Interview: Courtney Smith, Celebrity Fashion Stylist
Interview: Lucy Dixon
Courtney Smith is one of the most high-in-demand stylists around, making waves all across the international fashion scene, with her ambitious and exciting approach to her work. She has already cemented her name in the industry as one of the Top 20 fashion stylists in the ‘Contemporary fashion stylists’ book, at the age of just 25, and by the age of 21 she had already worked with the likes of Kelly Rowland and Sarah Harding. Working as a stylist, columnist and Fashion TV presenter, Courtney is most definitely an extraordinary fashion talent in her own right, and we caught up her to talk fashion, Autumn/Winter must-haves, and Miley Cyrus.
Could you tell us a little about what got you interested in pursuing a career in fashion, and What or Who inspired you?
My mum will tell you I was always into fashion – in fact she came home to find I had cut up half her wardrobe to make myself a fashion show once. Luckily for me she encouraged my creative side. I grew up drawing outfits, tearing pages out of magazines, expressing myself with weird clothes (sometimes I wish my mum hadn’t let me be quite SO creative). It was a natural progression that I went into fashion; I don’t even think I even considered a different path.
Do you have a favourite project to date?
That’s a tough one to decide; I love all the shoots and projects I have worked on for different reasons. I did do a shoot week in Italy a few months ago which was a bit of a mission and the results were incredible so I am very proud of that; it was 3 shoots in 5 days across Lake Como, Amalfi Coast and Venice so lugging all the clothes across the country alone was challenging to say the least. But it’s usually the hardest jobs that end up being the most rewarding.
What would you say is your signature style?
My signature style I have been told is a ‘subtle seventies bohemian rocker’ …not my words!!! In terms of how I dress it constantly changes and I am definitely inspired by people watching, blogs, the current trends… but I know how I put an outfit together usually tends to have an element of undone big hair, too many rings and vintage jewellery with something leather so I can understand why I would be described that way. Besides I do LOVE the seventies.
Do you have any pieces in your wardrobe that you just couldn’t imagine life without?
I have a vintage kimono from a little place in LA – it’s silk with ruffles and covered in leopard print, it’s pretty out there and too delicate to wear often but I am completely obsessed with it. I also have a bunch of gold rings and a charm bracelet that belonged to my mum that I wear everyday.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I just adore shopping in Paris, there are a few little streets with the most incredible vintage and jewellery stores. It’s like heaven. I also love New York, the boutiques in Meatpacking District and Soho are insane. My hometown Dublin has an area in the city known as The Creative Quarter and it’s a few streets full of vintage stores, designer boutiques and young irish designers which is where my usual shopping haunts are when I am home. I am also a devil for online shopping – ASOS, NET-A-PORTER and matchesfashion.com are my weakness when I am stuck in an airport is when I am lethal with a credit card and an account with those stores.
If you could trade wardrobes with anyone at all, who would it be?
Super stylist Rachel Zoe, in a heartbeat. For obvious reasons!
If you had the opportunity to style anyone in the world, who would it be?
Miley Cyrus, I think she has huge potential – shes a gorgeous looking girl and she is obviously trying to make her mark on the media and industry but I think her style direction (and creative direction) is all wrong. There is a way to do the WOW factor, punk style and be unique and keep people talking in the right way. Call me Miley!
What would you say are the biggest challenges when styling?
It depends, there are so many different challenges depending on the job at hand. When styling for commercial clients you really have to keep their customer and brand ethos in mind but you still want to put your stamp on the shoot and steer them in a new direction. When styling editorials you need to make sure you are doing something creative and new and different but still keeping the reader and editor happy. For fashion shows there is nothing worse than something long and boring, I need to create a visual treat…something snappy and fun that the FROW will still be talking about a week later.
What does everyone need in their wardrobe this Autumn/Winter?
A killer coat – it seems obvious, but it often tends to be the last thing people think of as they grab their coat running out the door. For the most part the coat is the first thing we see, therefore the first impression you make on someone… there is no point hiding an amazing well thought out outfit underneath a boring coat. This season there are no excuses as every high street and designer brand have out a lot of statement appeal into their coats, from textures, to colours, to shapes and print… you will definitely find one you love.
Which trend from Fashion Week are you most looking forward to wearing come Spring/ Summer ’14?
The return of the seventies. I could NOT be happier. Topshop Unique showcased amazing silk backless wide legged jumpsuits and silk print maxi dresses, DAKS had headscarves and oversized sunglasses, Valentino had fringed suede and heavy embroidery… the list is endless.
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