Have you ever wondered how your favourite celebrity managed to have killer style, every time?
Two words: their stylist. While often preferring to fly under the radar, Australia's top stylists are among some of the hardest working folk in the industry. If they're not prepping for an editorial shoot, they're frantically pulling looks together for runways. Without them, those so-called A listers would look pretty much like everyone else.
Master of the game
If you think a stylist's job is relatively cruisy – elusive even – Jeff Lack warns would-be fashion folk to think again. From curating editorial looks to celebrity fittings, Lack clocks in just as many hours as a doctor or lawyer would, insisting that precise planning is the key to a successful stylist.
'I will allocate a full day in preparation for a half day shoot. It's all in the preparation. As I produce and creatively direct most of my shoots, it's a real juggling act to bring all the elements together,' he notes.
From Lewis Hamilton to Jamie Oliver, Lack knows better than anyone that a celebrity doesn't just throw on any outfit they fancy and face the cameras. His creative vision and ability to capture and often enhance one's personality via a carefully curated look has earnt him the trust of clients across the world.
So what's the best part of the gig then?
'Results for sure. Whether it's a private or celebrity client's response to your selection, or seeing your work in print, it's definitely the end result that brings the most satisfaction,' Lack reflects.
Perceiving a need for a learning experience within the industry tailored to everyone from retailers, to graduates and content creators, Lack is conducting a Masterclass offering much needed insight into the 'business of style'; the first of its kind in Australia.
'The class covers how to market and position your personal brand, where the money is in the industry, and which category of styling suits you best based on your skills, and how to build your network,' he says.
An editorial eye
Stylist and creative director Monique Moynihan notes that editorial projects really allow a stylist to showcase their creativity, which can be a refreshing change from the stress of having to please commercial clients.
Having styled the likes of music prodigies Troye Sivan and Moses Sumney, Moynihan accommodates both a creative and commercial vision in an effortlessly-cool outcome, which can often be difficult to negotiate.
'Celebrities can be challenging as they're often very self-conscious. Their management always have tight reign on what they should be seen in and how it should be perceived - which is often contradictory to the celebrity's actual requests – so it can be hard to find that balance,' she shares.
Handle the heat
With an eye for fine art and visual merchandising, Kate Gaskin is another unique storyteller at the top of the styling game. She too balances celebrity and editorial clients – including dressing AFL champion Dustin Martin for this very publication – and has worked on major campaigns with Myer, Ksubi and Ben Simmons for Nike.
While social media has played a significant role in changing the landscape of celebrity styling, Gaskin shares that the reality isn't quite as flash as many people think.
'It certainly aint glamorous! Most of the time I'm running around like a headless chook in jeans and trainers, lugging boxes and suitcases in and out of cars and studios, working crazy hours and often quite delirious whilst doing so!'
...or get out of the kitchen
Needless to say, if you can't handle the heat, this is not the career for you. Dale McKie dressed 12 people at last year's ARIA Awards, including artists Peking Duk, Jai Waetford, Isaiah Firebrace and Cyrus. Despite preparing for months in the lead up to the event, not everything went quite according to plan.
'…I had all the talent's clothes that had been fitted and altered in the office, waiting for the big day. Overnight Sydney had one of the biggest storms ever and in the morning, I arrived to see the office had flooded…the whole place was under water,' McKie recalls.
Long story short, majority of the looks survived (thanks to some hardcore hairdryers). But one can only ponder the responsibility of having one A-list celebrity's entire red carpet image (and accompanying ego and emotional wellbeing) in their hands, let alone 12. Currently working as Guy Sebastian's stylist on The Voice, McKie notes that by the end of filming, he will have planned and sourced over 45 outfits for him, many of which feature custom-made, one-off pieces.
As they say, nothing comes without hard work.