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Chicago Magazine July Cover

20 Jun

The Trump Tower Terrace never looked so good thanks to the invite by Chicago Magazine to shoot their July cover.  That night I had one of those deep, overwhelming love patters for the city of Chicago.  It’s a really beautiful place when you’re not chattering your teeth to get out of the cold.  On top of that, apparently there’s more than 165 things to do?!!

Photographer: Jeff Sciortino

Hair and Make Up: Cindy Shute

Wardrobe: Me, Courtney Rust

Digital Tech: Nathaniel Smith

Assistants: Grant Hogdeon

Producer: Amanda Gray

A HUGE thank you to Bloomingdales for graciously allowing me to borrow wardrobe for our hero models (group around main table)!  Jewelry was provided by T0pshop.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Advertisement with Con Poulos

18 Jun

This simple advertisement is a good example of how much work goes into each and every image.  Most people would look at this and think that there were maybe 4 people in the room: the photographer, assistant, boy and dad.  In short, it took an army: 2 food stylists, prop stylist and prop stylist assistant, wardrobe stylist (yours truly), a whole bunch of photo assistants, and of course, New York based photographer Con Poulos.  There were also three little boys on deck in case one of them had a melt down, and sure enough, the #1 choice for the little boy did.  The lesson to be learned is that it often takes a small army to get it right the first time around.

Advil Campaign with Martin Schoeller

6 Jun

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to work with a photographer as admired as Martin Schoeller.  When I got the initial phone call saying I was being considered to work with him, I jumped up and down.  Then, when I got the phone call saying that he wanted to work with me, I did a celebratory sprint in my apartment, which was more like a shuttle run do to its tiny size.  Martin Schoeller?!  Martin Schoeller!!! If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s a little sampling.

And the controversial Time cover:

Here’s the Advil advertisement I did the wardrobe styling on.  I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But there’s no wardrobe?”  Not true my friends.  Behind that hint of a cardigan, blur of a necklace and hip mom glasses, there was a full rack of different tops for the mom, AND the kid’s hands, as well as a table of glasses and accessories. Here’s the thing, you never know where the crop is going to be and how much you will see, and I rather die than let Mr. Schoeller down.  It doesn’t look like much, but that doesn’t bring down my excitement.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who let me be in the same room as him.

Best Soft Good Styling EVER!

15 Feb

And I had no part in it, but I did style the cute girl sitting on the top of this pile of fabric goodness.

If you’re wondering who did this colossal masterpiece of squishy fabric, you’ll have to thank the prop crew for the Land of Nod Spring catalog.  The prop team consists of Dane Holweger from LA, and Chicago locals, Melissa Elias and Justin Vandenberg.  You’d be surprised how to tough it is to stack that many unmade beds and make it look that inviting.

As for the doll sitting at the top, her outfit came from a scary expensive to destroy Anthropologie nightgown, which I cut the sleeves off.  I then sliced my personal polka dot scarf that I got at Walgreens 8 years ago into strips to adorn the sleeves.

Here’s a couple of other highlights of the wardrobe I did for the Land of Nod Spring catalog.

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The Land of Nod

3 Nov

I can’t tell you how elated I am to be part of the amazing crew who creates  The Land of Nod catalog.  To add icing to the cake, the main art direction I got for the wardrobe styling was to “think outside the box.”  This was exciting to me because with kids, you can be a little more weird.  You don’t want things to look perfect, instead it needs to be imaginative.  I approached this project in creating grown up personas for each of the kids and shopped for elements that would be telling of their future personalities.  Grant it, first and foremost, this is a kids home catalog.  We’re not marketing clothes, and we don’t want them to be too over-the-top so that we lose sight of what we’re selling.  The trick is to conquer this while still having the kids look aspirational.  Since I was shopping for a holiday catalog in July, it involved a lot of thrifting, a lot of rummaging through antique stores, and a lot of vintage perusing; mixed with your basics from Target, Nordstrom, etc.  I also aged a lot of clothes to make them look less off the shelf.

