With technology and social media it’s easier for artists to keep in direct contact with their clients. Some agents are great and find their artists work but not all do. It’s more important when you’re first starting out.
How important is networking and social media in the industry?
Both are vital. People generally want to work with people they already know or are connected to in some way. And social media keeps you in the loop. Some clients book artists and models based on their instagram following.
What do you think of all of the digital magazines vs paper magazines? Do you see a purpose for paper anymore?
I rarely read paper magazines anymore but I still have a fondness for them. They used to exist in our homes as objects that we would revisit. Online magazines work at the speed of social media and are the next generation, but we also leave them behind when we close our browser window.
Do you have any advice for young stylists or anyone wanting to work in fashion?
Be multidimensional. This business is changing faster than ever.
Photo: Michael Williams