Lately students have been asking which of my two classes should they take? They can’t decide if they should focus on visuals or styling? I scratch my head with a bemused look and say why not do both!?!
Some give me an incredulous look and say, “really?” I reply, “think about it, what’s the difference, between the two jobs?”
A visual person is a stylist ,and stylists do visuals. I guess most people never really thought about it, but it’s true. It’s how I can teach both subjects – the skill set is interchangeable. If you can dress a mannequin, you can dress a model. If you can prop a window, you can prop a set. Both employ the principles of design, take loads of creativity, and are hard work. Sure there are some differences to working in a store, as opposed to a photo shoot, but we are all cut from the same cloth.
I’ve had a few arguments with myself trying to decide which is harder, visuals or styling? Sometimes visuals win the argument, and sometimes styling. When doing a store, it’s very physically demanding, but there’s fewer people I have to deal with, as I change out mannequins, set-up interior displays, or do floor sets. I oftentimes, just follow my store directives and do my thing! When styling there’s a lot of people on set, but the atmosphere is very fun, jobs are almost always catered, it’s not too physically demanding (unless you are a prop stylist, and working with big items), and you get to play with clothes all day.
Which is more fun? Only you can answer that. I don’t really like styling as much as I like building and making things, so visuals win out for me every time! Yet visuals can get boring if you work for a chain retailer, because you don’t get to be as creative as the old days. Now you just follow a store directive and almost everything is sent to you to assemble and install. Freelance projects is when you get to use your own ideas.
Styling still requires your creative skills, as the client is looking to you to bring their idea to life – so this can be really fun!
You will find that lots of visual folk, freelance as stylists, or are repped by an agent for styling work, and some stylists also do the occasional window. You should too!
Is this a display of bracelets in a jewelry case at a store, or was this image ripped from a magazine?
Is this a makeup display in a cube at a store ,or was this image ripped from a magazine?
For both images above does it matter? They could have easily been created by either a visual display person or a fashion stylist!
(images via Pinterest)
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate that holiday) and here’s to a fantastic new year!
It’s been an amazing year for me and I can’t express how grateful I am to all of you, especially my students. I have never cried in front of a class but this past semester my fashion styling students brought me to tears. Your kind words were too much for my little heart to bear ♥!
This class was such a hit, the department chair has asked me to teach it again in the spring (it is usually only offered once a year), and it is already filling up fast. I’m allowed to take 59 students and last time I checked I was already at 52 (FASH 54A – Beginning Fashion Styling).
I will also be teaching visual merchandising again this spring. This class is also filling up fast, with a class cap at 59, my current enrollment is 47 (FASH 49 – Visual Merchandising). If you are new to this blog, these classes are offered in the Fashion Department at City College of San Francisco, as part of the Fashion Merchandising degree of Fashion Styling certificate.
I know I don’t post as often as I should around here, work does take a huge amount of my time…I do post on my tumblr daily. It’s called the Fashion Teacher. I’m fairly new to tumblr and had no idea I would become so addicted to it, even more so than my Pinterest. I guess it makes sense, we are after all very visual people and tumblr allows us to express that quite easily.
Wishing you the VERY BEST in 2013!
A mannequin Christmas tree!
History was my concentration in college for my degree which is why I love to read and research. Fashion styling is a somewhat new career title which made me very curious to research the history of it and find out how it all began. Here’s the synopsis of my Powerpoint lecture from class:
The History of Fashion Styling:
The first stylists were editors who worked exclusively for fashion magazines. They “edit” the clothing and fashion pages, and they chose the designers to be featured in the magazine. Under the direction of the editor, there was the photographer and model. It was not uncommon in the 60s for models to do their own hair and make-up, as well as provide their own accessories for photo shoots.
It was during the 80s the first freelance stylists appeared. New magazines appeared which did not have a permanent fashion staff, which gave freelance stylists the chance to showcase their talents without being tied to one magazine.
Ray Petri is thought by MANY to be the first stylist. He was well known in the 80s for his Buffalo style, an eclectic mix of urban, ethnic, sportswear, and high fashion. He used real people in photos instead of models and people of mixed race. He oversaw and did everything on the creation of a photo, except take the actual picture!