Some challenges I encountered were that some kids already had strong opinions on what they would and would not wear.  “What do you mean you don’t want to wear a top hat with a pipe cleaner brim?  But you’re my mini Johnny Deep, via Benny & Joon!”  Unlike a disciplinary mom who can lay down the law and tell her child to be quiet and buck up, I had to compromise with the talent.  They’re still kids, and they’re not going to give you what you want on camera if they feel uncomfortable.  In the end, we made a deal and I’m pretty excited with the outcome.  Here’s a couple of shots I scanned from the catalog.  You can now find the holiday catalog in stores or in your mailbox.

Future PGA golfer who listens to 90’s hip hop artist, Kris Kross.

Vintage shopping graphic designer.

The 70’s inspired poet.

The musician influence by 90’s grunge.

Urban planner.

City shop owner.

Courtney Rust, wardrobe stylist, The Land of Nod.

Horse quandary…

11 Oct

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of horses.  They’ve always kind of freaked me out.  BUT, for whatever reason, I seem to incorporate them in every other part of my life.  This horse bust plaque came off of my kitchen wall (minus the sunglasses), I own a number of horse themed shirts, and have horses plastered all over my refrigerator.

I never claimed I was normal.

Regardless, I love this image I did with Brian Kuhlmann.  It has everything I like about styling with telling a story, having a sense of humor, and a little bit of sass-mastery.

Courtney Rust – Chicago Wardrobe and Prop Stylist

New Image – Chicago Magazine Fall Theatre Preview

29 Sep

This may have been the easiest shoot I’ve ever styled thanks to this handsome chap.  It’s a rarity when the first thing someone puts on fits them like a gem and ends up in the final image.  All of Patrick Andrews  (actor in photograph) clothes were provided by AllSaints Spitalfield new store on Michigan Avenue.  Hair and make up was done by the talented Jenna Baltes (you should hire her).  Lastly, a BIG thanks to the super duper photographer, Brian Kuhlmann for asking me to be part of his team.  Make sure you go see Patrick in the two man show called Red at the Goodman Theater.

Courtney Rust – Chicago wardrobe and prop stylist

Watch this. Bill Cunningham New York

26 Sep

In lieu of keeping on topic of our wise elders that we could learn a thing or three from, Bill Cunningham may just be my new hero after watching Bill Cunningham New York.  I keep finding myself being overly attracted to either kids under the age of 15 or people over the age of 75.  Maybe it’s because they share the same common thread of having less inhibitions on what is important.  The rest of us in the middle are more worried about what everyone else is doing/thinking, which makes the meat a little less easy to taste.  That’s why Bill is my hero.

Bill Cunningham is thought of the original street photographer in having shot the streets of New York since the late 60’s.  “I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses,” Cunningham says in the film. “I’m interested in the clothes.”  He keeps the schedule of a fisherman, rain or shine, blizzard or hurricane, he hits the street with his 35mm Nikon and tirelessly documents fashion on everyday people.  He has a spread that appears weekly in the Sunday New York Times Fashion section, that points out trends before Anna Wintour reports on them in the pages of Vogue.  More than highlighting his prolific body of work, this film really makes you love Bill for what he stands for, which is his independence and ethical stance on what fashion should be.  He often refuses to get paid because he feels then people could then tell him what to do.  He’s one of the few tenants left in the famous Carnegie Hall lofts, with a studio that is no larger than a closet, filled with filing cabinets of negatives and art books.  It’s ironic for a man who’s incredibly passionate about fashion to laugh at ever having the need for a closet.  He only has the clothes on his back and a change of the exact same clothes that he hangs through the handle of a filing drawer.  As for his ethics, he’s never taken a mean photograph to out someone for their fashion mishaps.  He only takes photos of what he loves.  He even left his job documenting fashion for WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), one of the most sought after jobs for any fashion photographer, because they took his images and divided them into a worst and best dressed list.  It devistated him to see his subjects in a negative light.

You can still see Cunningham riding his 28th Schwinn bike (other 27 have been stolen over the years) with his camera around his neck hopping from one charity event to the next fashion event, while dodging taxis from the Upper East Side to Soho.  He’s 82, has no intention to ever stop, because documenting what he sees on the streets is his one love.

