Stylists, makeup artists and hairstylists are the unsung heroes of the fashion world. The only time they seem to get noticed is when something is wrong (for example, the hair clip left in the jacket sleeve of the model in the big Ralph Lauren campaign - just how many eyes did that advertisement had to pass before going to print?). When an image is completely brought together and all the elements involve weave into a symbiotic masterpiece, you notice the ENTIRE image. When something is off (any where), the glaring faux-pas jump out at you like a screaming sprite waiting to be notice.
I am fortunate enough to have worked with Mr. Johnson on many of my shoots and each and every time he has raised the bar. With a keen eye to detail, the understanding of colors and textures right down to the architectural line of the garment, he labors over each and every style choice, and when the decision is made, and the styling is done, you realized that Mr. Johnson has just Butched up the hell out of your photoshoot.
How long have you been doing styling?
About two and a half years.
Really? From the looks of it, you've seem to be a veteran at this. Why does it appear so?
Growing up I hated going outside and playing with the other kids, if given the choice I'd stay inside and watch television. Especially the old hollywood classics where everyone wore amazing clothes. In my early teens I became addicted to fashion magazines. Like most teens throughout history you had a choice, look like the herd or stick out like a sore thumb and deal with the consequences. I chose the the latter. So to answer the question, I believe that I became conscience of what the clothes should "feel" like in the final image.
What are some of the mistakes do you see in fashion today?
A mistaken belief that in order to have style you have to be rail thin.
If given the choice to work with ANY designer alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Cristobal Balenciaga. For me hands down probably one of the more influential couturiers in fashion history. His innovative style and cut of fabric, gave the world the balloon dress, the cocoon coat and the high waisted baby doll dress; which stood in sharp contrast to the breezy lightness of his fellow designers of the time. I mean can you imagine working with a designer who redefined the silhouette of women's wear. A woman can be chic in Balenciaga no matter what her body shape was.
How did you get into styling?
One of my best friends who was a budding photographer at the time needed an assistant on a shoot in prospect park. I thought that I was there to hold a reflector and do the running around that needed to be done. I jump in the jeep to take us to the park where I met the model and another photographer and then I'm introduced as "and this is Butch our STYLIST" and the rest is........
What do you look for when you look at a finely styled photograph?
When it's someone else's work, the first thing I think is how do I feel about what I'm seeing. Do I want to be this person wearing the clothes or would I just want to run away and hide.
Name some 5 of your favorite stylists and why?
- Paul Cavaco- Humble roots New Yorker that went where style took him and did well by it.
- Carine Roitfeld- Very chic, completely intuitive.
- Grace Coddington. A brilliant, skilled perfectionist
- Tonne Goodman. Very simple esthetic
- Joe Zee. He's the reason why we loved W as a monthly publication
Q. If you could work with any photographer alive or dead who would it be?
Dead Cecil Beaton, alive Steven Meisel.
Complete this phrase. Style is.....
Style is stepping away from the herd in ones own unique way.
Melissa Baker/George Favios: It was a great glamourous shot. One of those images that looked better in reality than it does in your mind. Thank you to Celestino (www.celestinocouture.com) for the gown and Adha Zelma (www.adhazelma.com) for the jewelry.
Jazzma Hendricks: This shot made me come outside my "dad" zone. She came out of the dressing room and the dress barely covered her ass. The photographer came up to me and said "are you out of your mind, she looks HOT! We are shooting this!" The rest is history.
Catherine Frances Scott: Jewelry. We were inspired by a Christina Aguilera photo (Vincent Peters for Stephen Webster jewelry) and wanted to see how close we can get with our own spin. I think we did damn good.
Jon Hylton: Jon Hylton was a surprise shoot that happened summer of '08. This model from Calgary needed some new photos. He had some clothes. I had some clothes. We made some magic.
Sarah Blessing: When everything wrong goes right. I prepped for this shoot weeks in advance. Clothes were brought for a size two. She walked in a size six. We were also planning on shooting in front of Brooklyn Museum, but it was raining heavily that day. Thank goodness I am an overshopper and was able to pull off several looks to create a story and Dallas Logan (photographer) came up with the ingenious plan of using a old working warehouse space we once based out of. This was the result of that shoot (the guy was an actual worker who joined the shot) and what she brought to the shoot was stellar. Sarah was a really good model.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org