122 posts tagged "Versace"
Dressing for Fame: Versace, J.Lo, RiRi Gone Rogue, and More Career Tidbits from Stylists Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi-------
If celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.
Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn
It takes quite the fashion force to dress J.Lo for the stage, Rachel McAdams for the Cannes red carpet, and Pharrell for his many (sartorially daring) public outings, but the powerhouse styling duo of Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi have proved they’re nothing if not up to the task. Whether they’re commissioning original pieces to bring an idea to life, going back to their roots on music video sets, or forging relationships with up-and-coming talent, their scene-stealing tastes draw a uniquely diverse client mix that includes the abovementioned stars and beyond. Here, the duo talks exclusively to Style.com about going rogue with RiRi (they worked with the songstress for four years), being equal-opportunity stylists, and why women are more complex to style than men.
How did you both begin styling?
Rob Zangardi: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated with a fashion merchandising degree from Ohio University. After college, my twin brother was working in NYC as a casting director, casting the audience for the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards. He knew I would love it, so I stood in the pit to watch the show and ended up meeting a stylist who worked at MTV. I had no idea what a stylist was until then, but it sounded like my dream job. Because of her, I ended up getting hired at MTV to help with their New Year’s Eve show, which turned into a full-time job—right place, right time. And the rest is history.
Mariel Haenn: I was in school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for fashion design and I met someone who introduced me to the music video world. I started as a seamstress on videos, and then was assistant-styling while still in college. Once I graduated, I was fortunate enough to keep getting called to assist, but in the back of my mind, I was focusing on working at a design studio. I considered styling my means of making a living until I found the job I really wanted. Cut to 13 years later, turns out this is the job I wanted.
What’s the most memorable moment you’ve created thus far?
RZ: Rachel McAdams in the red Marchesa at the Cannes Film Festival was pretty memorable. She just looked like a movie star—you couldn’t take your eyes off of her. That train added the perfect amount of glamour and drama but didn’t overpower the woman wearing it. It was definitely a moment.
MH: Rihanna in the Dolce & Gabbana tux at the  Met Gala. That was a special moment because we went completely rogue. It was a Marc Jacobs year and we got a call 30 minutes prior that so-and-so was wearing the same boots we’d planned on putting Ri in. So last minute, we went for plan B, and plan B ended up being this complete outlaw moment for both Rihanna and in Met history. It was something special.
RZ: Working with Versace to re-create Jennifer Lopez’s iconic Grammys dress for her most recent performances was also huge. It was pretty unbelievable to see her in the print that started it all.
How do you find working in New York different from working in L.A.?
MH: Styling-wise, New York tends to be much more avant-garde and fashion-forward. L.A. is a bit more risk averse and tends to focus on glamour more so than experimentation. There’s also a different level of polish. In L.A., you never want to look like you’re trying too hard—it’s almost as if people put even more effort into looking “effortless” than anything else—while in New York, there’s a broader range in dressing up and down.
RZ: It might sound cliché, but New York’s pace and tone also feels a lot quicker and has this undeniable sense of purpose. The way people walk in New York is representative of how they are. There’s a bigger hustle. It feels more natural for us, honestly, since we are always on the move and juggling multiple projects. The collaborations in L.A. tend to also be more commercial. New York is a greater creative playground. We get to be more forward-thinking and innovative.
What’s your favorite event to dress clients for and why?
RZ: Working on tours and music videos is definitely something we both really enjoy because there is more storytelling involved. There’s an entire arc that goes beyond a broad theme, so to speak. The looks have to work together with different elements to communicate so much. It’s not simply a supplement or continuation of the story, it’s a significant part of it.
MH: Collaborating with designers on custom pieces is a big thrill for us, too. Red carpet is fun, but there’s something to be said for bringing an idea to life rather than plucking from what already exists. A great example is having had the honor of working with Versace for Jen [Lopez]‘s stage looks in NYC. The experience itself was pretty surreal and the end result was nothing short of exceptional.
How do you manage to juggle multiple clients with multiple obligations and aesthetics all at once?
