24 posts tagged "Adam Kimmel"
Poolside with Diddy? Check. Naked with Chloë Sevigny? Check. On stage with Joss Stone? Check. During his 20-year career as a celebrity photographer for the likes of GQ, W, and Vogue, Michael Thompson has gained access to some of the most legendary names in Hollywood and the music industry, from Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to Sting and Britney Spears. The proof’s in his new book, Portraits.
Pride of place—the cover—goes to the star Thompson remembered most fondly out of all the celebrities he’s worked with: Diddy. “He arrived on set at a giant mansion in Malibu, with the whole entourage and it was just a crazy day,” Thompson told Style.com at Bar Basque last night, where he celebrated the book with friends, including Leelee Sobieski and Adam Kimmel (above, with Thompson), Glenn O’Brien, Marcus Wainwright, David Neville, and Gucci Westman. “He always comes to the set with an idea in mind and this time, it was sort of Great Gatsby, done in a P. Diddy way.”
That’s the Diddy way. The Thompson way? “I try to create a relaxed atmosphere during hair and makeup, so it doesn’t feel like going to the dentist to get photos done,” the photographer revealed. “I wanted them to lose themselves in the process.” There’s one in particular he’s hoping will undergo that process soon: Robert De Niro. “If he would open himself up to a great still session, it would be wonderful,” Thompson said with a smile.
Designers design. Photographers photograph. Models model. That much—in broad strokes, at least—is clear. But what about the artists, technicians, and industry insiders, often unpublicized and underappreciated, who help to get clothes and accessories made and shown? Call them Behind-the-Scenesters: people who shape our experience of fashion but never take a bow on the catwalk or strike a pose for the camera. Without them—from patternmakers to production designers—the show wouldn’t go on. And in our recurring series, Style.com sits down with a few of these pros to find out, basically, what they do.
“Style,” as Jean Cocteau said, “is a simple way of saying complicated things.” And so it might be said that stylist Mel Ottenberg’s job is to find that simple way of saying something complicated. A button undone, a cuff rolled just so, the particular way a particular belt is slung over a particular dress: A good stylist makes these kinds of choices seem inevitable, and uses them to impart heaps of information about fashion, about the vibe on the street and the mood of the nation, and about how to look, now. “You’re kind of a medium,” explains Ottenberg, who is, among many other gigs, the fashion editor for Purple and the stylist for Adam Kimmel and Opening Ceremony (below). “You’re doing your own appropriation of this ‘thing,’ that’s how you bring the style into it. That’s hard to talk about, and it’s pretty much subliminal,” he adds. “I don’t want the style to be noticed, per se. I just want the kid who’s reading the magazine to think, wow, that looks great.” Here, Ottenberg talks to Style.com about his big break(s), his atypical days, and how a little fear can be a very good thing.
So, Mel: In one sentence, what do you do?
Well, on a good day, I’m the glue that holds everything together. Let’s say I’m on a shoot: I get the hair and the makeup going, I get the clothes together, looking right, and I’m there the whole way working with the photographer and the model. There’s a ton of collaboration involved. But fundamentally, I’m there to help make it work. Keep things going, keep things on point.
How did you get into styling?
Growing up, I was super, super-obsessed with fashion. I’d pick up copies of Vogue and Interview and pore over every word. And I started going to clubs at a young age, too, so I began dressing up and seeing fashion and glamour from that angle. Then, after I graduated from RISD, I moved to New York City and started working for some designers. The thing was, as much as I loved design and respected the process of putting a collection together, I didn’t like being hunkered down creating one thing for six months. And I tended to see images more than clothing, if that makes sense. But I wasn’t sure what to do with that until, completely by chance, I was asked to style a friend for The Face.