Gayanée Pierre, Stylist
1. What is a fashion professional?
There are many and diverse professions in the fashion world. One of the most remarkable fashion experts was YVES SAINT LAURENT, who not only created Style and garments, but was also an haute couture creative genius. When we think of fashion, we all think of the “fashion designer” who we imagine in his atelier surrounded by fabrics, sketches and women with pins in their mouths crouched over sewing machines.
The designer is a true artist. He is a creator, an illustrator, and a tailor at the same time. He explains to the seamstress how the garment that he has imagined should be put together. He builds the collections and presents them to his clients at fashion shows. He is neither dresser nor costume designer but more of an orchestra conductor. He is the soul of each garment.
In the fashion world, there are also those who create not garments but an ambiance around the styles. CARINE ROITFELD, former editor in chief of Vogue Magazine France, is such a fashion professional. Each of her photo shoots was a storytelling session, likened to a director producing a film. She elevated the garments to the level of artistic creations.
The fashion professional is also the one who brings the looks created on the fashion runways to the public. This is the person who works behind the scenes to pull together choice pieces worn by models, presenting the themes and the must-haves of each season. These are the fashion editors and photo stylists whose layouts we see in popular fashion magazines.
Last but by no means least, are the celebrity stylists or personal stylists who dress those in the limelight such as LUPITA NYONG’O, having her wear a marvelous light blue Prada dress to the 2014 Oscars or the sublime AÏSSA MAÏGA all in white Elie Saab at Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
Personal stylists also work with political personalities. MICHELLE OBAMA’s elegance is noteworthy. In France, the allure of the Culture and Communication Minister, FLEUR PELLERIN, is a perfect illustration of Parisian chic.
Whether creator of garments or creator of images, you can see that those who work in the fashion world are professionals inspired by their times and with a sole goal in mind, to make us more and more beautiful.
2. How would you define your profession, personal stylist?
My profession falls perfectly into the “Fashion professionals” category. Personal, because I work closely with my clients, whether celebrities or neighbors. My goal is to bring out through fashion, what they feel deep down inside and the image they want to present on the outside. Harmony between the interior and the exterior is essential to me and represents one of the foundations of my approach to fashion.
In the absolute, I dress men and women for their everyday lives or for career special moments. There is no common denominator in my clientele. They come from many and varied professions and cultural backgrounds and call upon my expertise for a lot of different reasons. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need a stylist because they are not well-dressed.
I work with business people, decision makers, journalists, professors, those who represent others and for whom the stakes are relatively high when it comes to their image. My services are time savers for them.
There are also those who are living momentous times either due to a desired change or because they must use the professional services of a stylist’s sharp yet watchful eye. My clients are also very fashion savvy and are often looking for exclusivity, THE Parisian piece that will set them apart from others.
Among my clients are celebrities who allow me to take part in their increasingly more enriching creative journeys. I also work with magazines, styling photo shoots and picking this summer’s top 10 must-have dresses
3. Doesn’t your profession bully clients into accepting a style that they may not want or like?
As I said earlier, harmony is crucial. Because of that, I don’t especially care for the popular phenomenon of “make-overs.” Basically, I’m an epicurean, a Parisian who loves to take my time over a cup of coffee; the time to sit and talk and get to really know one another. Our appearance is important. I certainly wouldn’t say otherwise. But it’s also the fruit of a host of things beyond a piece of clothing. Any of us can buy a black dress or a trendy suit, neither will make us a stylish person.
What gives us style is our capacity to show our true selves or to only show that part of ourselves we wish to be seen. In other words, take the power. Master the codes while remaining 100% cool. To do this, my clients and I get to know each other by talking about diverse subjects other than fashion: literature, art, travel, music, movies. From there, my role is to provide the keys. I possess the keys because my profession brings me to boutiques, showrooms, fashion shows and to trend-setting offices. There’s a common thread that I communicate to all my clients, the idea of class. I don’t make any cheap concessions.
4. Finally, isn’t hiring a personal stylist a superficial luxury?
Let’s take things one at a time. Luxury should be affordable. It’s a bias. We should all be able to be chic and well-dressed. If you are asking if a stylist’s services are expensive, I’ll say that it is an excellent investment. I’ll help you avoid buying four pieces that will clutter your closet because you don’t know how to wear them. This has happened to all of us. On the other hand, the jacket we would choose together will not only be a great value, it will fit you perfectly and will last you a long time. Furthermore, fashion comes in many prices and we can dress according to our means. I don’t only work with haute couture fashion houses. Sometimes the accessory that will shake up a wardrobe can be found at Zara.
Talking about superficiality? We must admit that fashion plays a determinant role in today’s society. Are our minds so limited as to categorize a woman who is interested in fashion as a mindless bimbo? A man who wants to be elegant as a narcissistic dandy?
5. Did you attend school to become a stylist?
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved fashion. When I was young, I spent hours in front of images of clothing in books I had been given. I also honed my tastes through painters that fascinated me such as MATISSE, DEGAS, RENOIR, LAURENCIN, especially when they presented articles of clothing from their eras in their paintings.
I had forgotten about illustrators such as KIRAZ and his famous Parisians and MUCHA’s Art Nouveau or TAMARA DE LEMPICKA and her dramatic and sensual women.
But my family didn’t consider fashion to be a serious profession. So I studied languages and economy before deciding to get a specialized education at the well-known Paris fashion school, ESMOD and make a career of fashion. I must say, my formal studies, my extensive travel and experience gained in other areas have all contributed to my profile. These and other elements are what enrich the profession and allow talented people from varied background to become stylists.
6. While we have you, what are your expert picks for the summer?
Summer is going to be crazy! We’ll be looking at all the summer trends these next weeks on Rokmyworld.
There is so much inspiration that we feel our favorite designers blowing a real breeze of freedom. Could it be a reaction to the difficult year we’ve been through? Fashion often reacts to world incidents, taking the contre-pied plays its cathartic role. Get ready for color, Ladies and Gentlemen, you too. No talk of powdery, subdued colors – we’ll get to them in September. I’m talking about theatrical reds, ocean blues, sunny yellows and oranges that blow up anything in its path!
Mixing African and western prints, creates an arty urban look. Hippies in spirit, they are bringing back Flower Power.