This past February I had the pleasure of working with one of my favorite menswear designers, Antonio Azzuolo, styling his Fall Winter 2011 presentation at NYC Fashion Week. Antonio has been gracious enough to allow me to share a photographic documentation of our working process for the presentation. Rather than writing a long description about the process, as I have for this column in the past, I thought it would be cool to show you guys the pictures we take each step of the way instead. This way you can begin to see how the process takes shape in the stylist/designer working relationship.
The looks process is the first step of putting the show together. It is different from fittings because the stylist is trying the outfits on one model, instead of various models.The looks model starts to disappear, and a stylist can just see the clothes.
Booking a looks model that fits every possible silhouette in the collection is key. For example, Antonio’s collection is cut very small, so I have to find a skinnier, lanky guy that is not too tall. I also like to use a looks model that I find inspiring, because a stylist is going to be staring at and hanging out with him/her for a couple of days, all day. In some instances, the stylist and designer are trying the sample clothing and accessories on a model for the first time. So they are examining fit and beginning to form the philosophies and references for how they want the show to be put together.
During looks, I try everything, every possible imaginable combination and accessories idea, so I can begin to see what works and what doesn’t work–what looks new and fresh to me and what looks stale. I like to “do” looks for at least two days, but three days to five days is optimal.
Having five days to just try on clothes really allows a stylist to create a strong philosophy and vision for the collection. If the designer has a budget, it is great to rent a big studio to do looks in, because a blank space like a white studio allows the stylist to really just see the clothes and focus, without the clutter of a design studio. When I was working with Antonio, we worked out of his apartment in the Lower East Side. At the end of the day, a focused stylist can work on looks in any environment.