Don't Put A Finger In My Mouth Either: Stylists On Working With Stars

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Don't Put A Finger In My Mouth Either: Stylists On Working With Stars
Don't Put A Finger In My Mouth Either: Stylists On Working With Stars

Video: Don't Put A Finger In My Mouth Either: Stylists On Working With Stars

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The difficult life of stylists has long been known, but until now, instead of suitcases and huge bags with things, discount cards in all dry cleaners of your hometown and a heap of "guarantees" in which things worth hundreds of thousands of rubles are written on you, many see only an endless party.

Some of the stylists shoot for fashion magazines, some advise private clients and go shopping with them, and some work with celebrities and help them choose clothes for filming videos and instagram, concerts and a variety of events. One does not exclude the other, but it is the work of a celebrity stylist that has acquired the greatest number of myths and stereotypes. We figure out how to enter the profession and what is its complexity, with the help of the best specialists in the Russian industry.

TEXT: Anton Danilov, author of the telegram channel "Profeminism"

Alexander Zubrilin


In September 2008, I first saw the Interview magazine relaunched by Fabien Baron with Kate Moss on the cover, fell head over heels in love with him and began to dream of gloss. After graduating from a bachelor's degree and enrolling in a master's degree, I sent my resume to all glossy publications, the contacts of which I could get on the Internet. He wrote to editor-in-chief, fashion directors, editors. Only Anya Rykova, who served as fashion director at Cosmopolitan magazine, answered me. She offered an internship that quickly led to a job as a stylist for Cosmopolitan. For about a year I assisted senior colleagues on large shootings and stylized small ones of my own, and in the end I clearly realized that this was not my publication at all, and went as a manager to the H&M showroom.

In the fall of 2011, a miracle happened. Thanks to my friends, I learned about the launch of the Russian version of Interview magazine under the leadership of Alena Doletskaya. After a test shooting, I got a job there as a junior editor of the fashion department - this was the beginning of the longest and happiest "full-time" period of my professional life.

While working, I had to meet the resistance of the artists. Often they are afraid to destroy their image, which they have been collecting for years and to which they end up being held hostage. Once we were shooting the cover of a magazine with a very famous actor, he was very late for the shooting and came in with the words: "Now we will do everything in an hour." I tell him a conceived story about a bloodthirsty maniac, show things and see how he starts to get nervous. There were some leather trousers, trench coats, a cap, but it seemed to him that these things were too “gay”, and he began to worry about his masculine image. In such a tense emotional state, the whole shooting took place, but this only added depth to his image and in the end played in our favor.

At Interview, we especially liked to "swing" the character in an unexpected way. It was often necessary to "build" it into the visual range of the publication. This was the case, for example, in the case of Vera Brezhneva - it was one of the most dramatic changes. The idea was to turn off the singer's emphasized sexuality: we filmed her in a short-haired wig and men's suits, so that femininity and sensuality shine through more subtly. Vera reincarnated well and played her role very dramatically: she ran, cried and dragged on her cigarette beautifully, although she did not even smoke in her life. I will not hide, I was prejudiced against her before we met, but now I remember this shooting as one of the most successful, paying tribute to the heroine's professionalism, her respect for the team's work and a high degree of trust. Another example of extreme reincarnation is the shooting of Andrei Bartenev, when he tried on two female images at once. Alena then set me a task over which I had to break my head: Bartenev should not have turned out to be like a drag queen. In the frame, he had to reincarnate as a fashionable woman.Everything worked out, and it was extremely funny that in the end some took Alena herself for a blonde.

At the end of 2016, the magazine closed, and I moved to Los Angeles for a year and a half. The guy from Siberia was terribly anxious to know what “life on the west coast” is - I don't have any other explanation why I ended up there. Gradually adapting and fine-tuning my life in a new place, I got a job in a huge vintage store in Hollywood and stylized several lookbooks and editorials for independent publications.