RZ: This is where it’s great to have two people rather than one. We like to joke that we are carbon copies of each other, so it’s like being in two places at once.
MH: The reason we started working together to begin with is because Rob was the only one I trusted to hand my clients over to if I wasn’t available for a job. The partnership was very organic. In terms of balancing the different aesthetics, you sort of train your mind to understand each client and their personality. There’s a lot of relationship-building there. After that, it’s almost impossible to mix aesthetics because you associate the person with the look so instantly.
How do you think working as a pair strengthens your styling? What has this relationship been like?
RZ: Our taste is practically the same, yet we complement each other well in terms of workflow and personality. The relationship is like an old married couple meets brother and sister, if that makes sense.
MH: For lack of a better phrase, two heads are truly better than one. It’s great to have someone else to bounce ideas off of, especially when in a more risk-taking scenario. It’s also great to have someone challenge you or ask the right questions when you’re dead set that something might look great but it could actually be better.
How do you balance dressing clients in looks by emerging designers as well as clothes by respected, longstanding favorites?
RZ: We try to be “equal opportunity” stylists and simply pull what we think will work best for the client in that particular scenario, despite notoriety. The designers we have relationships with always end up in that mix because we sincerely admire their work. That relationship is built from using their pieces over and over as opposed to an obligation.
MH: Plus, we know which clients love which designers and will want to try their pieces no matter what, like Jen with Zuhair Murad, for example.
Do you approach styling men and women differently?
MH: Men usually go one of two ways: very classic or completely modern. You have someone like Will Smith, who is just dapper Old Hollywood movie star head to toe, and then on the flip side, somebody like Pharrell, who loves to play with fashion and sees it as an extension of his art. Styling women has a much greater spectrum, and there are many more shades of gray. It’s equally important to understand the client’s personality and experiences, regardless of gender, and women, by nature, tend to have more complexity. This reflects in how many different ways you can go with a look.
What do you think of the “stylist as celebrity” trend?
RZ: In a more open, share-friendly, social-media-driven world, anyone can be a “celebrity” for their craft or, in some cases, their lifestyle. The definition of celebrity has shifted in that regard. From a creative standpoint, that’s a great thing, because regardless of what you do, you can be found and your work can be followed, admired, and act as inspiration for somebody else. This creates an elevated benchmark for everybody and their work, and in turn, much more interesting, provocative, and creative end products.
Anthony Vaccarello doesn’t fear the nipple. Or any other body part, for that matter. The 31-year-old Italian-Belgian designer has earned a bold reputation for his vampy, va-va-voom aesthetic and daring—sometimes shocking—cutouts. His career has been on the rise following his 2011 ANDAM win, but everyone really started paying attention to the hot young talent after his friend Anja Rubik walked the 2012 Met Gala red carpet in a dangerously high-slit white gown that showcased her lanky gams and right hip. Surely that mega moment helped catch the eye of Donatella Versace, who’s tapped Vaccarello for what may very well be the most perfect Versus collaboration yet. And as if the Versace team-up, which will debut in New York later this year, weren’t enough, Vaccarello has today released his debut Inez & Vinoodh-lensed advertising campaign. Starring Rubik, the sharp ads debut exclusively here. Last week, Vaccarello rang us from Paris to discuss the Fall ’14 campaign, Versus Versace, and why Instagram’s nipple-phobia is utterly absurd.
Congratulations on your first campaign! Can you tell me about the concept behind the imagery?
The concept came from the Fall collection, which was inspired by Tony Viramontes. We wanted a raw image and to do something very dynamic that looked like a sketch. It was a dream for me that Inez & Vinoodh shot it. I never thought I would be able to work with them. I was talking to Anja [Rubik], and she said, “Why don’t you ask Inez & Vinoodh?” She pushed me to try, and they said yes. For me, they are the best because they understand simplicity. The campaign is very sharp but very soft at the same time. We chose red text because I wanted it to look like a gallery poster. And because we had red in the collection.
Why was now the right time to do your first campaign? It’s a big step.