“Petri was a fashion stylist long before this was a coveted job description. Indeed, in the early 80s, selecting and arranging clothes on models was still known, if it was known at all, as ‘fashion editing’, but he was an instinctive stylist, using his visual flair and magpie intelligence to produce elegant, unfussy and invariably sensual images of timeless modernity.”
The Observer, September 2000
Unlike stylists of today Petri did not live long enough to become rich, or even celebrated, the way we idolize those today. But his influence is still felt and he even 20 years after his death he is STILL regarded as the king! There was a time when stylists were all but invisible to the world beyond fashion’s inner circle. But a growing shift in the fashion industry has given license to a special breed of visionaries, who are not only the interpreters of fashion but oftentimes the originators.
(research sources – Styling by McAssey and Buckley, Stylists by Katie Barron)
When asked to name a fashion stylist they admire a large majority of us say Rachel Zoe, and it’s not necessarily because they admire her only because they have heard of her. She has in fact popularized the profession with her TV show and styling of red carpet celebs, but did you know there are many others out there whose work you’ve seen over and over again and just never really paid attention to who styled that look?
My students were assigned a paper on a fashion stylist they truly admire and why. This was to get them to open their eyes to the fact that Rachel Zoe isn’t the only name in the game, and once you compare her to others you begin to recognize what a one trick pony she is. She has one aesthetic and sticks to hit – constantly! I guess if it aint’ broke don’t fix it, but as a stylist whose job description is to inspire individuals on what they CAN do; sticking to one look can get very boring, very fast.
Here are the top stylists my students wrote about in order of popularity:
Grace Coddington – no surprise here, she’s amazing!
Creative Director for American Vogue. Top Model in the 60s. Became a British Vogue editor in 1969, came to NYC in 1987 to become a Design Director with Calvin Klein, followed by joining American Vogue in 1988, the same day that Anna Wintour, who gave her the job started.
Anna Dello Russo - a fashion maverick!
Studied art history in Milan, completed an MA in fashion before becoming an Accessories Editor at Vogue. In 2000 she became EIC of L’Uomo Vogue for six years before venturing off to where she is today, Editor-at-Large of Vogue Nippon, and a fashion consultant.
(I decided it was more fun to post photos of ADR, than her work!)
Giovanna Battaglia – my FAVORITE!!!!
Former model with Dolce and Gabbana, now an Editor at L’Uomo Vogue, a Contributing Editor at W, and freelance stylist. She can do no wrong in my eyes and her personal style is off the charts!
Nicola Formichetti - where would Lady Gaga be without him!
A fashion collaborator for Lady Gaga, the Creative Director for Thierry Mugler, and Contributing Fashion Editor for V Magazine, Dazed & Confused, and Vogue Homme Japan.
Edward Enninful – brought new life into W’s editorials!
Became the youngest ever Fashion Director at 18 with i-D Magazine. Former Editor to Italian Vogue, spearheaded the “all black” Italian issue. Currently the Fashion and Style Director at W.
Katie Grand – a true stylist in every sense of the word!
Studied at Central St. Martins, and began styling for Dazed & Confused in the 90s when the magazine was still new. Became the Fashion Director of The Face magazine and later the Editor-in-Chief of POP magazine. She has styled numerous photo shoots and shows.
I’m quite proud of my students and this list they came up with, grant it there were many more stylists listed such as Judy Blame, Melanie Ward, Camille Bidault-Waddington, even Brad Goreski, but these were the top six amongst a class of 60 students. This list is a recognition of those who inspire us in fashion with what we can do and not what we should do.
(images via various sites)
Tomorrow is the day we celebrate love, and I love DIY projects! The project below has nothing to do with visual merchandising, but it’s so cute and on trend, that I wanted to share it with you, and in memory of one of my favorite singers who just passed away – Whitney Houston.
“The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. Whitney said it best… but so did Oscar! Mr. de la Renta’s go-to quotes were etched into resin bangles that boasted his words and beliefs.
This Valentine’s Day, DIY your heart out, literally. It’s time to stop wearing your heart on your sleeve and start sporting it ‘round your wrist… with a touch of repetition. Mark my words, by marking yours with a graffiti style love note accessory. P.S. – Remember more is more, so scribble ‘em, stack ‘em and love ‘em lots!