There I was lucky to work with Vanya Dorn on his videos "Collaba" and "OTD". "Collaba" was a shooting from the category of completely unrealistic, but from one idea which it "pins" so much that it is simply impossible to refuse. It was like this: on Monday at eight in the evening the producer calls me and describes the scale of the tragedy - we need to prepare three images of Vanya himself and the girls in the episodes. Filming on Thursday. My fee is $ 300 and another 600 to buy things. I collected them from vintage shops, shops like Forever21 and Santee Alley Market in Downtown, where I swept miniskirts and tops into a mesh in three-for-ten bucks mode. It was clear that this was not enough anyway. Therefore, in a huge brief, I described in detail for the girls what they need to bring to the shooting. And they did it! A couple of girls are even so good that I sent them into the frame without changing their clothes at all. In general, it was great to cooperate with Vanya - in the best sense, he is a "drove away" character, open to experiments.

Ira Dubina


Let me explain right away: I do not position myself as a celebrity stylist, I have no regular star clients, but from time to time I work with stars on the set for magazines and special projects. As you might guess, this is much more difficult than shooting with ordinary models, because all the standard tasks (coming up with an idea, putting together a mood board and things, pleasing a client or customer, filming beautifully) are aggravated by an important detail: you have to work with a person who has his own opinion on everything. If we talk about styling, there are two main categories of celebrities: those who completely trust your taste and choice, and those who believe that they understand this better than you and know how they want to look. Of course, the first option is much more favorable for the stylist: you do not feel like a courier who just brought things to the shooting, but, sorry, a creator.

I have had different cases. Some heroes simply said: "Do what you want, I completely trust you." Others demanded to send in advance the bows that will be on the shooting. Still others simply collected images from the available things to their taste. In the latter case, it is sometimes difficult to convince the star, to offer some other option. Sometimes you have to agree with their choice for the sake of the comfortable work of the whole team. You can often hear that a good stylist must be kind of a psychologist. So, a celebrity stylist is a God-level psychologist.

It is important to be confident in yourself and ready to defend your position, but at the same time make sure that the hero of the shooting feels comfortable in one or another bow. When you hear phrases like “This is awful, I won't wear that” or “Hmm, you brought amazingly ugly things, of course,” it can be hard not to take it personally. But it came to the point of being ridiculous. Once I stylized for a magazine a famous TV presenter with, to put it mildly, a difficult character. Arriving at the shooting and seeing things, she began to be indignant at how bad everything was with the styling, and even threatened to leave. Somehow we convinced her to try on bows, and already at the end of the shooting she admired that I “could convey her essence through clothes”, and then asked to book me as a stylist for other projects with her participation.

It's especially cool to work with those who are ready to experiment: I think this is an indicator of the artist's inner freedom. An excellent example is Vanya Dorn, who completely trusts his stylist (I say hello to Lera Aguzarova) and, as a result, looks almost the best on the domestic stage.I also love the styling of most of the Little Big videos. Their "Faradenza" is simply top-level (my personal bow to Vadim Ksenodokhov, who was in charge of the costumes). At such moments, I envy my colleagues in an amicable way - this is how communication between an artist and a stylist should be built. Somehow I needed to style one rapper for his big concert, and I really wanted to dress him in the trendiest Craig Green suit. Alas, the client chose a sport bow that was more understandable for him - apparently, he did not want to leave the comfort zone. I think this is the main reason why most of our celebrities do not look very fashionable. Well, and also, probably, because we don't have a lot of really cool stylists.

Ksyusha Smo


I moved to Moscow from Krasnodar when I entered MGIMO. In my third year, I started having problems with individual teachers. I didn't want to quit school, so I took an academic leave for a year. My savings would have been enough for two months, so I immediately started actively looking for a job. On Instagram, I accidentally found an advertisement for an assistant vacancy. This happened thanks to the like of my ex: I closely followed his page. So I first became a stylist's assistant, and then a stylist.