I wanted to control the image of what I’m doing. There were a lot of editorials and stuff like that, but I thought it was important for me to put out the image in my mind that corresponds with the collection—the right image for the collection.
Anja has been somewhat of a poster girl for your brand since its early days. How did you two meet?
We met five years ago through a friend. We started talking straightaway, and she’s really supported me from the beginning. I’m always amazed by the things she does for me. For instance, she introduced me to Inez.
Earlier, you spoke about controlling your image, and arguably the most memorable Anthony Vaccarello image is from the 2012 Met Gala, when Anja wore your hip-baring white gown. What has that moment done for your career?
You know, when I was creating that dress on the mannequin, I didn’t expect all the buzz. But when Anja wore it with her legs and her attitude, it was completely different from what I expected. For me, it was just a simple white dress with a simple slit. It was virginal in a way, and I made it so Anja would feel comfortable. But after that moment, people became aware of what I was doing.
There’s a very fine line between sexy and vulgar. How do you make sure not to cross it?
I think it is a thin line. But a lot of it has to do with the person wearing the clothes. As a designer, you need to know the customer’s limits as far as what they can wear. Even if they love something, it might not be right for their body. Some things can look very chic on one girl and very trashy on another. So really, it’s all about the attitude that a woman gives the dress.
Do you think it’s possible to show too much? Rihanna was basically naked at the CFDAs, and Anja got kicked off Instagram for posting Style.com’s homepage image of her wearing your sheer Fall 2014 top without a bra.
That whole thing with Instagram is ridiculous. On Instagram, you see so many trashy things that are not censored. But if you can see a nipple it’s not allowed? I don’t think that sends a good message about femininity. And especially when you have boobs like Anja, you cannot hide them! I think celebrities like Rihanna or Miley Cyrus are just having fun. And I think that’s fine. Hiding the body and [the recent trend] of putting a woman’s body into all these boxy clothes cancels out the sexuality of women. That’s not a good thing. I like that Rihanna and Miley just do what they want.
You’re half-Belgian, half-Italian, and were born in Brussels. Historically, Belgian designers are quite restrained. So I’m curious, where does all this sexiness come from?
Maybe it comes from my Italian side. I’m never very controlled with my cuts. I think because of my Italian side, I’m more sensual and focus on the body and femininity.
You’ve recently dressed Anja, of course, as well as Gisele Bündchen and a handful of other stars for the red carpet. Is there anyone else you’d like to see in your gowns?
Not really. For me to dress a celebrity, I have to know her. I really need to have a contact, and to know how she feels about clothes. So far, I’ve dressed girls that I really want to work with. I’ve been lucky.
Do you think starlets need to take more risks on the red carpet? If so, who?
Yeah, I think that celebrities are afraid of doing something new and risky. I get very bored seeing them in that cliché prom look or those princess dresses. Maybe it’s a fantasy for women to be princesses. But I think [stars] need to be more risky. I probably shouldn’t say who, but there are a lot. And it’s not necessarily American celebrities. We have actresses in France who should take more risks. Bad taste is everywhere!
Versace recently tapped you to be its next Versus collaborator. How did Versace approach you?
I met Donatella last year. She wanted to meet me because she thought we had similar sensibilities when it comes to femininity. Straightaway, we started to talk like we’ve known each other forever. For me, meeting her was like meeting Madonna in the nineties. She is so cool, so gentle, and so open-minded.
You and Donatella definitely have parallel aesthetics. Is Versace a brand you’ve admired throughout your career?
Versace has inspired me since I was a kid. For me, the ultimate designers have always been Azzedine Alaïa, Helmut Lang, and Gianni Versace. I used to watch Gianni Versace on television. I was always obsessed with the house, its history, all the major photographers and models they worked with. So this collaboration is a dream come true. I know it’s cliché to say that, but I’m so happy with them. And I hope that people will like what I do. There are a lot of expectations, and I’m nervous that people won’t understand it. But it’s good to be stressed like this.
Can you give us any hints about what we can expect from the Versus collection?
It’s a secret! I can only tell you that it’s based on what was iconic for me when I was a kid.