To create: Apply two smooth coats of spray paint to wooden bangles. Be sure to wait until paint is completely dry before picking up. Use Sharpie Paint pens to scribble your love notes and quotes all around the bracelet. For an extra detail, inscribe the inside as well. Get creative with your color combinations and messages. Create a bevy of bangles for yourself and friends. What better way to say “I will always love you”, than with a wristed development that’s to DIY for!
(all images and instructions via: PS I made this)
Here are some interesting things I found while perusing the web:
These first photos are from the store Man 1924 in Madrid, the photos are taken by Scott Schuman of The Satorialist. I think the store owner does a great job of layering the clothes with different textures and fabrics. I especially like how they display the pants, much simpler than pulling them on the bust-form. Dressing bust-forms is far more difficult than mannequins, because you have to create the shape and volume so the clothes don’t lay flat.
Here’s a cool video recently released by Barney’s, it gives you a quick behind the scenes peek on how the Christian Louboutin window’s were created.
Have you heard or seen the new store C. Wonder? Entrepreneur Chris Burch, and force behind the Tory Burch brand, has branched out and opened his own lifestyle store! C. Wonder takes store ambience to a new level. Each sales associate comes equipped with a iPad for purchases, and you can change the music and lighting in your dressing room!
Here are two types of visuals used to help solidify and brand the image, a cool bus and a beautiful wall mural:
The use of bold and bright colors makes this store look like a really fun place to shop!
The cashwrap does not look like your traditional register area – love it!
I have to admit it looks like Tory Burch meets Kate Spade. Do you agree?
Great merchandising, this it what your dream closet would look like!
Lots of WOW factor without being too over the top and in your face! Notice that the store design is simple with a few architectural touches here and there; what is drawing your eye in is the use of color everywhere!
The light fixtures are teapots!
(images via: smallshopstudio.com)
What are you finding around the web?
I can’t believe I’m just discovering this blog now – Advance Style. What a great site and so uplifting! It’s become a new favorite site for perusing.
My students (any many friends) are always asking for tips on how to dress: “Does this match?”, “Do these shoes go with this dress?”, “What accessories should I wear?” I always reply, “Who cares, do YOU like it? Then wear it!” At my all girl high school I was not voted best dressed, instead I got the distinction of most unique wardrobe! I was and always have been about non-conformity and standing out from the crowd. The ladies on this blog are great examples of that.
True style is timeless and not a victim to fads and trends, evidenced by the fact so many of us are inspired by vintage looks or what we call retro – why else would so many of us be walking around with a Chanel bag our grandma handed down to us!
Fall is here, I’m not talking the season, as in outside weather, I’m speaking in terms of fashion. So to repeat fall is here, evident by all the lookbooks, and magazines that have been crowding my mailbox of late.
These books are our bibles and a very useful tool as we get an idea of what the fashion merchandisers have been viewing at all the shows. Remember students it’s our job to take what the buyers give us and make it look spectacular. You may not be a “trendy” person, per se, but it is your job to follow and interpret the trends for the consumer, regardless if you like them or not!
Truth be told most of us aren’t “trendy” and to be called that would probably offend, we’re more of the mavericks, yet we follow trends when called upon. Last S/S season Lagerfeld sent all his models down the runways in clogs, all the magazines featuring Chanel editorials also used clogs. So the smart visual trimmer would’ve styled his/her mannequin in clogs if they were doing a Chanel display and not cowboy boots! Yet get what I’m saying?
This is not to crush your own ideas or prevent you from putting your spin on things, just making sure you don’t incur the wrath of a fashion buyer who doesn’t see their stuff prominently displayed!
What I’m seeing as the fall trends:
- faux fur
- the color camel, and all of its variations: taupe, toffee, beige
- the 50s, and anything ladylike: structured bags, kitten heels
- black is back, and red too
- loafers are being worn again: high heels and low
- pant suits
- knits: sweaters and skirts
- I’m seeing that olive military coat everywhere and splashes of leopard print accessories
Here are a few looks from the A/W runways of Milan and Paris.
(images via: Tais-toi, sois beau, translated it means “shut up, look pretty”)
We all know accessories make the outfit, but there is only so much you can do with earrings, belts, and necklaces. Not the scarf! I never met a scarf I didn’t like (or wedge heel, but I digress). Hermes’ new scarf site show fashion folk from different cities twisting, knotting, braiding, styling, and doing whatever else to their beloved Hermes. This is not your grandmother’s site, but it’s the perfect excuse to borrow her beloved collection of Hermes.