"I think there is a distinct difference between a habilleuse (dresser) and a stylist. It requires no great skill to put a total look on a model, whereas, to create a style or to convey a message takes some knowledge and experience, which can only come from study and observation." – Natalie Yuksel is a stylist and a story teller.
Publication: A Magazine, Photography: Boris Ovini
What fascinates you about being a fashion stylist?
I would not say that being a fashion stylist fascinates so much as fashion itself. I love fashion and the story clothes tell. They reflect a mood, an idea, a time frame, and a cultural movement. This is what I find fascinating. Being a fashion stylist gives me the ability to create a character and use clothes as a means of constructing that character.
What was your first job as a stylist and how did you get it?
It was a test shooting. I was assisting at Citizen K at the time and as a result I met one of Ellen Von Umwerth’s assistants. We got on well and after a couple of encounters he asked me whether I would be interested in doing a test shoot. We were both assisting full time and wanted to try and do something of our own. It was a very exciting moment!
Do you have a piece of advise for someone who aspires a career as a stylist?
Be curious, patient, study your craft and assist- as long as possible. I think there is a distinct difference between a habilleuse (dresser) and a stylist. It requires no great skill to put a total look on a model, whereas, to create a style or to convey a message takes some knowledge and experience, which can only come from study and observation. After my graduation I assisted various stylists for a total of four years and each one of them taught me something different. Patience is also really important as things do not happen over night, they happen over time and each experience leads you to the next step. One has to be prepared to work really hard and frequently for no money- editorials are essential to a stylist but are rarely paid and usually end up costing money! However, if one is passionate, determined and hard working success generally follows.
You’re originally from London but work and live in Paris now. How important is the surrounding (people, language, culture etc.) for your creativity?
I think that the surrounding is fairly important. It is true that I am based in Paris but I am lucky enough to frequently travel which is great not only to nourish me creatively but also to enable me to come back to Paris and see things with a fresh set of eyes. Paris is not like London, London is constantly changing, everybody is international and eccentricity is in the air. Where as Paris has more traditional values and is more set in it’s ways- in the 11 years that I have lived here not that much has changed, which is one of the reasons why I love Paris. I think that constantly changing surroundings nourishes me personally but I could also do this by picking up a book I would not normally read or seeing an unconventional film-I suppose it’s all about breaking routine.
Publication: Fable, Photography: Susie Q & Léo Siboni
Publication: Please, Photography: Jen Carey
You say you see styling „as a way to convey a story or an idea“. What are the ingredients you need to create a great story?
Research-without a doubt. The basis to every story before even starting to think about which designers to pull is masses of research- films, books, photos and exhibitions in order to fine-tune the idea. Once I have completed the research process I will select the elements that I consider most relevant in order to create a mood board. This mood board then becomes the basis of the story. Once the idea is set the team is crucial. Along with the photographer we will undertake the casting to find the right girl and choose the right hair and make up team all of whom are instrumental in creating the desired idea. The choice of styling is also a key component of the story however; all of these elements can only come together after the conception of the mood board.
What can be the biggest distraction or obstacle to overcome during the creative process?
It is sometimes hard to try and convey a particular idea. I often have a really clear picture in my mind and it is hard to try and find the images in order explain this idea to the photographer/client, especially when what you want to do has not been done before so there is no existing example of what you envision. Another obstacle is the demise of time and money. Today clients seem to want more in less time with less money. Corners are constantly being cut and this does affect the quality of the end result.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I am working on an online editorial of Italian Vogue and defining my workshops for L’IFM (Institut Français de la Mode) where I teach.