“Finally, we can tell the world!” laughed Nicola Formichetti over the phone this morning. What’s the big news? That he and Diesel dressed Beyoncé, Jay Z, and a bevy of backup dancers for the just-launched On the Run tour, of course. “I haven’t done a tour since Gaga, and that was a couple of years ago, so this is really exciting. Beyoncé just brings it out there. She brings it to another level.”
It all began after Formichetti’s blowout debut runway show for Diesel, which marched down the catwalk in Venice last April. Queen Bey liked what she saw, and asked Formichetti to make her five custom Fall ’14-inspired ensembles for the Bonnie & Clyde-themed tour. But dressing Beyoncé, Formichetti admits, isn’t quite the same as costuming more sartorially eccentric stars like Mme. Gaga or his latest project, Brooke Candy. “With Beyoncé, we wanted to do something real,” explained the designer. “She’s a real woman, a real bombshell, and it was all about showcasing this strong, fierce woman. So we focused on her body, and used super-stretchy denim for [last night's] jumpsuit, which just makes her tits and her ass look even more amazing than they already do.” Indeed, the abovementioned jumpsuit, featuring frayed edges and chain and stud embellishments, does just that. A sketch of the look debuts exclusively here. According to Formichetti, the singer will rotate various Diesel ensembles throughout the four-month tour.
Formichetti, who first worked with Bey when she costarred in Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video back in 2010, said that she and her team were very hands-on. Before the intense week of final fittings, the pop star browsed through the collection with Formichetti and was particularly drawn to a denim, flame-embroidered jacket. “It was basically a direct copy of a piece from the archive, and she was like, ‘OMG! I wore something like this in the nineties for Destiny’s Child!’” he said. As for the musician’s epic style evolution, he offered, “I think she’s just refined her whole look. And I love that she can do both: She can be a cool street girl or a goddess and she’s still Beyoncé.”
Formichetti told us that working with Mrs. Carter was not only a personal coup, but a big moment for Diesel, too. “We’re up onstage next to Tom Ford, Givenchy, and Versace—they’re the other brands that worked on the show—and as a non-high-fashion brand, that’s very exciting. It shows that our work is at that level. Even Beyoncé, when she was picking out pieces she wanted from the Fall collection, was saying, ‘Diesel’s back!’ It was great,” recalled the designer, later hinting that more collaborations might be in his and Beyoncé’s future.
But it’s not just Bey, Jay, and their onstage crew that Formichetti is dressing—Blue Ivy is getting in on the action, too. “We’re making her a little bomber jacket with ‘Blue Ivy’ written on the back.” Apparently, it will match Mom’s Diesel Fall ’14 leather topper, which she had embroidered with the word Texas—her home state.
No one has ever looked as good in their Calvins as Christy Turlington. In this week’s Throwback Thursdays video, Tim Blanks looks back on the supermodel’s trailblazing career and indefinable beauty—and, of course, those sexy Calvin Klein commercials. As one-third of the nineties “trinity” of supermodels (along with Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista), Turlington was, according to Blanks, the “purest beauty” of them all. Was it her slight Latino flavor? Or her versatility, shifting from a Calvin girl one day to a Versace girl the next? More than a decade later, it’s still difficult to put our finger on it. One thing is for sure: Her impact is as strong as ever. You can see the full video here.
“When somebody says the word Versace to you, a very clear image probably forms in your mind,” Tim Blanks says in today’s Throwback Thursday video. He’s right, of course—there’s the gold Medusa logo, the bondage dresses, and the famed seductive vibe. Gianni Versace’s Fall 1992 show was the peak of this “aggressively sexual” aesthetic—he did call it “Miss S&M,” after all—but there was a deeper, less obvious meaning behind the collection. Blanks attests that the clothes are both physically and intellectually provocative; at the time, the AIDS epidemic was in full force, and Versace’s collection called on the audience to consider sexuality in a different way. No one thought the clothes would sell, but to this day they remain some of Versace’s most-coveted pieces. Miley Cyrus wore a vintage Versace ’92 bondage dress last year. How’s that for staying power? Watch the full video here.