Now I have finished working on one show on TNT. The pool lasted four days, with three broadcasts every day. And six leading in the frame, that is, 18 bows per day. It immediately seemed to me that it was pretty tough, but I had super tasks before. I thought: why not? An interesting experience. Now I understand that in order for a star to look good on screen, her stylist needs to make a huge effort. Plus, the TV has a ton of limitations. For example, it is impossible for a thing to be decorated, in a small strip or in a cage: it will ruffle. Even a small scar is not allowed. Partly because of this, finding good things outside the mass market was also difficult.

At various times I worked with L'One, Dead Dynasty, Vander Phil, Feduk, Masha Ivakova, T-Fest, Christina C (Christina Sargsyan) and other musicians. With Gleb (Golubin, the real name of the rapper Pharaoh. - Approx. ed.) and his manager, I talked for a very long time. They even partially filmed one of his first videos in my apartment. The video for the song "Diko, For example" became our first full-fledged working contract. When I was getting things, I wrote to the showrooms of major brands. According to the idea, the collections of Gucci and Louis Vuitton were very suitable for us, but no one answered me without a second reminder to the PR specialists of these brands. Gucci wrote that they do not wear celebrities - but I understood that this was nonsense (then, at the end of the year, they sent him a gift, hinting at the continuation of cooperation). In Louis Vuitton, at a personal meeting, they coldly answered that Gleb was not their hero: “We are working with Mot”.

I once stylized for the singer Hannah her video "I Can't Without You". I collected my things in Moscow, but they filmed the video in the States. I didn’t fly, they didn’t give me a visa. By the way the clothes are written into the script, by the tasks I set and completed, I like this clip more than Gleb's clip. My task was to organically fit the “usual” everyday wardrobe, but so that it had clip brightness.

If we talk about Russian stars, I like how Ivan Dorn dresses and how Lera Aguzarova works with him. I love the way the aspiring stylist Sofia Burnasheva dresses the Boulevard Depo. And I want to note Lena Temnikova, she found herself, found her own style. At one time, when she just left "Silver", we collaborated, I stylized her videos and shootings. Her inner and outer are in harmony.

I didn't have any particular difficulties in working with the stars. When we didn’t agree on matters of style, I calmly explained what the problem was. It happened that those about whom my acquaintances spoke badly turned out to be nice and kind in their work. I don’t know what it’s connected with - maybe with my character? Don't put your finger in my mouth either. But I would prefer a young artist to any Russian “superstar”: I love it when they are not yet “spoiled” and you can write from scratch.

Some stars turn to stylists to simply tweak the overall vector without drastically changing anything. Someone thinks: “Why should I buy things for the video? Better let the stylist get it through his own channels, and I'll just pay her or him a fee."

But the Russian fashion market is very limited, and really cool things from collections are often not brought to us. I have several private clients with whom there are no financial constraints. When these frames are not there and you can choose whatever you want, you understand how modest our choice is. I am very friendly with SVMoscow and through them I can order something from the shows - this is great. But when I collect a wardrobe for a client and he wants a lot of images, at some point I realize that I can find a limited number of things - I can't step either to the left or to the right. And what to do?

People can look down on others without even knowing them. Previously, I also had a bias towards many stars. I looked at some artist and thought: what kind of nonsense is he doing? But I weaned myself out of it.

Sveta Mikhailyuk

I had no clear desire to become a stylist: before, I had a poor idea of ​​what kind of work it was. But four years ago I decided that I can no longer work in the office, something needs to be changed. I've always liked to go shopping not for shopping, but just like that. At first, I really got a job as a seller in a clothing store, but I quickly realized that this was not mine at all. Then I saw an advertisement for the Self Made Studio stylist courses and decided to go to study. I quickly started assisting more experienced colleagues, and the first fashion shoot was for Wonderzine. Olesya Iva was the fashion editor at that time, and I helped her. I remember that I was very afraid to do something wrong: when Olesya instructed me to buy basic white socks, I chose them like the last time. Now that I have my assistants, I hope they don’t worry as much as I did then. The most memorable work was on-site shooting for Buro 24/7 in Portugal. We were shooting at the seaside then. It was one of those moments when I realized how much I still love my job.

