Kate Young lives a bit of a charmed life. The stylist--who does everything from dressing Natalie Portman for the red carpet to envisioning editorials for Lula--also manages to find time to work on fun design projects, including her recent collaboration with Cardigan's Lynne Hiriak. The friends met while they were both working for Derek Lam (Young styling, Hiriak designing) and have finally teamed up on another project. The results include a perfect cropped sweatshirt and sweatpants, as well as the most adorable little kiddie onesie. (Get yours here.)
Jealous, much? Well, Young may have your dream job, but she's worked her you-know-what off for it. The Brooklyn-based mom recently took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to chat with us about Cardigan, Natalie, and working for Anna Wintour. We heart her even more now.
Fashionista: First off, let's talk about the collaboration with Cardigan. How did it come about? Kate Young: Lynne and I have been friends since our days at Derek Lam. I am a huge fan of Cardigan and always hung around her office trying to get some sweaters. I started asking her to make custom sweaters that I wanted to wear. Basically, we decided to make the sweater and a couple of other things to go with it and call it a collaboration. Have you ever designed before this, and would you ever consider launching your own collection? I've had a few design gigs before this one--jewelry with Rogan for his store, lingerie in japan, shoes with Natalie Portman for Te Casan. It feels really natural--just an extension of styling. I haven't given a lot of thought to a "collection." In the past things have just sort of happened organically.... So I wouldn't say never but there's nothing planned right now. What were some experiences early in your career that have shaped your trajectory? I've been really lucky to be in the right place at the right time and meet the right people when I needed them. I work really hard and I'm super ambitious, but I think I've also had some serious blessings in my life and career.
My first real job was as Anna Wintour's assistant. I got to see what everyone's role was at a magazine--it was amazing. While I was working there, I realized that I wanted to be a stylist and not a fashion writer.
There are very few stylists who do both red carpet and editorial--especially not at your level. (Meaning: you mostly work with high fashion publications.) How do you keep the balance? Would you ever consider dropping one for the other? I love that my career isn't just about one thing. Working with actresses is great--I love a good red carpet moment. It's a pleasure getting to know women who are so incredibly talented, beautiful, and strong.
As for styling editorial, I love the freedom that it provides--to just dream and make pictures that make you yearn for the experiences that you see on the page.
I also love consulting. Working with creative people really excites me. My collaborations behind the scenes with designers are some of the most creatively fulfilling moments of my life. I think that I'm better at each aspect of my job because of the others.
A big part of a top stylist's job is commercial work. How do you approach it compared to editorial? Not every commercial job is exciting. When I catch myself getting bored or uninspired, I try to push myself to think of ways to improve it. It's not always possible of course--but if I do my very best, I'll always feel satisfied at the end of the day.
Your public profile has risen over the past six months or so because you dress Natalie Portman for red carpet events. How does that feel? Are you getting more offers, good or bad? I feel a little awkward answering this question--ha! I've been dressing actresses and working this hard for a long time. The public just seems to care about it more now and I can understand why. It's a little exciting and very flattering. My mom is proud! Otherwise things seem pretty much the same.
Do you have any cool projects coming up that you can share with us? I've been taking a little time off and hanging out with my kids! I shot a Dior ad campaign with Mert & Marcus and an InStyle cover that should be coming out soon. Right now I'm working on some stories for Lula and Numero Tokyo for next season.
Cardigan by Kate Young is available at CardiganNewYork.com.