“There is no reason to be doom and gloom and think that fashion is finished… The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it, it would be like doing away with civilisation.”

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

“I don’t decide anything,” he says. “I let the street speak to me, and in order for the street to speak to you, you’ve got to stay out there and see what it is.”

In 2008, Cunningham was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres , by the French Ministry of Culture. In his speech, he was overcome with emotion. He told the assembled glitterati: “It’s as true today as it ever was. He who seeks beauty, will find it.”

You should watch this documentary, whether you care about fashion or photography.  We all have a lot to learn from it.  It’s available on DVD or you can stream it on Netflix.

LIFESTYLE with Jacob Hand.

30 Aug

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This was a collaboration I did with photographer Jacob Hand a couple of months ago.  Testing is always interesting because sometimes the pieces come together easy, and other times it takes a little bit of muscle.  Thanks to Kate Levinson Locations, we landed this amazing home, I mean jaw dropping amazing, in Bucktown.  Thanks to Zsofia Otvos with her hair and make up skills, we were able to do the models up right and proud, and thanks to me, I was able to blast the hopes of any color out of the wardrobe.  That was my plan, man.  This test for me, was an attempt to create more “normal” images or LIFESTYLE (all CAPS because I can only yell that word in a mocking tone.)  Since I’m a self-proclaimed color junky, I decided to challenge myself while keeping the overall aesthetic cohesive in only selecting wardrobe void of any hues.  With a couple of models not showing up or being more than an hour late, Jacob Hand, the lighting sorcerer, was able to role with the never surprising testing punches, and create some photography magic.  Lastly, a BIG thanks to Jacob for making it all happen and giving the crew something they can be proud to walk away with.

My afternoon with The Style Rookie

18 Aug

I close my eyes and imagine that I’m fifteen again, hanging out with my best friend, listening to Pixies and Pavement records while talking about our major obsessions of the moment, Jordan Catalano (My So-Called Life) and Courtney Love.  The reality of what was previously stated is true, except it’s no longer 1994 and I’m old, I’m hanging out with someone half my age who knows nothing about me while I know too much about her, and she just happens to be Chicago’s biggest gift to the current fashion world.

I was asked by photographer, Peter Yang (!!!) to accompany him to take pictures of Tavi Gevinson, better known as The Style Rookie for New York Times Magazine.  No styling was necessary for obvious reasons, he was just nice enough to ask me to join him because he knew I’d lose my cookies in excitement.  I’ve posted about Tavi before, but let me recap her awesomeness for you: At the mere age of 15 she already has a famed blog, has  a magazine in the works with Jane and former Sassy editors called Rookie, and is invited to sit front row at a myriad of fashion shows at New York, Paris, and any other Fashion Week you can think of.  Her blog, The Style Rookie, gained her notoriety at 11 years old with her reviews of designer’s collections and self portraits of her personal style, and is now looked at as one of the most influential names in fashion.  She brushes elbows with Ann Wintours, discusses fashion concepts with Rodarte, yet showed up back at her house for the photo shoot after a sleepover party with friends.  I have to be honest, the first time I read her blog, I didn’t believe that a pre-pubescent teen could write so well.  I truly thought that their was a savvy mom out there who had the smarts to use her daughter as publicity bait and dress her in clothes a suburban mom wouldn’t be caught dead in.  The question of Tavi’s legitimacy had left me long ago, and spending the afternoon with her only brought confirmation on how precocious this teenager really is.

Seeing how I was not granted a formal interview and curiosity was the steam engine to my million questions I asked Tavi, I feel weird going into too much detail of what was said because little does she know that I’d be writing a blog post about her.  I’m writing this post, selfishly, out of my own personal excitement.  I just had to share.  Tavi Gevinson, when you’re old enough to get a beer and it’s no longer weird that I’m twice you’re age, I’m here waiting to be your best friend, or at the very least, listen to Pixies’ Surfer Rosa and recap 90’s pop culture.

Here’s an interview with Tavi conducted by Katie Couric for Glamour Magazine, HERE.

Here’s some of Tavi’s famous looks from ages 12 to 15.

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