My main profile is photography, I don't work with stars very often. The exception is the singer Luna, with her I work on an ongoing basis. I was introduced to Christina by my friend Katya, a make-up artist who often paints Chris for concerts and filming in Moscow. We made a joint shoot, and then, about a year later, Christina offered to dress her for a concert in Crocus. This is how we started working in Moscow.

I’m lying if I say that I dress Christina because she has great taste; we always work together. In general, I believe that you need to love the artist you work with, to understand his or her music. Unfortunately, many Russian celebrities do not look fashionable because they are afraid to experiment. They believe that they know better what suits them and, most importantly, "what their audience needs", and the stylist is simply not allowed to work, perceiving him or her as a courier for the delivery of things.

I don't really follow celebrity styling, I'm not very interested in this direction. Of course, I know who Mel Ottenberg (Rihanna's stylist) or Marnie Senofonte (Beyoncé's stylist) is, but I didn't go deep into this topic. Among foreign stars, I like the style of Dua Lipa, she is dressed by Lorenzo Posocco, he is cool. Of the Russian stars, I like the way Lena Temnikova looks, her image is very suitable for her work. I know that Nastya Klychkova is working with Lena. Lera Aguzarova dresses Ivan Dorn very cool. And I also like what Ksyusha Smo is doing, she generally significantly revived Russian show business.

Lera Aguzarova


I was doing something like styling long before I realized that such a profession exists. At school, I was friends with musicians. I was a fan of rock music, bought a bunch of music magazines; I was inspired by how cool foreign stars look. There were many rock bands in my hometown, and I helped them get ready for their concerts.They didn't have much style, but I wanted to help. I had a clear belief that a musician had to look cool on stage, but there was no money at all, and we came up with something, bought clothes in second-hand shops, changed them. Then I could not even think that such work could become a matter of life, it seemed like something frivolous. Now I think that the matter seemed frivolous, because everything worked out easily and I liked it.

Having moved to Moscow, I saw a vacancy in a vintage clothing store and decided to try to get a job there. I was hired. I think that the appearance played an important role, I looked quite eccentric then. Stylists, directors, actors often came to the store, and I watched them choose clothes and helped them. People loved my advice and it inspired me to try it myself. I already stylized a little for catalog shoots of the store, and aspiring photographers wrote to me. Many of them are now successful, you can see their work in magazines. Looking back at that period, the only thing I regret is that I didn't think of going to assist someone. I just didn't know it was possible.

Once I was invited to take a novice artist in a magazine, it was Ivan Dorn. Almost seven years have passed since then, but we are still cooperating. I always see what kind of thing is "his", I know in advance how he will look in it and where I will buy it, whether it will be for a TV show or a solo concert. Of course, his charisma plays a huge role in all this. I was very lucky with Ivan, he is ready for any experiments with the appearance, but I am always aware in advance of what event the artist is going to, and I act according to the circumstances.

The most difficult thing in my work is negotiations with showroom managers and brand PR departments. There are always some difficulties with them. Brands prefer to lend things to magazines because editors will print credits and everyone will be happy. But if you come to the showroom with an offer to dress an artist - for example, for posters of upcoming tours and concerts - then the brand's PR does not see any benefit in this. They don't want to use this content, but what should a stylist do? Ask any of them, and everyone will have some kind of life hack for this occasion: designer friends, friends in the showroom or in the store. This severely limits resources. There will be no conditional A $ AP Rocky or conditional Rihanna on the Russian stage until brands and their representatives are involved. So now the easiest option is to buy clothes.

I don't follow Russian stars very closely, but I have noticed lately that they have begun to pay more attention to their appearance. Young performers delight. For example, I like Eighteen. I know his stylist, he is great. Our other stars lack good stylists and, perhaps, an understanding of how important appearance is in their work. Many are not ready for new things and do not want to change, but appearance is half the battle.

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